Insect population statistics show that our planet is home to over 10 quintillion insects at any given time.
That said, their numbers are decreasing rapidly. We might not realize this, but humans rely on insects to live. So, we need to know how to protect them, and that starts with learning more about the insects.
How Many Insects Are in the World — Fascinating Facts
- There are more than 900 thousand kinds of insects worldwide.
- Estimates suggest the planet is home to over 10 quintillion insects at any given time.
- An East African queen termite can lay an egg every two seconds or 43,000 eggs daily.
- There are around 200 million insects for each human.
- A Jamaican ant nest had over 600,000 ants.
- The US is home to approximately 91,000 insect species.
- Between 1980–2020, insect populations decreased by 45%.
- One-third of moth and butterfly species are facing extinction.
- Predictions show that, by 2023, the edible insect market will grow to over $1.8 billion.
Insect Population Statistics
Let’s get down to business and look at how many insects are living around us.
1. There Are Over 900 Thousand Kinds of Insects Worldwide.
- They make up around 80% of the world’s living species.
- Estimates suggest there are over ten quintillion insects at any given time on the earth.
- To give you an idea of the world insect population and how many insects can live together, imagine the Jamaican ant nest that had over 600,000 ants.
If you think that’s a lot, just wait and see.
2. A Study of South American Termite Nests Found Around Three Million Individuals.
- If you get caught in a locust swarm, you can come face to face with up to one billion locusts.
- The insect population statistics compared to humans show there are around 200 million insects for each of us. If we break that down, that’s roughly 300 lbs of an insect for every one lb of human.
- While numbers are dwindling, if we give them a chance, insects can make a steady recovery. For example, an East African queen termite can lay an egg every two seconds, or 43,000 eggs every day.
That’s not all.
3. In 2017, There Was an Insect Population of Approximately 91,000 Described Species in the US.
(Source: University of California)
- Undescribed species came in at 73,000.
- Breaking things down, beetles formed the largest group — 23,700 species.
- Flies had close to 20,000 species. Ants, wasps, and bees came in with 17,500 species.
- Lastly, moths and butterflies had around 11,500 representative groups.
It might sound like a lot, but it’s not as good as it looks.
Insect Population in Decline
Humans are incredibly dependent on pollinating insects. They’re a massive part of our ecosystem, so we need to keep their numbers up.
4. Between 1980–2020, Insect Populations Decreased by 45%.
(Source: National Academy of Sciences)
- In 2017, England reported a 76% reduction in flying insects in a mere 27 years.
- One-third of moth and butterfly species are facing extinction.
- What’s more, pollinating insect population statistics show 50% of bees and ants are in the same boat.
- Caddisflies are some of the worst affected, with 63% facing extinction. They’re vulnerable to pollution and environmental factors since they lay their eggs in water.
It’s unsurprising, considering we’re currently in the sixth mass extinction. It’s not just a serious issue for insects, and it affects us, too.
5. 88% of All Flowering Plants Rely on Pollination.
(Source: Springer Nature)
- Insect damage on crops statistics shows 75% of crop species rely on it, too. No pollination means no crops, and that’s a severe problem for our food production.
- Between 1980–2013, wild pollinating species decreased by 33%.
Human beings are solely responsible for the changing environment, and we’ll soon pay the ultimate price if things don’t change.
Insect Consumption Statistics
Let’s talk about eating insects. Hear us out before you close the page.
Insect food could save our planet by reducing what it takes to fulfill our needs. So while the idea of eating bugs might turn your stomach, millions of people rely on insects for nutrition and protein every day.
6. Predictions Show the Edible Insect Market Will Grow to Over $1.18 Billion by 2023.
- That’s a massive leap from the $406 million in 2018.
- If we look at our protein needs, it takes 112 liters of water for one gram of beef protein. In contrast, cricket protein takes a mere two liters. So as weird as it sounds, eating bugs could increase the number of insects in the world.
- In 2018, 72% of Americans said they would try edible insects. It might not sound appetizing, but edibles like snacks, protein, and flours made from insects could be mainstream in the near future.
The time may come when insects will be as ordinary as bread on the table. But what about them eating us?
Insect Bite Statistics
7. Every Year Around 100 People Die From a Severe Reaction to an Insect Sting or Bite.
- Between 2001–2010, over 10 million Americans visited the emergency department for non-canine bites and stings.
- That’s around one million a year, with just over 96% being treated and released.
- Only 1.82% needed hospitalization.
It’s not just us at risk, our pets can have severe reactions to stings and bites too. You can’t go wrong with giving your pup a rinse off after a long walk in tall grass. Also, if you have a doggie swimming pool, remember to clean it regularly to avoid attracting bugs.
Now, let’s see who is the most at risk.
8. Insect Bites and Stings Are Most Common in Children Between 0–4 Years.
- Insect allergy statistics show this age group has an injury rate of 751.8 per 100,000. For 5–9-year-olds that decreases to 460.8 per 100,000.
- Meanwhile, the adult average insect rate stands at around 340 per 100,000.
- Bites and stings commonly occur on the hands and arms, making up 33.6% of cases.
- Legs and feet come in next, with 27.5%.
While insect allergies affect merely 5% of the population, 30% of people are allergic to cats and dogs in the US alone. But the chances of a severe insect reaction also depend on where you live.
Statistics on Deadly Insect Diseases
For centuries humans have faced deadly infections, viruses, and bacteria stemming from animals. But what happens when these diseases are fatal?
9. The Deadliest Insect Disease in the 21st Century Is Malaria, Killing Over 400,000 a Year.
- Anopheline mosquitoes transmit Malaria. But insect species statistics show out of the 430 Anopheles species, only 30–40 transmit the disease. They infect about 219 million people annually and kill over 400,000. Unfortunately, most deaths happen to children under five.
- Diseases transmitted to humans by blood-feeding (vector-borne diseases) make up 17% of all infectious diseases and cause over 700,000 deaths every year.
- Another highly prevalent infection is Dengue. Aedes mosquitoes transmit it, and more than 3.9 billion people are at risk of contracting it in over 129 countries. Each year, there are 96 million symptomatic cases and around 40,000 deaths.
Deadly Bug Facts: One of the worst diseases in history also came from an insect — the Bubonic plague, or the Black Death as some call it. This highly transmissible disease spreads through flea bites. While not very common today, it still has around 650 cases per year, mainly in Africa, India, and Peru. If untreated, the plague has a shocking 30%–100% death rate. That’s what happened in Europe in the 14th Century when over 50 million died. In total, the plague has killed over 240 million people. To be safe, always check and treat your pet for fleas.
Insect population statistics show there are more than 10 quintillion insects alive. While this may sound like a lot, the numbers are dwindling quite rapidly due to human actions affecting the planet.
The bottom line is, we need insects. They give us food by pollinating the crops we eat. So it’s crucial to do what we can to protect them.
What percentage of the world’s animals are insects?
Around 80% of the world’s species are insects, sitting on about 900 thousand different kinds. We’ll never know the precise insect population numbers worldwide, but scientists think there are more unnamed species than named. But how many insects are in the world? Estimates suggest there are about 10 quintillion insects alive at any time.
What is the insect to human ratio?
Based on the known insect populations, the ratio sits at approximately 300 lbs of insects for every one lb of human. It equals around 200 million insects for every person. While this might sound like a lot, insect populations are decreasing everywhere.
What should we do to protect insects?
Insect population statistics show a severe decline. We need to understand how we’re contributing to the issue to stop it from getting worse. Climate change affects the whole planet, including insects. And we rely on them to pollinate the crops we eat.