They may not be the most beautiful of creatures, but insects are important to the survival of all living things on this earth.

Whilst many would kill a bug or insect without a second thought, the recent and very significant decline in these critters should make you think twice the next time a beetle “freaks you out” by buzzing to close to your face.

There are many complex terms I could use to describe their importance, in terms of their contribution, but in order to promote open education, I’ll keep it simple.

Insects are important in so many different ways, but here are four simple but significant reasons why I spent my New Years Eve  saving these incredibly valuable little critters from drowning in my pool.

1. They aerate the soil

Translation: they create small holes in the soil to allow air, water and nutrients to access plant root systems. This process helps the roots to grow deeper into the soil, and produce a stronger plant.

Without insects, soil would need to be ‘aerated’ manually, as without these tiny holes, oxygen and water would not be exchanged between the soil and plants, which would stunt the growth of vegetation.

2. They pollinate blossoms

Translations: Pollen is a fine, powdery substance made up of pollen grains. Basically, it’s flower sperm that is made up of the male reproductive cells of seed plants. The act of pollination is when pollen is carried from one plant’s stamen (the male fertilising organ) to another’s stigma (the female reproductive organ of a flower).

Insects pollinate flowers as they move from one to the other searching for food. When an insect lads on a flower, the pollen grains stick to it’s body, and as it moves to another flower of the same species, the pollen grains are transferred to the stigma, and pollination or in other words, fertilisation, occurs.

3. Many insects are decomposers

Translation: Creatures that feed on dead or rotten bodies of plants and/or animals are called decomposers. This is because they break down previously living organisms, and cause them to decay. They are extremely important to the planet as when these insects decompose these dead organisms, they create essential nutrients for plant systems, as well as removing the dead matter and waste, which would otherwise pile up.

If decomposers did not exist, plant systems would not get the nutrients they need, and would die, which would then also impact the animals that rely on these plants for food. This would then impact the animals higher in the food chain.

4. Help to create topsoil

Translation: Topsoil is a nutrient rich layer of soil that allows plants to grow to the best of their ability. Dirt is made up of a multitude of tiny elements, including the dead matter decomposed by insects, and tiny little bits of rock and stone. The pieces of rock are held together by a kind of cement called humus. Humus is made of dead and decayed bodies of plants and tiny animals that insects have decomposed.

Soil solution is made when water washes over these really tiny bits of stone, and the humus that holds them together. Soil solution, humus, and tiny rocks combine to make topsoil. Without decomposer insects, this humus would not exist, and neither would the topsoil.