Entomology 101: Study Of Insects For Beginners [A Rare Guide]
In a general sense, entomology is the comprehensive study of insects around us. Insects are tiny creatures that are also a part of the world like other living organisms. The discovery revealed that more than 5 million species of insects spread throughout the world.
The study of insects is very interesting. Now, there is a good career opportunity in entomology as well. In our Entomology Guide, we will provide you with very interesting facts related to the science of insects.
Many people are interested in studying entomology. Our Entomology Guide aims to extend your knowledge of entomology.
If you want to pursue a career in entomology, this article will be very useful for you as we will cover all the topics related to entomology. It will guide you in making your career by providing useful information regarding entomology. Let’s get started.
What Is Entomology?
Before getting into the detailed information about entomology, you have to understand the concept of entomology, which we will explain in this section of our Entomology Guide. Entomology defines the holistic study of insects. It covers a wide range of applications and uses.
The study of entomology extends your knowledge of insects which helps you in your agricultural activities. For example, you can find out which insects are harmful to your crops and which types of insects are beneficial to your farm.
Entomology deals with the study of insects where the deep interactions of insects with the environment are covered.
Entomology is indeed a university-level degree that comes under the Department of Agriculture or Zoology. This is a complex topic that necessitates specialized undergraduate and graduates degrees.
Most colleges across the world offer entomology courses, making it easier for aspiring agricultural students to pursue occupations that are in tune with nature.
Why Study Entomology?
In this section of the Entomology Guide, we will specify the reasons why you should learn entomology. Studying entomology offers you many benefits. Since insects are also a part of the world and are associated with our life activities, we need to know insects’ positive and negative roles in nature.
The study of entomology broadens our understanding and enables us to recognize how insects can benefit humanity in a variety of ways and how we can cohabit with insects while maintaining the natural balance.
We see many types of insects around us. But, we can’t identify them well. Also, we don’t even know how they are contributing to nature.
Hence, there is a need for entomology to find out all these things about insects. Global warming is a great factor that makes the study of insects more relevant. Climate change profoundly affects insect species. Climate change is responsible for the loss, migration, and changing the behavior of insects.
We can observe a close relationship between climate and insects. Some insect numbers live in every climate around us, but some insect species appear in a particular climate. In addition, the study of entomology is crucial because it is important for agriculture.
The study helps us figure out the contribution of insects to the spread of certain diseases and how farmers can adopt the right measures to protect their farms and crops from insects.
On the other hand, insects also benefit the environment, humans, and organisms to an extent.
Agricultural science students should have detailed knowledge about entomology. Additionally, humans’ keen interest in entomology benefits them as well as the environment. In this perspective, the study of entomology is important for all.
History of Entomology
An investigation of history shows that ancient people were fascinated by insects. Even in ancient times, insects were cultivated and worshiped for various purposes. The ancient Egyptians were known to worship a variety of insects, including dung beetles, which collected dung balls and buried them.
The female dung beetle would lie on the dung, and a few weeks later, new beetles were born from the ground. One of the best examples of human attachment to insects in ancient times was seen at Cuevas de la Arana en Bicorp in Easter, Spain, where seven bees surrounded a human figure. The person collects honey from the hive of seven bees.
Aside from that, numerous Roman authors wrote about insects in their writings. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, and Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, were so attracted to insects that they published their own books describing their observations on insects. The development of the truly scientific study of insects began after the Renaissance.
The study of insects began to expand in the 1800s. Entomology developed during the 18th century. By the 19th century, most of the major universities had begun to study the world’s insects. Simultaneously, a systematic program of research and investigation on insects was also initiated by leading scientific institutions.
What Does Entomology Have To Say To Us?
The study of entomology tells us about numerous things that happen in our environment. New things are being discovered for more study of entomology. There are already a number of established themes that suggest that insects are living organisms with a strong connection to the environment. The contribution of insects is also associated with human activities.
1. Environmental Indicators
Climate change, regional vegetation patterns, and seasons all have an impact on insects.
In addition to the general health of the forest, the pests’ changes in plant cover are proof of this. Insects are a crucial component of forest biodiversity. Many things can be triggered by the introduction of a new bug into the environment or the sudden fall of a native species, such as the effects of deforestation, a change in the plantation, CO2 concentration, drought, flood, and so on.
As archeology advances in environmental science, insect populations and residues are becoming more significant in the interpretation of archaeological areas and landscapes. The human population has had a huge effect on the past environment.
The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution influenced regional ecologies. But, our knowledge about entomology is still very limited. Our understanding has stuck on how insect residues are useful and exactly which insect species are most useful in which regions.
3. Forensic Entomology
Insect species are occasionally employed in criminal investigations, which might also surprise you. Insects are also valuable as evidence. This is an important area of entomology, as it aids in our understanding of human remains in both archaeology and criminal cases.
