17 Different Types of Insects Explained

Different Types of Insects
Photo by Elegance Nairobi

Insects are fascinating creatures and play an essential role in our ecosystem.

Some species are beneficial, such as bees, ants, and butterflies, while others cause harm, such as mosquitoes and cockroaches.

Let’s learn about the different types of insects found around the world. There are thousands of species of insects, each with its unique characteristics.

Many are very small, some are quite large, and some look pretty weird. There are even some insects that don’t fit into any category.

What Is an Insect?

Insects are arthropods, meaning they have jointed limbs and antennae. They also have exoskeletons or cuticles, which are protective coverings that allow them to survive outside their bodies.

An excellent way to identify insects is to look at their legs. The front pair of legs has three segments, whereas the rear pair has two. You have found an insect if you see four or five pairs of legs.

You might have heard of some of these insects, such as mosquitoes, bees, ants, and flies. But did you know that there are also thousands of other types of insects? Let’s look at a few of them.

Different Types of Insects

Here are some of the types of insects you should know about.

1. Ants

Types of Ants in Colorado
Image credit: depositphotos.com

Ants are insects of the family Formicidae and the order Hymenoptera. They have a slender body and a fat abdomen, and they’re among the list of flying insects.

There are over 12,000 species of ants. Some are tiny, and some are huge. Most ants are herbivores, feeding on plants, and others eat other insects or dead animals.

Ants are social insects who live in colonies. They communicate using chemical signals called pheromones.

Additionally, they also share information and coordinate activities through communication channels such as trails and tunnels.

Most of them are harmless, but some species can cause damage to crops or buildings. If you see ants around your home, you should contact pest control professionals immediately.

Lifecycle of an Ant

From birth until death, ants go through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Let’s discuss each step:

  • Egg – The first stage of the ant’s lifecycle is the egg. Ants lay eggs in clusters of about a dozen eggs. Eggs are about 0.5mm and have a transparent color. After seven to ten days, the egg begins to hatch.
  • Larva – After the egg hatches, the larva transforms into an adult ant. The larva goes through four different stages before becoming an adult. These stages are the instars. Each time the larva grows larger, it sheds its skin and molts. Molting occurs when the old cuticle is shed, and a new one forms underneath.
  • Pupa – Pupae look exactly like the adults, except they are much smaller. After the pupal stage, the ant becomes an adult.
  • Adult – Adults are the largest ants in the colony. Adults range from 0.75 to 52mm and can carry food back to the nest.

2. Termites

by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Termites are one of the different types of insects that feed on dead organic matter such as leaves, twigs, and other plant material.

The majority of termite species are in tropical regions. Also, they are social insects that live in colonies where they build nests out of mud or soil, and these nests can be huge and contain millions of individuals. 

In addition, termites have two types of mouthparts. The first type is the mandibles. Mandibles are at the end of the head, and they use them to cut and chew food.

The second type of mouthpart is the maxillae. Maxillae are inside the head, and they use them to grind food.

Termites are pests because they destroy wooden structures such as houses, bridges, and ships. In addition, they also carry diseases that affect humans.

Termite infestations are often caused by poor construction practices, such as leaving gaps between walls and floors.

These gaps provide access for termites to enter the house. If you suspect that you have termites, contact a pest control company immediately.

Lifecycle of a Termite

  • Egg – This is not similar to the eggs of the different types of insects because they undergo incomplete metamorphosis. They go through four molting stages.
  • Nymph – Nymphs are the second stage in the lifecycle of termites. They go through three molting stages as they grow and are often mistaken for adults. However, it takes them months to develop into adults, depending on temperature, food availability, and population of the colony.
  • Adult – Adults are the final stage in the lifecycle. Adults are the largest and heaviest members of the species, and they are capable of reproducing.

3. Cockroaches

Different Types of Cockroaches
Image credit: depositphotos.com

Cockroaches are insects that have been around since prehistoric times. There are over 4,600 species of cockroaches in the world today.

These insects are everywhere. They live in our homes, offices, restaurants, and even bodies and don’t seem to care where they go.

Cockroaches are found worldwide and can thrive in extreme conditions, and they are also considered a vector for disease transmission.

Cockroaches are omnivores and eat anything they find. They are scavengers and feed off dead animals, decaying food, and human feces.

Cockroaches are attracted to dark places where they can hide and breed.

