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There are over 1 million separate known species of insects; this is more than all other species combined. The US has about 100,000 species and there may be up to a 1000 varieties in your back yard.
Most of the insects are harmless or are predators, keeping the bad insects under control. They serve an essential function for us, in that about 80% of the food world-wide is dependent on insect pollination. It is estimated that only about 3% of all the insects are “pests” for mankind. This small fraction of insects, however, causes many millions of dollars of damage to agricultural crops, fruit and shade trees, ornamental plants, buildings and other materials valued by man.
It would be impossible to identify and deal with this number of species without a classification system. In this system insects are but one of the divisions of the group (phyla) called arthropoda.
The arthropoda group has separate classes for insects, spiders, slugs, sowbugs, mites, ticks, centipedes and others. This difference is important to mention, in that organisms in different classes have different behaviors and have different susceptibilities to pesticides. For instance, chemicals labeled as insecticides are often not effective on spider mites, which are in the arachnid or spider class.
When dealing with an insect problem, the first step is usually identification. Thoroughout our website you will find information on specific insects as they relate to certain crops of plants. Below we provide you with links to general insect information as well as information of a variety of household insects.