4. Medical Entomology
Medical entomology was introduced in the early 20th century. In medical entomology, the study of insects, along with other things, is a part of medical science. Studies explore how insects can be useful for public health. Plant diseases and insect-caused plant damage are also studied in medical entomology.
Insects and insect illnesses are a source of worry for medical researchers. Besides, the area of Medical Entomology is also associated with research on the development and effectiveness of new insecticides.
5. Fruit Fly Research
If we do not mention the fruit fly in the Entomology Guide, it will not get perfection. The fruit fly is a very small insect in our environment, but it does great things.
Fruit flies give us a lot of information for climate change research. Recent studies have explored that flies are sufficiently capable of adjusting their body temperature to a changing environment.
How To Start Your Entomology Hobby?
If you have a passion for entomology, you need to get your entomology journey headed in the right direction. Otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy your journey properly. We are providing you with some ways which will be useful for you to start your entomology hobby.
1. Entomological Societies
The first way to start your entomology hobby would be to join the entomology society. There are several well-known entomological societies spread across the United Kingdom (UK). Information about some such societies is being given here.
- Amateur Entomologists Society (AES): This entomological society was established in 1935 and has emerged as a charity. The volunteers running AES have a great enthusiasm for entomology. The society publishes its bi-monthly magazines and periodicals, which will be helpful in taking your entomology hobby in the right direction.
- Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society (LCES): Located in England, this entomological society is a regional organization. It was established in 1882. The organization publishes both magazines and articles. It will be beneficial for you to join this entomology society to start your entomology hobby.
- British Entomological & Natural History Society (BENHS): This organization was founded in 1872 in London. BENHS organizes various events and publishes periodicals. In addition, it offers small grants for entomology facilities.
2. Entomological Exhibit
This is another great option that will ease your entomology hobby. You can visit various entomology exhibitions. These exhibits provide a venue for scientists and hobbyists to communicate, debate their discoveries, and develop new research plans for the future. Some permanent UK-based examples of entomological exhibits include,
- Annual Trade Show and Exhibition: This is an annual autumn event that takes place in Kempton Park. The AES, as previously said, hosts it. At this trade fair, you can buy entomology-related books and equipment.
- The Catering Insect Show: This event is held every year in the month of April in Northamptonshire. Insects are displayed and sold in this exhibition.
- The Newark Entomological Fair: This annual event is held in the English East Midlands on Newark-on-Trent. This fair will have a variety of entomology-related publications and equipment that you may purchase according to your needs.
3. Entomology-Related Books And Essays
Reading is an excellent way to gain knowledge of entomology. A deep study of entomology will expand your treasury of knowledge. You can expand your understanding by looking into many entomology topics.
We are presenting here some popular books on entomology that will help you in your entomology journey. The following are some of the top entomology books for beginners.
- The Royal Entomological Society Book of British Insects.
- Practical Workbook of Introductory Entomology
- Insects: Their Ways and Means of Living
- Practical Workbook of Introductory Entomology
Most entomological associations publish periodicals with essays. This journal offers various essays written by members on a variety of topics related to entomology. Some of the UK-based entomology journals are as follows,
- Insect Molecular Biology
- Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine
- Ecological Entomology
- British Journal of Entomology and Natural History
As a beginning in the field of entomology, you will require a variety of supplies. Our Entomology Guide will look at a few best equipment. You may need them as a newbie entomology hobbyist.
- Pen and Notepad: You’ll need a notepad to keep track of insect behavior and other details related to your outdoor investigation.
- A field guide: With such a guide, you will find various information on insect species and insects’ behavior, which will be useful for your field research.
- Tubes: Insect tubes or pots are useful for collecting insects so that you may study them in detail.
- Net: With the help of nets, you can easily catch insects from the air to check the insect species.
- Magnifying Glass: You’ll need a hand magnifying glass to examine small specimens in the environment.
- Potter: A potter is a piece of special equipment used to catch insects from the ground. You can gather beetle insects with this equipment.
What Is An Insect?
In the Entomology Guide, we will now define insects and their characteristics. In a general sense, insects are arthropods that are considered to be hexapod invertebrates. They are found in air, land, and in some cases of, water.
Insects have six legs and an exoskeleton. The majority of insects have big compound eyes.
Antennae are found on some insect species. Furthermore, the majority of insects have wings. Compound eyes, antennae, and ocelli work together to analyze the majority of the sensory information received by insects.
1.Types of Insects
More than 5 million insects are scattered around the earth, which we have mentioned at the beginning of our Entomology Guide. Most species of insects are incorporated into seven major groups of insects. We’ll outline the different types of insects in the section.
True bugs are insects that belong to the Heteroptera order, which has around 40,000 species.