Lifecycle of a Cockroach

  • Egg – The first stage is the egg. Cockroaches lay eggs in dark places where they cannot be seen easily. Eggs are laid in clusters inside the female cockroach’s body, each containing about 100 eggs. This stage lasts 14 to 100 days, depending on climate and species.
  • Nymph – The next stage is the nymphal stage. The nymphs molt several times before becoming an adult while changing their color as they break through a fresh shell. It takes one to three months to complete this phase.
  • Adult – Adults are larger than nymphs, and they have wings and antennae. The adults mate and live together in colonies.

4. Grasshoppers

Photo by katarzynaa93 on Pixabay

Grasshoppers are insects that belong to the order Orthoptera. They have noticeable features such as long antennae, wings, and legs.

The term grasshopper comes from their habit of hopping around on plants.

Grasshoppers are famous for their jumping ability, and they’re also considered pests because they eat crops and spread diseases. They can jump over two meters high, and some species can fly.

They are also important pollinators, helping to spread seeds from one plant to another. In addition, grasshoppers are often eaten by birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

Lifecycle of a Grasshopper

  • Egg – The egg is the first stage of the lifecycle of a grasshopper. Grasshoppers lay their eggs in the autumn and winter. The eggs are in clusters containing between 50 and 200 eggs, hatching after about ten months during springtime. 
  • Nymph – Once the eggs hatch, they emerge as nymphs looking around for what to consume. Nymphs undergo six different stages of molting before becoming an adult, and this phase lasts for about six weeks.
  • Adult – Adults are in the final stage of the lifecycle, and they reach sexual maturity at about fifteen days and can fly and eat insects.

5. Butterflies

Types of Butterflies in Alaska
Photo by santanu misra on Unsplash

Butterflies are one of the different types of insects found worldwide. They are popular for their brilliant colors and intricate patterns, and the species vary from tropical to temperate climates.

These insects are important pollinators and play a vital role in the ecosystem. In addition, they are also threatened by habitat destruction, climate change, pesticides, and other human activities.

Caterpillars are food for butterflies because they provide them with nutrients. In return, these butterflies feed off the caterpillar’s body fluids. This relationship between predators and prey is parasitism.

Butterflies are often associated with beauty and elegance and are also considered symbols of transformation and rebirth.

In addition, butterflies are also known for their ability to travel long distances.

Lifecycle of a Butterfly

  • Egg – The egg is the first stage of the lifecycle of a butterfly. Female butterflies lay the eggs, which are in a protective shell called the chorion. The eggs are then placed in a safe location where they will hatch after some time.
  • Larva or Caterpillars – Caterpillars are the second stage in the lifecycle. They eat the leaves of the host plant until they reach maturity. At this point, they shed their skin and become pupae again. They then go through a final molting period before emerging as the pupa or chrysalis.
  • Pupa or Chrysalis – In the pupal stage, the caterpillars go through metamorphosis. The caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly. The pupae stage lasts for a couple of days and is the last stage before the adult emerges.
  • Adult – Adults are the last stage in the lifecycle and are the only stage that does not undergo metamorphosis. Adults spend their time eating nectar from flowers and mating. Female adults lay eggs on host plants, and males do not contribute to reproduction.

6. Mosquitoes

How Many Types of Mosquitoes Are There
Image credit: depositphotos.com

The mosquito is one of the different types of insects in the order Diptera (meaning two wings).

There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide, and they are on every continent except Antarctica.

Mosquitoes are annoying pests, but they also carry some pretty serious diseases. If you live in tropical regions, you probably already know mosquitoes can transmit malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, yellow fever, and Zika.

The mosquito has become a major public health problem worldwide. In 2017 alone, over 3 million people died from mosquito-borne illnesses.

There are several ways to prevent mosquitoes from biting you or your family. These include using repellents, wearing long sleeves and pants, avoiding stagnant water, and sleeping under treated bed nets.

Lifecycle of a Mosquito

  • Egg – Mosquito eggs are laid in water-filled containers, such as buckets, barrels, flower pots, and bird baths. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, which is often present in these types of habitats. Each Greg’s hatch within 48hours and turns into a larva.
  • Larva – The larva undergoes three molting stages before turning into a pupa. They feed on microorganisms present in the water.
  • Pupa – During the pupal stage, the mosquito goes through several changes:
  1. Its body hardens and becomes covered with a waxy layer called a cuticle.
  2. The mosquito sheds its skin and begins to develop wings.
  3. The mosquito emerges from the pupal case and becomes an adult.
  • Adult – Once adult mosquitoes emerge, male mosquitoes feed on nectar, while females feed on human and animal blood.

