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Insects are often blamed for many of our problems, including computer errors.
both been bothered by and benefited from insects. Every year, millions of dollars in crops are destroyed by insects. Plagues of locusts have filled the sky and eaten every shred of green plants, causing people to go hungry or migrate to new areas. Fleas were the carriers of black death, a disease that almost wiped out the population of entire cities in Europe in the Middle Ages. Even today, some mosquitoes carry diseases including malaria, which kills millions of people each year.
On the other hand, insects pollinate many of our food plants, including chocolate, apples, and oranges.They help decompose our waste. Ant jaws have been used as stitches in surgery. Fly and beetle larvae help investigators solve crimes. Fruit flies are used in genetic research. People raise insects for food; for their products including silk, honey, and shellac; as pets; and to sell to gardeners, farmers, wedding planners, and educators.
Insects are the largest group of animals in the world, with more than one million different kinds identified and named, and perhaps just as many yet to be discovered. They were around a long time before humans were, and they will help decompose our bodies when we are gone. Since they have been so successful, it makes sense to watch them closely and see what we can learn from them.
In order to observe insects, it helps to have some close at hand. In the following pages you will learn tips and tricks for catching and keeping insects, and how to test the usefulness of an insect exoskeleton, compete against insects in Olympic-style competitions, create a buzzing bug, and train a bee.When you need a live insect for an activity, remember:
they are an important part of our natural ecosystems.Tread lightly through their habitats and collect only the insects you need or can take care of, releasing all the others back where you found them. It is also wise to be like Dr. Hopper and record all your activities in the journal you'll learn how to make in chapter 1. Journal Notes at the end of most activities give suggestions for important observations or results to record in your journal.
If you have a strong stomach, make sure you read all the Gross
Entomology sidebars.You will be amazed at where you can find insects and how they are used. Speaking of finding and using insects, the Real Entomologists sidebars tell the true stories of how insects play a part in engineering projects, crime scene investigations, and even food service studies. Bug Business sidebars tell about enterprising entomologists who earn money from insects. And you get the shortcuts to finding fun on the Internet in the Make a Connection sidebars.
As a special feature, you can test your luck and survival skills as an insect by creating your own Insectigations! board game.The materials are easy to find, with instructions for how to make special insect dice in chapter 2,"Body Basics," and details on the game board in chapter 6,"Finders." You use the action cards you create at the end of chapters 2 through 8 to make the path through insect habitats on the game board. The only other things you need are tokens (cicada shells, plastic insects, or decorated bottle caps) and a regular, numbered die. The instructions for putting the game together and the basic rules for playing are at the end of the book.
If you finish trying the experiments and activities and want to do even more, look to the Resources section at the back of the book.There you will discover where to get more information about favorite activities, find connections to entertaining insect festivals, and learn how to participate in ongoing research projects.All you need to do now is turn the page and get going!
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