Why is insect identification important?

Common urban pests compared to the size of a penney, from left to right: Male German cockroach, female German cockroach, female Surinam cockroach. Photo by Sarah Bernard

Being able to identify the insects you see around your home or garden helps you to know if the insect is dangerous, an urban or agricultural pest, or beneficial.

When we know how insects live, what they eat, and how they interact with their environment, we can use different strategies (integrated pest management, or IPM) to manage them around our homes, crops, and other spaces we may share with them. This is especially important when our buggy friends start to bite when the weather gets warm!

We also need to know if an insect is beneficial in our environment. We don’t want to hurt our special pollinator friends or insects that eat pests in our gardens!

Websites such as BugGuide.net can help you get started with insect identification.


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