7. Bees

Types of Bees in Arkansas
Photo by Kai Wenzel on Unsplash

Bees are the most useful to humans out of the different types of insects because they pollinate flowers and produce honey.

They are responsible for producing honey, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, pollen, and much more. This insect has played an essential role in human culture since ancient times.

There are over 20,000 species of bees worldwide, each with unique characteristics. Some are solitary, some are social, and some live in colonies. 

There are several ways to attract bees to your yard or garden. For example, near your house, you can plant flowering trees and shrubs, such as lilacs, magnolias, roses, and azaleas. The scent of these plants attracts bees and other insects.

Lifecycle of a bee

  • Egg – A queen bee is the only female honeybee in her lifetime. She lays up to 2000 to 3000 eggs.
  • Larva – After about three days, larvae hatch out of their eggs and begin eating the royal jelly. Once they reach the final instar (last larval stage), they spin cocoons around themselves, where they pupate for about seven days.
  • Pupa – Pupae are formed after larvae have hatched and are sealed inside cells. They develop a head, abdomen, thorax, wings, and eyes and start to look like adult bees.
  • Adult – Eventually, an adult bee will emerge and chew its way through the wax covering.

8. Ladybugs

Different Types of Ladybugs
Photo by Myriams-Fotos

Ladybugs are cute little bugs that live in our homes and gardens. They eat aphids and other pests and provide us with some pretty cool benefits.

Ladybugs are native to North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, South America, and Central America.

They are members of the beetle family and belong to the order Coleoptera (or coleopterans).

Ladybugs are beneficial insects because they feed on harmful insects such as mosquitoes, flies, mites, and ticks. They also pollinate plants and help control insect populations.

However, there are different types of ladybugs, each with its own characteristics.

Lifecycle of a ladybug

  • Egg – Ladybug lays eggs in clusters of about 5 to 30 eggs. Each egg is covered in a thin shell and contains a yolk sac.
  • Larva – After about ten days, the egg hatches into a larva. At first, they are translucent and look similar to tiny alligators. As they mature, their bodies become darker and thicker until they reach maturity.
  • Pupa – After molting several times, the Pupae are inactive and look like tiny yellow spots on leaves.
  • Adult – Adults are winged insects, and they are black. Adult ladybugs eat aphids and other harmful insects.

9. Earwigs

Earwigs - Insects That Start With E 
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Earwigs are creepy crawly insects that live in moist environments. They feed on decaying organic matter, such as leaves, twigs, and dead animals.

In some parts of the world, earwigs are pests because they eat seeds and cause damage to crops.

Earwigs are beneficial creatures that help decompose plant material. They play a role in recycling nutrients back into the soil and also help prevent diseases and weeds from growing.

Also, they are nocturnal animals, spending their time at night feeding on plant material.

Lifecycle of an Earwig

Earwigs undergo incomplete metamorphosis. They reproduce by laying eggs in moist places where larvae hatch out after approximately seven days. The larva subsequently grows into nymphs and then adults.

10. Crickets

by Gemma Stiles is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cricket is a common name for various species belonging to the family Gryllidae.

There are over 2,500 known species of crickets, and each has its unique characteristics. Some eat plants, some eat other insects, and some eat both.

These insects are often used as food due to their high protein content. They are also known for surviving without water for long periods.

Lifecycle of a Cricket

The lifecycle of cricket begins with an adult cricket laying eggs in a nest. After hatching, the nymphs (younger versions) feed on plant matter. When they reach maturity, the adults emerge from their nests and mate.

11. Fleas

Different Types of Fleas
Photo by Foad Roshan

Fleas are annoying pests that cause health problems and damage to our homes. They also carry diseases such as plague and typhus. 

There are over 2,000 species of fleas worldwide. These insects live on animals and feed off their blood, and they cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in humans. The problem is flea infestations can spread rapidly through a home or office.

They are prevalent in warm climates and tropical regions. They thrive in areas where there is lots of moisture and vegetation.

Lifecycle of a Flea

  • Egg – Fleas lay up to eight eggs at a time. These eggs aren’t usually sticky and hatch into larvae within one to twelve days.
  • Larva – The larval stage lasts about 4-18 days, depending upon temperature. They’re semi-transparent white in color, after which they spin cocoons and enter the pupal stage.
  • Pupa – Pupae are the last stage before adulthood. The pupal stage lasts 4-6 days, and the adult flea emerges from the pupa after this time.
  • Adult – Adult fleas are winged, bite hosts to suck blood, and do not fly far from the host. Female fleas mate once per day, and males mate once per week.