Bug species come in a distinctive X-shape that is formed when fixed by their wings and by which they are identified. Wheel bugs, water bugs, leafhopper killer bugs, whiteflies, and Veliidae are examples of real bugs.
Small pets naturally check spaces between and behind large appliances, between appliances and cupboards, and even open dishwashers. And these can cause great harm to your beloved pet. That is why it would be better to prevent the pets from reaching the nooks and crannies.
Nearly 5000 species of insects exist in the world. Tropical and subtropical regions are home to the majority of cockroach species classified as omnivores. Some cockroaches grow up to 90 mm in length and are considered relatively large insects in the insect group.
D. Moths & Butterflies:
Moths & butterflies are listed in the order Lepidoptera. Over 150,000 insect species are included in this classification of insects. Lepidoptera has distinct small scales that cover their wings. Some species under the order Lepidoptera are monarch butterflies, painted ladies, common clothes moths, gypsy moths, etc.
One of the most well-known Invertebrates is the dragonfly. These insects are in the order Odonata. They have two large wings, long and thin abdomens, and a large head. Blue dashers, common blue damselflies, and emperors are some of the insects of the species Odonata.
Flies refer to the insects of the order Diptera which are marked by their large compound eyes.
The files have an inherent biological gyroscope that allows them to fly with a high degree of control.Furthermore, their hind wings have evolved to become part of their limbs. Flies are found in roughly 10,000 different species all over the planet. Mosquitoes, bluebottles, and houseflies are examples of Diptera insects.
G. Grasshoppers & Crickets:
The species of grasshopper & cricket insects come under the order Orthoptera. Their stiff backs identify them with large heads as well as long hind legs. Around 18,000 species of Orthoptera exist in the world. Most Orthoptera lives in tropical regions. Some examples of the Orthoptera species insects are desert locusts, red-legged grasshoppers, and tropical house crickets.
H. Praying Mantids:
This species of insect comes in medium or large sizes. They have two distinct large compound eyes and a triangular-shaped head. Their forelimbs have spines that are used to capture prey. Carolina mantis and orchid mantis are two examples of this species.
These species of insect are plentiful in most parts of the world. These species include ants, bees, and wasps, and these insects are most social than other insects. Hymenoptera makes a major contribution to the human world by pollinating flowers and playing their roles as parasites to other destructive insects.
B. How To Identify Insects?
By reading the various sections of the Entomology Guide, by now you must have gained knowledge about the different species of insects. Now, to answer the question of how to identify insects, we would say that you can accurately follow certain rules to identify the specific insect.
In order to identify a specific insect, follow the tips,
- Where that specific insect live
- Where it is usually active
- How its wings look
- Presence of its antennas, legs, and mouthparts
- Its colors, shape, and nature of its movement
You will find many resources, like the Royal Entomology Society, on the internet for the identification of other insects.
C. Some Lesser Known Facts About Insects
- The world’s largest insect is a stick insect found in Borneo, Asia. The length of the insect species is about 20 inches.
- Around 900,000 species of insects have been traced. There are many more species of insects that have to be discovered.
- The African goliath beetle is listed as the heaviest insect species in the world. A large goliath beetle can grow up to 4 inches long and weigh about 110 grams.
- In certain countries, insects are treated as food. Farmers cultivate insects and sell them. Insects are considered tasty snacks in those countries.
- The dragonfly is the fastest insect that can reach a speed of about 58 kmph.
D. How To Encourage Insects Into Your Garden?
Here we will provide some techniques for encouraging different species of insects in your garden.
- Do not use chemicals: You must be aware that insecticides or insecticides destroy insects when they come in contact with chemicals. Therefore, you should minimize the use of pesticides or insecticides in your garden. You can then encourage and watch different species of insects in your garden.
- Pollen and nectar sources: It is a good idea to plant a range of pollen and nectar sources to increase the presence of insects in your garden. If you plant some species of plants, like bumblebees, in your garden, you will be able to encourage beneficial insects to pollinate the flowers.
- Ponds: Ponds are a great option for encouraging insects. Dig a 2 feet deep pond in the ground. Then systematically line your ponds using waterproof plastic. A filter can also be used before adding the water. Such ponds may encourage certain insects, such as damselflies, dragonflies, aquatic larvae, and water beetles.
- Native plants: You can find native British plants, such as field maple, silver birch, etc., to attract and grow various insects in your garden. Planting a variety of plants in your garden can make it possible for a wide range of insects to enter your garden.
E. How To Collect And Preserve Insects?
In a general sense, collecting and preserving insects refers to the process of collecting insects to meet the needs of entomology study and research activities. Many researchers or entomologists trap the insects in a special killing jar and preserve the dead insects. Other entomologists keep the insects alive before later returning them to the environment.
