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Insects and other arthropods

Insects as producers

For thousands of years, humans have domesticated two insects: the honeybee (1), raised mainly for its production of honey and wax, and the silkmoth (2), whose caterpiller, called the silkworm, produces silk.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (René Limoges)
Apis mellifera, Québec, Canada.
  • Apis mellifera, Québec, Canada.
  • Breeding of silkworms, Vietnam.
  • Beekeeper at a beehive, Québec, Canada.
  • Apis mellifera, Québec, Canada.

Some insects participate in global economic activities by providing substances that are useful to humans, such as honey, wax, silk, lacquer and dye. Furthermore, pharmaceutical researchers are currently studying substance produced by insects’ immune systems, as their natural defences are very effective against microbial infections. In Russia, researchers have created, patented and begun producing a medical preparation called alloferon that contains a substance produced by maggots. This preparation has successfully passed clinical tests and is used to treat herpes.

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