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What is Entomology?
Entomology is both a basic and an applied science that deals with the study of insects and their relatives. Insects are members of the animal class Insecta, by far the largest group of animals in the world. While we have identified over one million different species of insects, some experts believe that there may be as many as 30 million different species of insects that have not been discovered and identified yet.

What Do Entomologists Do?
Because of its diversity, entomology provides many choices and opportunities for those interested in nature based and biological sciences. Some entomologists work out in the field collecting and recording, others work in the laboratory or classroom, and others find a niche in regulatory entomology or international activities. Some examples are:

  • agriculture
  • ecology
  • forestry
  • food supplies
  • biology
  • human health
  • economics
  • pharmaceuticals
  • chemistry
  • criminology and forensics
  • genetics
  • robotics

Why Study Insects?
Insects make up about 80% of all known animals present on the earth, which makes them the most important for the survival of most animal and plant species on our planet. Without insects, human beings as a species would face certain extinction within a very short period of time.

Insects play an important role and are essential to maintaining the balance of nature. Predators and parasites help to control populations of other organisms. Scavengers and decomposers help to clean up the environment and recycle nutrients for plants. Pollinators are responsible for ensuring the renewal of vegetation and let’s not forget, insects themselves are a primary food source for most animals and other insects.

Insects are an integral component of the ecological web. Throughout the world, habitat alteration has caused the extinction of many organisms, including insects. By identifying endangered species and studying their habitats, entomologists help describe and restore threatened ecosystems.

Entomological research has helped the United States to become a model for all industrialized countries in solving public health problems. A century ago, malaria was a major problem in North America. It is now of minor importance because of entomologists and their research. Despite this success story, much work remains to be done. Few problems present greater challenges to medical and veterinary entomologists than the widespread distribution of insect-borne disease agents.

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