A program that focuses on the scientific study of insect species and populations in respect of their life cycles, morphology, genetics, physiology, ecology, taxonomy, population dynamics, and environmental and economic impacts. Includes instruction in applicable biological and physical sciences as well as insect toxicology and the biochemical control of insect populations.

Entomologists work with insects and arthropods in order to understand their systems, behaviors, and role in nature.

Our world is teeming with insects. They outnumber every other life form to such a degree that their presence rarely goes unnoticed, especially when it''s unwelcome. Insect life is intricate, complex, and fascinatingly varied; the work of entomologists reflects this. Whether they're discovering cool new creepy crawlies, conserving endangered species, or controlling pest populations, the work they do helps us to coexist with the bugs that surround us.

Most entomologists focus on a specific type of insect, like beetles or butterflies. Though some are strict about what constitutes an insect, others will study spiders, scorpions, crabs, and centipedes, who all occupy a gray area as different types of arthropods. Some entomologists extend their focus to worms, working with soil scientists to understand their activity.

Work in entomology may include...

  • Collecting and cataloguing insect specimens and environmental samples
  • Observing insect activity and recording data
  • Tracking bug populations using data and predictive models
  • Finding environmentally safe ways to reduce the presence of harmful insects
  • Keeping up with current discoveries
  • Developing strategies for insect crises

Entomologists can work in all kinds of environments, from morgues to classrooms to tropical rainforests, and the kind of work they do varies by industry. Medical entomologists use their knowledge of insects to reduce outbreaks of diseases carried by insects; they are usually employed by hospital research institutions, public health organizations, or disaster aid groups. Forensic entomologists work closely with law enforcement, applying their understanding of insect life cycles and consumption patterns to crime scenes to reveal essential information. Some entomologists work with crop growers and food distributors to defend their product from insect interference, while others contribute to research and development for pest control solutions. Universities employ entomologists as instructors or researchers, and government agencies like to have a roster of insect experts on hand. There are also number of careers directly involving insects that don't require advanced formal study, such as extermination or beekeeping. Science and natural history museums, zoos, and farms sometimes have insect collections that need tending, and can be great places to volunteer or gain experience.

Studying entomology isn't always a straightforward path, since few undergraduate institutions offer a major in the field. Undergraduate students looking to work with insects can study earth science or biology, and it's not uncommon to pursue independent study during a Bachelor's degree program. Coursework in statistics, ecology, chemistry, and public health can be interesting and provide some helpful context for a career involving insects. Most working entomologists have an advanced degree in their discipline. Graduate school provides an opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and explore; Master's and Doctoral degree candidates conduct independent research and emerge from their programs as experts on a particular subject. Professionals who want to add to their credentials can pursue certification in entomology, which can be a great option for professors and lecturers.

Learning about insects can reveal so much about our environment and its most numerous inhabitants. If you see a bug and your first instinct is to get closer in order to identify it, consider a career in entomology.

For more information, please follow the links below:

  • The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world dedicated to serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and insect scientists.
  • Entomology Today is a project of the Entomological Association of America devoted to reporting interesting discoveries in the world of insect science and has a number of exciting educational resources.
  • The Association of Applied IPM Ecologists is a professional association that connects members of the Integrated Pest Management industry.
  • The American Arachnological Society is a professional organization dedicated to furthering science and awareness concerning spiders and their arachnoid relatives.