What would the impact be if we were to wipe out pests like ants flies and mosquitoes?

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Corney & Michelle

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Corney & Michelle  asked the Naked Scientists:

Hi Chris. I heard about you (TNS) on a local radio station in Cape Town, South Africa, called 567 Cape Talk or 702. I have a question that is causing me to loose sleep (haha) and wondered if you could help.
There is obviously a reason why we have pests like ants (nesting and damaging my electrical appliances), flies and mosquitoes. What would the ecological impact be if we were to completely wipe out one, or all three of these species on earth?
Thank you and best regards
Corney Gibson
Cape Town
South Africa

What do you think?



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Good question, but don't forget, though they may be pests to us, to a lot of creatures they are food - often a vital part of a diet. It's all to do with the food chain.

Young birds (passerines in particular)have to be fed an insect/invertebrate diet whilst they are fledglings - even if they are wholly seed/plant eaters when they mature.


Offline Bored chemist

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If we were to wipe out ants, flies and mosquitoes we would get bothered by the next set of insects; something would evolve to take their place and they would "bug" us too.
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