Bad Bugs – Insect Pests for Kids

Bad Bugs – Insect Pests for Kids


Let’s face it. Bugs can be pests. Some sneak into our homes, some EAT our homes
and some try to turn us into their home. Yikes! Here are 11 bugs that we think are pests. Fleas
Fleas are blood-feasting insects that like to live on warm-blooded animals. They seem to prefer to live on humans, cats,
dogs, opossums, rats and other rodents. Have you ever heard someone say “My dog
has fleas”? Their talking about these bad buggies inhabiting
their poor pet! Fleas do not fly. Instead, they jump from one place to another. Fleas can jump as high as 18 centimeters vertically,
which is 150 times their own height. If we could do this, we would be able to leap
over skyscrapers! Fleas are one of the best known jumpers of
animals. That’s impressive, but I still don’t like
‘em. Fleas are about 2 millimeters long. They’re pretty tiny and hard to spot especially
among fur. They’re dark, reddish brown in color and
are flat. Not only do these mean fleas drink blood,
they can also spread disease. Their saliva can cause allergic reactions
– that’s why flea bites are so itchy. Yikes! You and your pets can avoid becoming a flea
home by using flea treatments and baths, along with vacuuming. Stay away, fleas! 2. House Fly
This fly is the “housefly”. I’m sure you’ve seen a housefly or two
in your house! This species is always found near humans,
they particularly like to live on farms. They need meat, garbage and feces to procreate. That’s right – poop. I know this sounds really weird, so let me
explain. The female house fly lays about 9,000 eggs
in her lifetime. She lays eggs in batches of around 100 at
a time. She lays them on rotting meat, garbage or
fecal matter (poop). Within a day of laying her eggs, larvae, also
known as maggots, hatch from the eggs. They eat the meat, garbage and feces. (Yep, it’s gross!) After 14-36 hours of feasting, the maggots
go into a cold, dry place and turn into pupae. Pupa is the life stage of an insect between
the immature and mature stages. In pupae the housefly is brownish-red and
8 millimeters long. From this stage, they emerge into adult flies. Once they are adult flies, they do not grow. So if you ever see a small fly, that means
that fly didn’t get enough food as a larva. In other words, they didn’t eat enough garbage. There are believed to be 1,000,000 species
of flies, but only 150,000 have been identified. Scientists have named about 85,000 of them. Flies’ most obvious distinction from other
insects is in their flight. A typical fly has two flight wings on its
thorax and a pair of halteres. Flies also have large eyes with excellent
wide-angle vision. House flies are pretty annoying because they
are always buzzing around and trying to eat our food. They can also spread disease too so it’s
important to try to keep them out of your house! Good luck. 3. Beetle
Beetles are the largest group of insects. 350,000 species of beetles have been identified
which makes up about 40% of all known insects. Wow! Beetles do not breathe and don’t have blood! What? Then how do they live? Beetles have air holes called spiracles in
the sides of their body that lead to their trachea, which acts like lungs. And instead of blood, beetles have something
like blood called hemolymph. It’s green! Some common beetles are ground beetles, leaf
beetles, longhorn beetles, weevils, scarab beetles, dung beetles, and rove beetles. So. Many. Beetles! Most beetles love to eat plants, and some
eat animals. For people, with crops and gardens, beetles
can be a nuisance! 4. Cockroach
This is the cockroach. I don’t know about you but the sight of
this one grosses me out! The cockroaches are an ancient group, dating
back at least as far as 320 million years ago. There are over 4000 species of cockroaches
and 30 of them are associated with human habitats. Cockroaches become adults in 3-4 months and
can live up to one year. Cockroaches are among the hardiest insects. Some species are capable of remaining active
for a month without food and are able to survive on limited resources. Some can go without air for 45 minutes. Cockroaches are abundant throughout the world
and live in a wide range of environments, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Cockroaches can also withstand extremely cold
temperatures, allowing them to live in the Arctic. Although considered gross in Western cultures,
many places in the world like Mexico and Thailand eat cockroaches. In China, cockroaches are even used for medicine. 5. Termite
These are termites. Termites like to eat wood, leaf litter, soil
and animal dung. Mmm! Their love for eating wood causes a major
problem for humans because they enjoy feasting on our wooden buildings! Have you ever seen a house covered up by a
big tent? That’s usually an attempt to get rid of
termites! Termites live in colonies. Colonies begin when winged termites called
alates swarm and mate. After mating, they fall to the ground and
rip their wings off. The female looks for a good place to start
a colony, and the male follows her. Most termites nest underground their entire
lives, but termites in Africa and Australia build big mound structures that look like
little mountains. Some mounds can be over 6 meters tall! Termite colonies can contain several hundred
termites to several million! They operate on self-organised systems that
use “swarm intelligence”. By working together, they can get more food
and build bigger habitats than they could on their own. A typical colony contains nymphs or adolescent
termites, workers, soldiers, and termite parents – a king termite and sometimes several egg-laying
queens. 6. Locust
Locust is the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers. What’s this swarming phase? Well, normally these grasshoppers are solitary
creatures but when their environment becomes overcrowded, they respond by swarming. In the swarming phase, they change colors,
eat more, and breed much more easily. The peskiest part about swarming is the grasshoppers
move in large groups, groups of millions to billions of hoppers! And they destroy land by eating crops. I mean, they destroy lots and lots of land. Several groups of grasshoppers swarm as locust
throughout the world, except Antarctica and North America. The desert locust swarms throughout North
Africa, the Middle East and India. The migratory locust swarms Africa, Asia,
