Commercialization of insects and their products

Gail E. Kampmeier, Michael E. Irwin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses how commercialization of insects and their products can be beneficial. Insects can be a big business. Insects and their products are sold for crop pollination, pharmaceuticals, health and agricultural protection, and human, pet, and livestock nutrition, as implements for conducting research, as artists or works of art, and for a host of other uses. For example the honeybee, Apis mellifera, currently plays the dominant role in pollinating large tracts of agriculture. In a multibillion dollar industry, commercial apiaries lease their beehives to growers. Beekeepers manage the hives, moving the bees from field to field to ensure crop pollination. Leafcutting, or mason bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), can be up to ten times more efficient than honey bees at pollinating some early spring crops. Another crop pollinator is the bumblebee, which is less affected by extreme weather than the honey bee and is better adapted to perform under confined greenhouse conditions. A more nebulous category of insect commercialization surrounds the marketing of insects in the wild. Bioprospecting, ecotourism, and conservation enhancement are modes through which insects are marketed in an environmental context. These modes frequently interact to serve the broader intent of environmental awareness and protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Insects
EditorsV. H. Resh, R. T. Cardé
Place of PublicationSan Diego, CA
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780123741448
StatePublished - 2009


  • INHS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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