Welcome to National Insect Appreciation Day! While the idea of a day dedicated may be new to you and maybe a bit strange, insects indeed deserve our appreciation.

Most children don’t need a reason to appreciate insects, they just love “bugs”. Whether it is because they look neat, do interesting things, are fascinating because of their size, or are pretty, kids love insects for being insects. The metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly or the glowing of a firefly are sources of fascination.

Sadly, much of this appreciation disappears as people age unless they happen to be naturalists or entomologists. For the people who need a reason to appreciate insects because of what they do for us, keep reading.


A bumblebee sits on a cluster of small white flower with yellow centers.

A bumblebee helps pollinate some flowers / Photo by Nate Reagle

Most of us are familiar with the value of pollinators. If you appreciate flowers, thank a pollinator that helps the flowers to reproduce. If you enjoy a balanced meal, appreciation for insect pollinators is due. Pollinators even help some trees reproduce, allowing us to have beautiful hardwood like black cherry. Most people at least appreciate the Monarch’s beauty or the cuteness of a fuzzy bumble bee.

Are you a birder? You should appreciate insects. The vast majority of birds feed their young insects so they can grow quickly. In fact, the role of insects as wildlife food cannot be overstated. Popular game animals like bear, turkey, grouse, and fish rely on insects as part of their diets.


A Red winged Blackbird sits on a thick dead grass stem with a damsel fly it caught in its beak.

A Red-winged Blackbird sits on a reed with an insect in its beak at Rose Valley Lake in Lycoming County, PA / Photo by Kyle Fawcett, @Kyle_Hikes_Photography


Perhaps you have a garden or a farm. The insects that help control pest populations surely deserve our appreciation. Insects such as parasitoid wasps and predatory beetles (among many others) do a great job of controlling pest populations if they are given a chance and have habitat nearby. Just as important as pest control is soil health. Insects contribute to healthy soils by aerating the soil and helping to decompose organic material to enrich the soil.

This leads to another reason most people don’t like to think about, insects’ role in ridding our surroundings of animal dung and dead animals. Imagine how our environment would look without this critical role being done by insects.

Dung Beetle rolls a round turd along a gravel path.

Dung Beetle / Photo by Nate Reagle

Some readers may own silk garments. This silk that is much desired as a fabric is made from the silk of a moth.

I hope you don’t need a reason to appreciate insects because of what they do for us and can simply enjoy their uniqueness and diversity. If, however you need a reason, you should now have plenty of reasons to appreciate nature’s little creatures that allow our ecosystems to function.

Do you want to show your appreciation for insects? You can do simple things to show you care. Planting native plants shows you appreciate insects. Changing out your outdoor lights from white to yellow also shows your appreciation. Reducing the use of pesticides is another practice to show that you appreciate insects, and the insects will appreciate you!


Written by Nate Reagle
Nate is an independent insect biodiversity and conservation advocate. He has a Bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State and a Master’s degree in forest science from the Yale School of Forestry. He has developed pollinator conservation plans and insect conservation practices for resource managers and co-authored the “Introduction to Insects” booklet published by Penn State Extension. Nate is also a member of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey’s Invertebrate Technical Committee. 

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National Insect Appreciation Day