Australia and New Zealand. The Australian plague locust swarms Australia. North America surprisingly doesn’t have
locust. In the past it experienced a few groups of
locust but they have all become extinct. 7. Fruit fly
These small flies are known as fruit flies. They like to feed on nectar and like to lay
eggs on or near decaying fruit. They are pests and seriously contaminate human
food. Many restaurants consider them the greatest
pest of all because they can appear out of nowhere and breed very quickly. Have you ever left a piece of fruit out on
the counter and then discovered small flies around it? That’s them! Female fruit flies lay their eggs on the surface
of rotting fruits and vegetables. Each female may lay up to 500 eggs. These eggs hatch into larvae which molt twice
before becoming fully grown. The larvae feed on the rotting fruit and vegetables
by turning their food into semi-liquid. When the full-grown larvae are ready to pupate,
they leave the food for dryer areas. Developing from larvae to adult takes about
8 to 10 days. Mating takes place soon after adults emerge,
usually within a few hours, and egg laying begins about 24 hours later. So when you see fruit flies, you gotta act
fast to get them out of there! 8. Louse
Lice are flightless insects that live in hair. That’s right, hair. That means they can live on your head! They are external parasites that like to live
on birds and mammals. There are 3,000 species of lice, three species
are known as human lice. Lice live on their host by clinging to their
hair. Lice are very tiny; on average they are 2-3
millimeters, about the size of a sesame seed. They feed on skin, feather parts and blood. They are usually pale in color but become
darker if they are feeding on blood. A louse egg is called a nit. Lice use special sticky saliva to attach an
egg tightly to hair. It is very difficult to detach an egg from
hair. To remove lice eggs is called “nit-picking”. Usually a close-tooth metal comb is used. Humans also have special shampoo to remove
lice. 9. Stink Bug
This is a stink bug. The family name is “pentatomidae”. In Greek “pente” means “five” and
“tomos” means “section. Their body looks like it has 5 sections. Can you see it? Stink bugs are considered pests because they
eat a lot of crops, grow quickly into large populations and are resistant to many pesticides,
meaning they’re hard to get rid of. They are a threat to cotton, corn, soybeans,
trees, shrubs, vines, weeds, and many cultivated crops. Many stink bugs pierce plants and suck the
juice from the plants. They can also prey on insects smaller than
them. More than 4000 species of stink bugs live
throughout the world ranging from deserts to tropical swamps. In the tropics, they are very colorful. Most stink bugs in North America are pretty
plain looking. The scent of stink bugs plays an important
part in mating. Stink bugs rely on the scent to find one another. They also attract a partner with the use of
sound. They will rub their legs together and produce
a sound similar to grasshoppers. The female stink bug shows a great deal of
care for her eggs and young, often never leaving their side until they’ve matured. That’s pretty sweet to know, but they’re
still stinky pests. 10. Bedbugs
These are bed bugs. They are called bed bugs because they typically
live in our beds! They also can be found hiding in places where
humans spend a lot of time like hotels, airplanes and couches. Yuck! Bed bugs are small, flat, reddish-brown bugs
about the size of an apple seed. They are blood suckers and they love to feast
on human blood. Yikes! They prefer feasting on humans because we
don’t have fur and there’s more spots for these nasty bugs to bite us. Luckily they don’t spread disease, but their
bites often become red, itchy welts. When bed bugs feed, they inject their saliva
into your skin. The bedbug’s saliva has a special chemical
that keeps blood from clotting, and also an anesthetic that prevents you from feeling
the bite and swatting away the bedbug. These bugs like to hide in small cracks and
crevices during the day and come out to night to feast. So watch out! 11. Dragonfly
Dragonflies are flying insects who like to eat … other flying insects. Specifically they like to feast on mosquitos,
bees, flies, ants and butterflies. They are found around lakes, ponds, streams
and wetlands. Even though they have 6 legs, they don’t
walk. Only flight for these guys! Their larvae is known as nymphs and are aquatic. Most of a dragonfly’s life is spent in nymph
form. Depending on the dragonfly species the larvae
stage can last 3 months to 5 years! They live in the water and eat mosquito larvae. When a dragonfly is ready to enter its adult
stage, the dragonfly will climb up a reed or emergent plant. The exposure to the air causes the dragonfly
to breathe. The skin behind the larva’s head splits
and out emerges the adult dragonfly! It will spend the rest of its life flying
around and eat flying insects. This stage lasts up to 6 months. Dragonflies have tremendous eyesight. Their large, compound eyes wrap around the
top of their head and have up to 50,000 individual lenses. As a result, they have a wide field of vision
and can see almost everywhere at once. I don’t know about you but I like dragonflies. I think they’re really neat looking and
to see one is really special. I guess dragonflies are bigger pests to other
flying insects than to humans. Like they’re pests to mosquitoes and I don’t
like mosquitos. They bite! You can learn more about mosquitoes from our
first Socratica Kids video “11 Interesting Insects”. Have you seen it? You can watch it now! Or if you want to take a break from bugs,
check out one of our other videos!! What do you think about these 11 pesky bugs? Have you seen them crawling or flying around? Which one bothers you the most? Did we leave out a bug that gets on your nerves? Let us know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to subscribe to Socratica Kids!

5 thoughts on “Bad Bugs – Insect Pests for Kids”

  1. This is well presented educational video about Insects, not only for children but adults as well! I was amazed to learn about insects with green blood and those that don't have lungs and don't breathe! I learned more about insects in this video than in biology in high school! Well done!

    #WeCreateEdu #YouTuber #EducationForAll #Science #Entomology

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