Insects are the most abundant animals on earth. They exert important effects, both positive and negative, on our lives in ways we may not even think about. While the vast majority of insects are either beneficial or harmless, we often are most familiar with those insects that cause problems. For example, the mosquito is responsible for more deaths each year than any other insect. On the whole, insects are enormously beneficial. Insects pollinate plants and provide food for birds, fish and animals. Many beneficial insects prey on other insects that are pests. By studying insects, we gain a better understanding of their role in the web of life, as indicators of environmental quality, as predators of harmful species, and as potential threats to crops, homes and health. Also through the study of insects, we help to preserve beneficial species by understanding their behavior patterns and modifying their habitat. Our ultimate goal as Master Gardeners is to reduce the damage caused by insects.
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