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Planet Earth

Insects: The Other Micro-Economics

Bugs mean big money for the United States economy.

By Jessica MarshallJuly 2, 2006 5:00 AM

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Insects are worth more than $57 billion per year to the United States economy, according to a new study by John Losey of Cornell University and Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Were it not for the pollen-ferrying activities of native bees, farmers would lose fruits, nuts, and vegetables worth $3 billion. Cattle ranchers save $380 million because burying beetles dispose of cow dung. Another $50 billion would disappear from the hunting, fishing, and bird-watching industries without the bugs at the bottom of the food chain. And if it weren't for insects eating each other, we would have to spend an extra $4.5 billion in agricultural pest control.

Here's hoping the six-legged workers never try to unionize.

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