- Insects are air-breathing arthropods with a distinct head, thorax, and
abdomen. They have one pair of antennae, three pairs of legs and usually
one or two pairs of wings in the adult state.
Insects infest. Microorganisms infect. Many insects and mites feed and breed on leaves. Many insects, fungi, bacteria, and other organisms are thought to be harmful, yet very few of them are. It is a pity when we use treatments that are designed to kill everything. So along with the few "bad guys" go all the "good guys." Then we want to buy the "good guys" and put them back. The insects and microorganisms have a job to do on earth. (Many are "clean up" experts such as the fungus that parasitizing the mushroom fruiting body of another fungus on page 105 in TREE PITHY POINTS, SHIGO, 1999). These organisms break down dead organisms to release or recycle elements essential for new life. Some organisms attack others that no longer have a defense system. A few attack living organisms that are healthy.
The fungi play a major role in recycling essential elements from dead organic matter. The fungi often do this in association with many other organisms in the soil: bacteria, insects, worms, amoebae, nematodes, and small animals. (See the brilliantly colored minute mushrooms that were fruit bodies of a fungus recycling elements in a symplastless log on page 86 in TREE ANATOMY, SHIGO, 1994). Many of the fungi associated with mycorrhizae have mushroom fruit bodies. Others have a variety of fruit bodies above ground and below ground. The major point is that the members of the natural system are all connected. Click here for a picture of the American Pleasing Fungus Beetle. When the connections begin to be broken, the system will suffer. You can kill soil. You can kill a forest. You can kill many living things that depend on a healthy forest. How? By breaking connections. Insects keep nitrogen high in the soil. Many insects are a food source connected with CWD or LWD. Insectivorous animals such as bear use them for food. Also a food source in subnivean situations. Insects play many key roles on the impact ecological stages of trees have on the unique forest health. Most of the time this is good.
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