Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Good or bad

Fear of insects is understandable, but it must be remembered that of the many thousands of types of insects in the world, only a very small proportion is harmful to humans. They are found almost everywhere, though not in seawater. Most have no direct impact on our lives, and can safely be left alone.

On the negative side: PEST INSECTS

  • Damage to crops (e.g. aphids, some caterpillars), food (e.g. weevils), damage to clothing (e.g. clothes moth), houses (e.g. borer)
  • Medical and Veterinary - bites, stings, skin irritation, allergy causing, blood sucking, carriers of disease, affecting humans and domesticated animals (e.g. bees, wasps, mosquitos,flies, some spiders, bed bugs, fleas, lice)
  • Nuisance - smell, untidiness, dirtiness, noise, frass and webbing in food, damage to garden plants (e.g. cockroach, spider webs, cicadas, crickets, caterpillars)

On the positive side: BENEFICIAL or BENIGN INSECTS

  • Recycling - breakdown of old plant material, dead animals (e.g. beetles, flies, caterpillars)
  • Food for birds, reptiles, bats, etc.
  • Natural control of weeds and pests (e.g. ladybirds, many flies, tiny parasitic wasps
  • Pollination (e.g. weevils, moths, bees)
  • Silk production (Silk moth caterpillars)
  • Honey production (e.g. honeybees)
  • Food for humans (Palm weevil grubs, witchety grubs)
  • Interest and fascination (All of them!)