How Many Insects Live on Earth?

Insects might seem gross, but they are vital to life on Earth, and here’s why.

Aug 21, 2023By Donna Hobson
how many insects live on earth

Insects are an essential part of our planet's ecosystem and play a vital role in our survival. They provide us with food, pollinate plants, control pests, and recycle nutrients back into the soil.

It is estimated that there are over ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects living on Earth. In this article, we will explore why insects are so crucial to our planet and discover why they are essential for our survival.

How Many Total Bugs Are There on Earth?

collection of insects bugs
Image Source: The Guardian

Insects are one of the most diverse and abundant groups of animals on the planet. To date, scientists have discovered over one million different species of insects, but it is estimated that there could be up to 10 million insect species in total.

Insects have existed for more than 350 million years, meaning they existed long before dinosaurs and flowering plants. In fact, insects were the first animals to take to the air with wings about 400 million years ago. This incredible evolutionary history has resulted in an astonishing diversity of insect species that can be found worldwide.

It is estimated that there is ten quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects living on our planet. That's 200 million insects for every human! t. This is an incredible number, and it demonstrates just how important insects are to the health and balance of our world.

To better understand insects' role in our ecosystem, it is essential to calculate the number of insects on Earth accurately. This can be done by measuring the number of insects in a given area, collecting soil samples to determine insect densities, and calculating the number of insects per nest. By doing so, we can better understand how many insects are on the planet and how they interact with their environment.

What Is the Most Common Insect on Earth?

ants on a block of wood
Image Source: by Ollie Haas

Ants are the most common insect on Earth. It is estimated that there are 10 - 100,000 trillion ants worldwide and over 10,000 species. Ants are found in almost any environment on the planet; in deserts, forests, grasslands, and even urban areas. They have various sizes and shapes and can benefit humans by helping to aerate soil or eating other insects that may damage crops. Ants also play an essential role in the food chain by providing food for many animals, such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

Ant species that you're most likely to see around your home include carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants.

Carpenter ants are one of the most common pests in homes and businesses. They are clean and tidy but challenging to get rid of. They have a unique ability to chew through wood but not eat it, making them difficult to detect and remove. Carpenter ants also possess a defensive bite that can cause discomfort if they come into contact with humans or animals. In addition, carpenter ants can blow up when threatened, releasing a toxic spray that can irritate the skin and eyes.

Odorous house ants are small, brown, or black in color and have a distinctive odor when crushed. They love sugary foods and can be found in homes worldwide. They are attracted to sweet substances like syrup, honey, and other sugary products.

How Many Bugs Do We Eat?

woman eating bug
Image Source: (

Have you ever wondered how many bugs you eat in a year? The answer may surprise you. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the average American consumes about 140,000 bug bits annually. That's right, tiny pieces of bugs make their way into many everyday foodstuffs such as bread, cereal, chocolate, and even fruit juice. So next time you take a bite of your favorite snack, remember that there could be a few bug bits on the side!

Still, for every pound of human weight on the planet, there are 300 pounds of insect weight, so could these bugs be the way to provide a sustainable source of nutrition for the Earth?

With the world's population growing and the demand for food increasing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to feed everyone. But what if bugs could be used as a solution? Bugs can provide a plentiful supply of protein that requires less space than livestock, can be raised on food scraps and manure, and reduce the world's waste. By using bugs as an alternative source of protein, we can help alleviate some of the strain on our resources and ensure everyone has access to a nutritious meal.

Can Humans Survive Without Insects?

bee pollinating flower
Image Source: Plantura

Imagine a world without insects. It may sound like a utopian dream, but it could quickly become a nightmare. Without insects, we would be unable to pollinate our crops, leading to a lack of food for us and other animals in the food chain. Furthermore, small reptiles and amphibians would have nowhere to turn for sustenance as their primary food source - insects - would be gone. The knock-on effect on the environment could be catastrophic. So the answer is clear - we cannot survive without insects.

Insects are essential for decomposition and nutrient cycling, and their loss would have enormous implications for agriculture. Without them, our food supply could be at risk due to crop damage and pollination issues. Not to mention that many birds rely on insects as a significant food source, so their numbers could also suffer greatly. In short, without insects, our planet would be drastically different - with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Donna Hobson
By Donna Hobson

Donna believes that keeping a pet is the key to a happy life. Over the years, many creatures have passed through her home - Sooty the cat, Millie the rabbit, Stuart (Little) the guinea pig, and Trixie the tortoise, alongside her pet goldfish, Zippy, who lived to the grand old age of 24 years! She currently resides with her black kitten Jinx and an aquarium full of fish and snails to entrance them both. When she is not looking after her pets, Donna enjoys researching and writing the answers to all your pet-related wonders.