What is a bug?

Fulgorid planthopper, Honduras. Photo by Sarah Bernard

What we commonly call bugs is actually an entire order of insects called Hemiptera. True bugs are different from other insects. Their mouthparts are specialized to suck plant juices, the blood of birds, reptiles, and mammals, or the hemolymph of other insects!

             Aphids suck plant juices                        Bedbugs suck human blood

Uroleucon pseudambrosiae
David Cappaert
Michigan State University


Cimex lectularius
Clemson University
USDA Cooperative Extension










True bugs have specialized mouth parts that can pierce plants, insects, and animals! Check out the underside of this brown marmorated stink bug!

Ventral mouthparts of Halyomorpha halys (brown marmorated stink bug). Photo by Susan Ellis


Author: Sarah Bernard, M.S., Entomologist, University of Florida