Planting for Pollinators: Why are insects so important to us?
These days insects are unloved, apart from the pretty ones like butterflies and bees. But most people do not understand their crucial role in supporting life on earth.
Simply put, one in every 3 bites of food that we eat depends on animal pollinators. Insects are at the bottom of our food pyramid. Without them, the entire pyramid would collapse. They are needed as pollinators for our food crops. It is estimated that about a third of the world’s food crops cannot reproduce without the pollen carried around by moths, butterflies and bees. So, without pollination you would not be able to enjoy apples, bananas, coconuts, tea, coffee and chocolate, to mention just a few! In addition, pollinators perform other crucial so-called ‘eco-system services’ such as improving our soil, cleaning the air and controlling pests. Ultimately, their fundamental role in our food system means that they serve as food for birds, fish, reptiles and animals higher up the food chain that feeds the whole of humanity. So without them, humans cannot survive.