Dead insects are actually wintertime houses in the trees

Scale insects attack plants we care about and poop sticky sugar water on our windshields, and I don’t appreciate either of these very much. But, like most living things, the effects of scale insects on other creatures are complicated, and scale insects also do a lot of things we consider good up in the canopy. I’d argue that scale insects are keystone species, whose poop and leftover carcasses are food and homes, respectively, for many animals and fungi. Here are thrips and mites using scale insect covers and carcasses for homes over the winter.

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