According to UK Law, you must seek permission from the Forestry Commission to capture insects from the ground. You are free to collect insects on public land, except for protected species, such as spiders. To preserve dead insects, you can apply alcohol to their bodies. You can protect most insects by using pinning.
How Is Climate Change Impacting Entomology?
In this section of our Entomology Guide, we’ll shed light on how climate change affects a group of insects. Today, climate change is greatly affecting biodiversity. Climate change is influencing insect species and wildlife widely.
Earth’s temperature is increasing day by day, and this global warming is greatly influencing the insect species around the world, and in turn, it is affecting our earth as well. In entomology, much attention has been focused on the issue of global warming and has led to the conclusion that the conservation of insect species is important.
Many entomological societies and organizations are also emphasizing on the conservation of insects. Entomology contributes greatly to expanding our knowledge about the effects of climate change on the world.
How Can I Study Entomology In Education?
There are several top universities that offer various entomological courses. There are a number of entomology courses that you can complete in the UK to obtain a degree in entomology. The top colleges and universities that offer opportunities to complete various entomological courses include,
- University of Oxford
- University of Sheffield
- University of Reading
- Kiel University
- Staffordshire University
- Harper Adams University
Most of the entomological courses are of postgraduate level, which also includes the study of Ph.D. Nevertheless, a specialized university called Harper Adams University offers a bachelor-level entomology course named Zoology with Entomology. The duration of that bachelor’s degree is four years.
1. Careers in Entomology
Several different types of career opportunities are available in entomology which can pursue your dreams to establish your career in this field. We are presenting some better career opportunities that will be useful information for the individuals who wish to be an entomologist.
1. Forensic Entomology:
Forensic entomology is a brilliant career in this field. The duty of forensic entomologists is to perform analyses of any species of insects that are found in a deceased person’s body. This entomology is used to find out when a person died and is used to complement other forensic research.
To make a career in forensic entomology, first, you need to complete a degree in entomology or in a related field, viz biology, zoology, and forensics. After that, you will have to achieve many years of experience in the respective field to be a qualified and highly efficient candidate to execute this type of work.
2. Agricultural, Biological Or Genetic Research:
This is another good career option to establish yourself as an entomologist. Broad knowledge and understanding of entomology can be applied in this career field. Entomological research is beneficial to scientists, governments, and businesses equally. A college degree is mandatory in most cases to enter these fields.
You can try your career in this field of entomology. For this, the candidate must have a degree in entomology. Your strong knowledge in entomology can bring you excellent opportunities to hold consultant positions in reputed companies and government sectors based on agriculture, public health, environment, food processing, etc.
Insect bites are an important aspect of entomology that needs to be covered in an Entomology Guide. The Insect’s bite effects vary from insect to insect. Most Insect bites cause mild or slight discomfort. However, some insect bites cause pain, rashes, swelling, a feeling of heat, and in and around the area where a specific insect has bitten.
Some reactions to biting insects may be due to numbness, an allergy, and intense pain. Before going into entomology, you should check whether you are allergic to a particular insect or not. We are explaining some common insect bites that you may experience offend.
Everyone has experienced a mosquito bite. In fact, a mosquito bite is the most common bite that all people experience often. Mosquitoes’ bite is itchy in nature which causes swelling and redness.
The risk of a mosquito’s bite is that it can spread the great malaria fever. However, not all species of mosquitoes are risky for carrying malaria, from a person with malarial fever to healthy individuals. There are a few specific species of mosquitoes that spread malaria.
However, you should avoid mosquito bites by adopting various measures. For example, you can apply an OTC hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to protect yourself from mosquito bites. The mentioned creams are effective in the treatment of mosquito bites.
Ticks’ bite doesn’t cause much discomfort, and it is not very harmful. Also, it does not cause any noticeable reaction. Still, when ticks bite, there is a possibility of an allergic reaction. In addition, ticks’ bites can spread diseases from a pet or human to other individuals. In some cases, a tick’s bite can take a dangerous form.
Ticks’ bites can be treated by carefully removing the ticks. You need to seal and freeze the tick in a container. Then wash both your hands and the bitten area with plain water. Apply some rubbing alcohol to the bite area.
3. Flower Bugs
Flower buds are such a species of insects that pain and intense itching are felt when they bite. Flower bugs’ bites can be very dangerous if you are allergic. If a flower bud occasionally bites you, immediately wash the affected area with soapy water to treat it. Then apply an ice pack for 5/10 minutes on the place where the flower bug has bitten. You will get relief by doing this remedy.
Through this Entomology Guide, we can see that insects play a silent role in nature which is effective and powerful for nature and humankind as a whole. Insects also have some negative sides.
Many insects are so poisonous that if they get into vegetables, and then people eat those vegetables, humans can even die. However, entomology is very useful and interesting to humans. Apart from this, entomology has also opened doors to high-level careers for us today.