Invertebrates (animals without backbones) are unsung heroes of the eco system.
When people think of invertebrates, they tend to think of garden ‘pests’, or agricultural ‘pests’ which eat crops and flowers.
However, the ‘pests’ receive a disproportionate amount of the attention, considering that the vast majority of invertebrate species are important to biodiversity and the eco system in some way, and actually go unnoticed.
If they are important to the eco system, then ultimately invertebrates are important to humans, because we depend on a healthy environment for our own survival, good health and well-being.
Here are 5 reasons:
Being a website about bees, obviously, pollination is going to be at the top of my list. Bees, wasps, butterflies, flies, and a whole host of other important pollinating insects turn flowers into food in the form of fruits, nuts, berries and seeds for humans, birds, animals and also other invertebrates.
Food for Other Species
Then there is the rest of the food chain to think of in terms of “who eats what”. Invertebrates feed on other invertebrates, but they are also a vital source of food for birds, fish and animals. Some of these are in turn eaten by many humans (unless of course, the person is a vegan or vegetarian).
It’s worth noting that whilst a small minority of invertebrates are regarded as ‘pests’, many invertebrate species helpfully eat those ‘pests’ given half a chance. Common wasp species are a definite favourite of mine, as well as lacewings, various beetles, ladybugs and so on, as they are brilliant helpers in the garden and our allotment.
Decomposers And Cleaners
Some invertebrates help to clear and clean up the environment by eating away fungi and bacteria, or decaying and dead matter, including things which we would find unpleasant or unhygienic, from rotting animal carcasses and faeces to forest and garden leaf matter, turning it into compost which helps to nourish the soil. Thus invertebrates help to keep the environment cleaner and tidier! The same is true of aquatic invertebrates (invertebrates found in water).
Soil Aerators And Creators
Some species of invertebrates are brilliant aerators of soil as well as creating it. In other words, invertebrates not only help us to grow food crops through pollination, they help create and maintain soil quality. This is important for growing in agriculture, as well as in gardens and allotments.
I previously wrote a blog about beneficial insects. It seems to me we need to do much more in raising the profile of invertebrates, and changing perceptions.
If people realise that most invertebrates (okay, ‘creepy crawlies’ if you wish) are actually working on our behalf, they might think twice about squishing, poisoning, swatting etc.
And there are other solutions out there! For those who are afraid of insects, there are perfectly good eco-friendly and effective insect repellents. For those who fear wasps, they can be deterred!
You can also do your bit by spreading the word about why invertebrates are important, sharing articles – and the images on this page on social media or text/email. You can also do your bit in your own garden, school, or local area.
So come on people, surely it's everyone's job to help? All the small differences we make, add up to one big difference over all.
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