A Career with Bugs: Becoming an Entomologist

Learn what entomologists are, where they work, and how a person can become an entomologist.

Teaching Objectives:

  • Students will be able to explain what an entomologist is and what kinds of activities they might do.
  • Students will be able to describe two sub-specialties in the field of entomology.
  • Students will be able to name places where an entomologist might work.
  • Students will be able to describe how insects can be problematic as well as how they are beneficial.
  • Students will be able to explain how a person can become an entomologist.

Suggested Grade Level

5th – 8th Grade

Lesson Excerpt:

An entomologist is a scientist that studies insects. Sound creepy? Perhaps, but for an entomologist, the world of butterflies, bees and mosquitoes is both fascinating and rewarding. Entomologists work in research labs, for health departments and in colleges and universities. One of the most important things these scientists do is to help prevent the destruction that insects can cause, such as damage to buildings or the devastation of crops. But not all bugs cause problems. Entomologists also find out how some insects are helpful to the environment. For example, ladybugs feed on insects that might destroy crops, while field crickets eat some common household pests. Bees provide us with honey and beeswax, which is used to make candles, cosmetics and household products.

Some entomologists specialize in working with specific kinds of insects. For example, lepidopterists work with butterflies and apiculturists raise bees. An entomologist that studies how insects behave in a certain environment and how they affect other organisms (including people) is called an ecological entomologist.

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