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What’s the Difference Between Bugs and Insects?

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What’s the Difference Between Bugs and Insects in Suffolk County & Nassau County | Suburban ExterminatingEven though the words “bug” and “insect” are often used interchangeably in conversation, the truth is there are distinct scientific differences between the two. 

In summary, all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. The term “bug” is commonly used informally to describe a wide range of small creatures, including insects and other arthropods, while “insect” has a more specific biological classification.

It’s not a big deal to us whether you say “bug” or “insect” when you’re describing your pest issue (our team knows what you mean!) but if you’re interested in learning the specific distinctions between the two terms, read on!

What’s a Bug? 

Remember learning domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species in school? This is known as taxonomy and will help in the understanding of the differences between bugs and insects. 

While “bug” is sometimes the catch-all term used to describe creepy-crawly pests with any number of legs, bugs belong to a specific order of insects called Hemiptera. This order is comprised of somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 species, many of which Long Island homeowners deal with each year.

multicolored upside down triangle that shows the animal kingdom in order in Suffolk County & Nassau County | Suburban Exterminating
Stink bug in Suffolk County & Nassau County | Suburban Exterminating

Common Bugs Found on Long Island 

Commonly Shared Bug Characteristics 

Most hemipterans (bugs) share a few common characteristics, including: 

  • An appetite for plants 
  • Sucking, piercing mouthparts that resemble straws which are used to suck juices from plants 
  • No teeth 
  • Wings that are thickened and colored where they attach to the body and taper toward the back end of the wing; back wings are usually clear and tucked under their front wings 
  • Six legs 
  • Exoskeletons 
  • Segmented bodies 
  • Young nymphs that look somewhat like their adult forms

What’s an Insect? 

Thinking back to biology class again, both insects and bugs belong to the class Insecta, meaning while all bugs are a type of insect, not all insects are bugs. Interestingly enough, it’s estimated that over 90% of the animal life forms on Earth are insects. 

Long Island Insects

Shared Insect Characteristics

  • Three-part bodies 
  • Three pairs of jointed legs 
  • Compound eyes 
  • One set of antennae 
  • Chitinous exoskeletons 
  • Most often hatched from eggs 
  • Development through molting
Ant on leaf in Suffolk County & Nassau County | Suburban Exterminating

Are Spiders Insects or Bugs?

Trick question—neither! Spiders belong to a class called Arachnida. 

Characteristics of Arachnids 

  • Eight legs 
  • Two-part bodies  
  • Simple eyes 
  • Inject digestive fluid into their prey before sucking up their remains 

So, to summarize, all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs, and arachnids are in their own category!

Wolf spider in Suffolk County & Nassau County | Suburban Exterminating

Stay Safe From Bugs, Insects, and Arachnids

Regardless of a pest’s order or class, dealing with them in your Long Island home can be nerve-wracking. Stay safe from pests year-round with an annual pest protection plan from Suburban Exterminating. With several different plans to choose from, and a team of highly trained technicians and certified entomologists on staff, you can rest assured you’ll find the right option to protect your home, family, and budget. 

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