What is Entomology?

Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Insects are the dominant animal life form on earth. They make up more than 80 percent of all described animal species. Insects have a huge impact on our lives. They are a critical part of the ecosystems that support human life. We depend on pollinators and other beneficial insects for food production, natural pest control, and waste decomposition. But, insects also cause billions of dollars in yearly losses to crops, stored products, forests, and buildings. Insect pests affect millions of people worldwide with diseases, causing illness or even death.

Insects are an exciting and challenging field of study. A degree in Entomology is a gateway to a variety of careers that include teaching, research, pest control, many areas of state and federal government, the military and private industry. If you find you have an interest in environmental issues, evolution, genetics, preventing disease, water quality, feeding the hungry, healthcare, or even law enforcement, a degree in entomology may be just what you are looking for!

Professional entomologists have careers in university teaching, research, Cooperative Extension, structural pest control (preventing damage to homes and other structures), industrial and institutional pest control (keeping insects out of your school and other public places), public health agencies, pest-management consulting, agricultural business, consulting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other law enforcement agencies, the Armed Forces medical corps, environmental monitoring services, quarantine and other regulatory agencies.

Even if you don’t want to be a professional entomologist, but you are interested in anything you’ve read so far, the study of insects can also be a valuable addition to degrees in other areas, such as horticulture, animal science, forestry, education, medicine, veterinary science. What about art or music or literature? Insects provide wonderful subject matter!