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How to Identify Insects Yourself

If you’re simply curious about an insect you’ve found, you may want to try to identify it yourself. Here are some things to look for:

  • Size
  • Habitat – was it outdoors or indoors? what time of day did you see it? what type of plants were nearby?
  • Behavior – did it walk, jump, or fly? did it move quickly or slowly? did it bite or sting someone? was it feeding on a plant or something else?
  • Appearance – how many legs did it have (hint: insects should always have six)? how was its body shaped? did it have wings? what color or pattern was it?

Sometimes, entering a detailed description of the insect into an internet search engine will produce a photo that will allow you to identify your specimen. Other times, you may need to do a little more research. The links below may be useful for identifying your specimen.

If you’re still having trouble identifying your specimen, we’re always happy to help! Bring it by the office anytime we’re open for expert identification by our entomology laboratory staff.



Page last reviewed: August 24, 2021

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