Insects are ancient creatures. This dragonfly fossil is from Jurassic period when it shared the earth with dinosaurs. Moths appeared 130 million years ago while butterflies appeared 82 million years ago. Humans did not appear for another 20 million years.
Kids mostly view insects as gross with a certain amount of fear factor around them. Yet, most of the material available in books or online is directed at older audiences.
Let's break this stereotype and make kids excited about insects.
A Smithsonian Institute article estimates that there are "10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000 or a billion billion) insects at any time." Another estimate claims that the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every pound of humans. Then why save insects?
Because, of the 900,000 known species of insects (80% of all animal species) some like the Simandoa cave roach, which is considered as extinct in the wild, are so unique that they were found in a single cave system in Africa which was destroyed for mining. Similarly, the Palos Verdes blue is an endangered butterfly found only in the Palos Verdes Peninsula of Los Angeles making it one of the world's rarest butterflies.
The situation is becoming worst. Human waste from plastic pollution is everywhere and is affecting every animal big or small alike. For example, this image shows the amount of micro-plastics in the abdomen of a mosquito (see here). We need to study the effects of plastics on insects to understand how this may affect the entire food chain.
Change begins at home. Integrated Pest Management is a technique that homeowners and schools can implement by focusing not on killing insects but really making the home and school environment less attractive to insects so that they go elsewhere. Another solution is my Living Greenways campaign which aims to help build native habitats that supports wildlife.
The goal is to show case importance of insects in the food cycle, highlight at-risk population from loss of habitat and share the effects from global warming on local insect population. Let's partner to make the world around us a better place.
Did you know that the nine-spotted ladybug is the State insect of New York? This handy beetle has gone missing for decades. The Monarch butterfly, known for their 2,000 mile migration in Fall, is at risk of extinction due to habitat loss. If the trend continues, it may go extinct in a few decades.
My name is Anusha. I am a fourth-grader from New York and I love insects. I spend much of my free time learning and teaching others about insects. My fascination with insects grew after learning about them in school. I was curious to know more.
Insects come in all shapes and sizes. Some have bright shells while others have soft bodies. Some have wings while others have spots. No matter how different, they are fascinating to me. Each insect plays an integral role in the environment.
I go to different places to discuss the sharp decline in insect population and benefits of urban landscapes to humans and insects alike. I have spoken at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Sarah Lawrence College, Savannah Bee Company, New York Hall of Science, American Museum of Natural History, Clearwater Festival, Yonkers Science Barge, Nature Girls, Girl Scouts, Town Hall and several schools. Recently, I gave a radio interview with station WBAI 99.5FM NYC as an environmental activist. I have been featured in a news article and was recognized by the Audubon Society. I organized a Little Critters club for kids in Grades K-5 and helped plan the Earth Day event in our town.
On this website, learn some awesome fun facts like modern cockroaches evolved around the Cretaceous period, yup . . . alongside T-Rex. Honey Bees make 10 million trips just to produce one pound of honey, and only female mosquitoes bite. Did you know Monarch caterpillars eat only a unique plant called as "milkweed"? No milkweed, no monarch butterfly.
Join my quest for insects conservation.
My TV Interview on News 12
My Call for Action at Westchester Board of Legislators
My Radio Interview on station WBAI 99.5FM NYC
Mention in LoHud for my Insect exhibit
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Write to us!
Researchers from University of Sydney reviewed 73 studies across many European or American countries and found that many insect species are in decline across the world. Further, the study reported a 2.5% annual rate drop in biomass calculated across UK, Germany, Puerto Rico and Netherlands. At this rate, insects will disappear in a century. However, while most insects are declining in numbers a small proportion are increasing and will survive.