Not only do insects interact with people, some insect species share characteristics with humans, Waldbauer said. For example, the tsetse fly has an analogue of a mammalian uterus. "Milk-secreting glands that empty into the 'uterus' feed the developing larva. Tsetse milk is white and chemically similar to human or cow's milk," Waldbauer wrote in a chapter titled "Guaranteeing descendants: The role of parental care."
Waldbauer emphasizes that insects can be useful to humans. For example, he said, maggot therapy has been used to remove gangrenous tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact. Because of the increasing prevalence of bacterial resistance, the therapy has been used recently to replace antibiotics.
Since retiring in 1995, Waldbauer has written several books, including "The Handy Bug Answer Book," "What Good are Bugs" and "Insects Through the Seasons." He is now completing work on his next book, "Aquatic Insects: Bugs In and Over the Water."
Meredith Waterstraat illustrated "Insights From Insects." Waterstraat, a former Illinois graduate student in mathematics education, also illustrated "What Good are Bugs." Waldbauer and Waterstraat began working together after he saw and was intrigued by her paintings of beetles at the Anita Purves Nature Center in Busey Woods in Urbana.