Recommended in CHOICE, February 2021

Insects are all around us, outweighing humanity by 17 times. Many are nuisances; they compete with us for food and carry some of our most devastating diseases. Many common pests have been transported worldwide by humans. Yet, some recent reports suggest dramatic declines in some important groups, such as pollinators and detritivores. Should we care?

Yes, we should. Without insect pollinators we’d lose 35% of our global food production; without detritivores, we would be buried in un-decayed refuse. Insects are also critical sources for nutritional, medical and industrial products. A world without insects would seem a very different and unpleasant place. So why do insects inspire such fear and loathing?

This concise, full-color text challenges many entrenched perceptions about insect effects on our lives. Beginning with a summary of insect biology and ecology that affect their interactions with other organisms, it goes on to describe the various positive and negative ways in which insects and humans interact. The final chapters describe factors that affect insect abundance and approaches to managing insects that balance their impacts.

The first textbook to cater directly to those studying Insect and Society or Insect Ecology modules, this book will also be fascinating reading for anyone interested in learning how insects affect human affairs and in applying more sustainable approaches to "managing" insects. This includes K-12 teachers, undergraduate students, amateur entomologists, conservation practitioners, environmentalists, as well as natural resource managers, land use planners and environmental policy makers.

chapter 1|9 pages


chapter 2|27 pages

What Makes Insects Different?

chapter 3|10 pages

Insect Effects on Human History

chapter 4|18 pages


chapter 5|10 pages

Structural Pests

chapter 6|15 pages

Venomous and Poisonous Arthropods

chapter 7|13 pages

Parasites and Disease Transmission

chapter 8|17 pages

Crop Pests

chapter 9|19 pages

Forest Pests

chapter 10|12 pages

Insects as Food

chapter 11|12 pages

Medical and Industrial Materials

chapter 12|11 pages

Cultural Value and Artistic Expression

chapter 13|9 pages

Crop Pollination

chapter 14|12 pages


chapter 15|12 pages

Biological Control

chapter 16|10 pages

Forensic Science

chapter 18|11 pages

Why Do Insects Become Pests?

chapter 19|16 pages

Deciding When and How to Control Insects

chapter 20|1 pages

Concluding Remarks