Do you know that insects make up the majority of earth’s biomass and it is estimated as high as 1 million named species and 100 million more yet to be discovered? Yes, and most of the insects are found in the soil. They make home underground and spend most of their time underground.
For instance, bumble bees that hibernate underground during winter and many larvae live underground before going through metamorphosis to their adult stage. Also read these dangerous insects in the world.
There are some more other insects living underground in the soil. Let’s dig up the soil to see the 7 common insects living in the soil.
- Ants and Termites
Both ants and termites live in vast social colonies. Each colony is made up of thousands individual insects. Each individual has its own role to play in their underground cities. There’s a fertilized queen that starts the colony and build a single chamber for her nest.
Her first brood are workers who are in charge of building and maintaining the nest, which in ants is made up of a lot of vertical tunnels for movement and horizontal chambers for storage.
Have you ever wondered how ants communicate with each other?
A single queen of ant and termite can lay hundreds of eggs every day between 10 and 20 years. After that the colony will die along with her.
Collembola are also known as springtails. Collembola are another species of insects you can find in abundance underground. This species of insect is typically only a few millimeters long.
In one square centimeter of soil, there may be more than 100 individuals. These insects are considered important links in the ecosystem as they recycle nutrients and break down organic matter in the soil.
Earthworm are creepy crawlies that go roaming through the soil and providing it nutrients, better drainage ability and stable structure. All of these things will boost the soil fertility. Earthworms are in charge to help increase the circulation of air and water inside the soil. That’s why it is called nature’s little ploughs.
They feed on organic matter like leaves and grass. Then, they produce excreta called vermicast. This excreta acts as an organic fertilizer rich in humus, micronutrients, NKP (Potassium nitrate) and soil microbes.
- Ground Beetle
Ground beetles are classified as nocturnal creatures that are typically found under debris, wood, logs, rocks, wood and others. They prey on slugs, caterpillars and ant. They live and breed in the soil. Ground beetles are also considered as animals inhabiting grasslands.
Ground beetles are actually beneficial for your garden as they prey on some garden pests, such as ants, aphids, caterpillars, maggots and worms. However, there are some ground beetles that are harmful too as they eat the seeds, shoots pollen of the plants and even the seeds of corn.
They may potentially destroy the plant. These beetles can also enter buildings and once they do that, some of them can release odorous secretions.
Millipedes are considered as shredders, the insect that chew up dead plant matter, eat bacteria and fungi on the surface of the plant matter. They are also called Diplopods as they have two pairs of legs on each body segment.
Millipedes play an important role in breaking down plant and animal debris. They are excellent for the soil as they eat up to 10 percent of the leaf litter in compost.
Their work is similar to earthworms as they move nutrients through the soil. They also create tunnels inside the soil and they aerate the soil and assist with water penetration.
Do you know that millipedes are the members of scary looking harmless animals?
Being distant cousin of millipedes, centipedes are also beneficial for the soil. There are many species of centipedes and they range in color from reddish brown to nearly white. They also have slender bodies which are flattened from top to bottom.
Centipedes are found in various types of habitats. They burrow into the soil just like earthworms and are found mostly in gardens, yards, woodlands and elsewhere.
Similar to millipedes, centipedes also consume a tremendous amount of soil-dwelling larvae. They also create tunnels that aerates the soil so that water and nutrients are allowed to reach the roots of the plants and grasses.
Also known as slaters or pillbugs, woodlice are also known as abundant animals found mostly in gardens and greenhouses. They are not as harmful as their name as they are largely beneficial and create little or no damage to healthy plants.
They help break down the plant material and are the important part of the process of composting. Make sure you also read another interesting facts about animals, such as animals in mariana trench and smartest animals on Earth.