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Beneficial Insects : Insects as Medicine | Crop Pollinator etc.

Beneficial Insects : Insects as Medicine | Crop Pollinator etc.

Insects used as Medicine:

Insects are reported to be of medicinal value. A number of insect products like honey, cantharidin, bee venom etc. are known for the treatment of different diseases. They are as following:

  1. Honey : It is obtained from hive of honey bees. It is laxative, antiseptic and sedative, generally used in Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine. It is used to increase the haemoglobin in the blood and also used as preventive measure against cough, cold and fever, as blood purifier and curative for ulcer.
  2. Canthradin : It is obtained from the body of blister beetle which belongs to order coleopteran and family Meloidae. Mylabris cichorii species in India and Lytta vesicatoria in Europe are the best known species for obtaining the canthradin. If taken internally it acts as strong urogenital irritant, therefore, it is used as aphrodisiac. Being dangerous, it is no longer used in human being.
  3. Apitherapy : It is also known as venom therapy. The bee venom is secreted by the poison glands of worker bee. The bee venom contains 18 active compounds viz., Melittin anti-inflammatory; Apamin-enhancing nerve transmission; Adolapin analgesic; Dopamine, Seratonin, Norepinephrine-neurotransmitter etc. The apitherapy is used in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis for both pain and swelling. In case of tendonitis and bursitis the venom therapy is very effective.
  4. Maggot therapy : For the maggots of common green bottle, Lucilia sericata are detritivorous and therefore, the sterile maggots are used to remove the necrotic tissue. Earlier this therapy was used by military surgeons for the treatment of battle wounds infected with maggots. Now in UK and USA the maggot therapy against antibiotic resistant bacteria is coming back in the treatment of chronic wounds.

Insects As Crop Pollinator:

Insects play vital role in the pollination of crops. There are number of plants that can only be pollinated by insects. The cultivated crops like cucurbits, carrot, tomatoes, brinjal, cauliflower, onions, beans. strawberries, orange, apple, lemon, grape, pears, cotton, alfalfa, soybean, tobacco, sunflower etc. are pollinated by variety insects. The most important pollinator insects of crops are bees, wasps, hover flies, flesh flies, bee flies, moths, butter flies etc. It is assumed that 80% of the insect pollination is performed by honey bees. Single honey bee may visit and pollinate about 1000 flowers in a day.

Insects as Bioagent for Pest Management:

Majority of insects are entomophagous. Recent research about a number of entomophagous insects is being helpful for the control of several insect pests. They are helpful as predators and parasitoids as following:

  1. Predators belong to different orders of insects as praying mantis (Dictyoptera); robber flies, hover flies, tachnid fly (Diptera); water scorpion, petatomid bugs, reduviid bugs (Hemiptera); dragonflies (Odonata); ants and wasps (Hymenoptera); Radybird beetle, ground beetle, tiger beetle (Coleoptera). Of these insects few species are effectively being used in the biological control of pests e.g., Coccinella septempunctata against aphids, Rodolia cardinalis against cotton cushion scale etc.
  2. Parasitoids are entomophagous parasites of which developing stages are parasitic. The female lays eggs on the body of host insect and the hatched larvae feed on the host body causing death of host insect. Now a days successful biological control is being applied by the parasitoids. The examples of parasitoids are as Trichogramma achaeae against cotton bollworm, Telenomus proditor against caster semi-looper, Trichogramma brasiliensis against Helicoverpa armigera and Pectinophora gossypiella

Insects for Increasing Soil Fertility:

A number of insect species are found in the soil and they tunneled the soil and increase in the aeration in the soil. They feed on decaying agricultural debris and excrete in the soil. In this way insects improve the texture of soil and fertility also. The example of such insects are ants. termites, spring tails, mole-crickets etc.

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