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Gli is used in the plural form when a word begins with a vowel, z or even ps, sc, sb, etc. i.e. 2 consonants. All words that use lo instead of il in the singular form. E.g. lo zio- gli zii, l'uomo- gli uomini, l'alberi- gli alberi, lo scolaro- gli scolari, lo stato- gli stati, etc.
Well as I soon discovered after writing that first comment (which was over a year ago I think), "gli" is pronounced "lyee". So, while this pronunciation is not obvious, it's also understandable to an Italian as "gli" I'm sure.
So "gli insetti" should be pronounced like "Lyeen-set-tee".