Insects are considered pests for a variety of reasons, including direct damage by feeding on crops, plants or by infesting stored products. They can spread viral diseases among humans and livestock. Examples of insects regarded as pests include the phylloxera, migratory locusts, the Colorado potato beetle, the boll weevil, Japanese beetle, aphids, mosquitoes, cockroaches, the Western corn rootworm, and some fly species.

In the past entomologists working on pest insects attempted to eradicate species. This rarely worked except in islands or controlled environments and raised ethical issues. Over time the language changed to terms like control and management.

Without insects to clean up decomposing material, the world would be a pretty filthy place, but there is a variety of types of damage pests can cause that make you want them as far away from your home as possible. Here’s a look at a few different insects and the types of pest damage they cause.

Destructive pests
Many homes are built primarily from wood, but even if the exterior of your home is constructed of brick, vinyl siding or stucco, termites can get to it. Termites only need the width of a credit card to get inside a home. Once inside, they may feed on cabinets, wooden furniture, hardwood floors, floor joists, ceiling beams, and anything else made of wood and cellulose. Termites are often not identified until significant damage has occurred. That means it’s imperative that you take action to prevent infestation before it starts.
Wood-boring Beetles
These pests live in wood for six to ten years without you ever knowing it. By the time they surface as flying beetles, the damage has been done. In the past, beetles such as the Old House Borer, could destroy entire homes with their burrowing habits. Thankfully, timber today is treated in such a way that beetles are rarely a problem in new homes and the damage is minimal.
Carpet Beetles
The types of pest damage done by carpet beetles are often blamed on clothes moths. If you have holes in your leather jacket, chair or couch cover, carpet, or other soft fabrics, you could have a carpet beetle infestation. Homes with wall-to-wall carpeting give these pests an undisturbed place to breed and thrive.
Clothes Moths
Flying clothes moths don’t eat fabric, but the females lay hundreds of eggs that hatch into hungry larvae. These pests feed on natural fibers such as wool, fur, and feathers, but synthetics can be part of their diet as well. Carpet, blankets, furniture upholstery, and dozens of other materials are at the mercy of the larvae that feast for one to three months. In extreme cases, the lifecycle has lasted up to four years!
Beneficial insects
Honey is perhaps the most economically valuable product from insects. Beekeeping is a commercial enterprise in most parts of the world and many forest tribes have been dependent on honey as a major source of nutrition. Honeybees can also act as pollinators of crop species. Many predators and parasitoid insects are encouraged and augmented in modern agriculture.
Silk is extracted from both reared caterpillars as well as from the wild (producing wild silk). Sericulture deals with the techniques for efficient silkworm rearing and silk production. Although new fabric materials have substituted silk in many applications, it continues to be the material of choice for surgical sutures.
Lac was once extracted from scale insects but is now replaced by synthetic substitutes. The dye extracted from cochineal insects was similarly replaced by technological advances.
The idea of insects as human food, entomophagy, widely practised in traditional societies, has been proposed as a solution to meet the growing demand for food.

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