12. Mantis

Green Mantisfly
by Wildreturn is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mantis insects are one of the different types of insects. They can eat almost anything, from leaves to grasshoppers.

Their diet consists mainly of plant matter, but they also consume other insects, spiders, worms, snails, and small mammals.

The mantis family contains over 2,500 species worldwide. Most of them live in tropical regions, although some species are in temperate areas too.

These insects are primarily nocturnal predators, hunting at night using their long antennae to detect prey.

Mantises are very agile insects, able to scurry and jump high distances. They are also well adapted to survive in extreme environments.

In addition to being able to eat almost anything, mantises can fly, swim, and burrow underground.

Lifecycle of a Mantis

  • Egg – Females lay their eggs in specific locations where males can easily access them. They lay eggs in clusters called ootheca, counting up to 200 eggs.
  • Nymph – Nymphs do not have wings in their early stage but can hunt for small prey. They become an adult through metamorphosis.
  • Adult – When they reach adulthood, the mantis will live for about twelve months. At first, they will eat insects and spiders, but eventually, they will start hunting for food.

13. Aphids

by jeans_Photos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Aphids are tiny insects that feed on plants by sucking out their sap. They cause damage to crops such as corn, beans, and tomatoes. Some species even transmit viruses that affect humans.

Aphids are often considered pests because they suck plant juices and leave behind sticky honeydew. However, some species are beneficial because they eat harmful bugs and parasites.

Lifecycle of an Aphid

The lifecycle of aphids begins with laying eggs on the undersides of leaves. These eggs then hatch into young nymphs.
Nymphs are wingless adults that resemble miniature versions of adult aphids. After about ten days, the nymphs molt into adults. Adults are winged and can fly away from the host plant.

14. Beetles

Types of Beetles in Montana
Photo by Paulo Ziemer on Unsplash

Beetles are among the different types of insects that belong to the order Coleoptera (beetle). They are found worldwide with over 300,000 species and are very diverse in size and appearance.

These insects have segmented bodies, jointed legs, antennae, wings, and elytra or scutellum. They are usually dark-colored, though some species are brightly colored.

Lifecycle of a Beetle

  • Egg – Beetle lays eggs in clusters on tree trunks, branches, and other places where they can quickly hatch. The female lays between 100 and 200 eggs per cluster and then covers them with a protective shell.
  • Larva – Beetle larvae are worm-like in appearance. They molt about ten times before entering the pupal stage.
  • Pupa – After molting, the pupal stage lasts about 30 days. The pupa changes shape and color, sheds its skin, and hardens its exoskeleton. When the time comes, the pupa emerges from its cocoon and becomes an adult.
  • Adult – Once the adult beetle emerges from its pupal case, it returns to eating and mating.

15. Bedbugs

by Mick E. Talbot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bedbugs are one of the different types of insects that feed on human blood. They live in cracks and crevices in furniture, bedding, walls, and floors.

Their bites cause severe irritation and red bumps. If left untreated, they can spread disease.

The problem has become widespread, especially in urban areas where infestations are common. Bedbug infestations are now considered a public nuisance because of their prevalence.

These insects are often found in hotels, motels, dormitories, apartments, houses, and even cars. If you suspect that you have bed bugs, contact your local pest control company immediately.

Lifecycle of a Bedbug

  • Egg – Bedbugs lay eggs in cracks and crevices of furniture and other objects where they can easily hide. These eggs hatch after approximately two weeks and begin looking for a host.
  • Nymph – The nymph stage lasts until the adult bedbug emerges. They look similar to adults except for their smaller size and lack of wings and molt several times before becoming adults.
  • Adult – Adults are larger than nymphs and have brownish-red coloration. They are nocturnal and hide during the day. Adult bedbugs feed on human blood and often leave behind feces.

16. Dragonflies

Dragonflies and Damselflies
by Guilherme Jófili is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dragonflies are fascinating creatures. They live in tropical regions and spend their lives flying around ponds or lakes, looking for food.

Dragonflies are also known as odonates because of their unique structure. Their body consists of two parts: the head and thorax.

The head contains eyes, antennae, mouthparts, and wings, and the thorax houses the abdomen and legs.

Lifecycle of a Dragonfly

  • Egg- A dragonfly’s lifecycle starts with laying eggs in water. When the eggs hatch after five weeks, larvae emerge.
  • Larva – Larvae eat algae and small aquatic animals. After a few months, the larvae become pupae.
  • Pupa – Pupae look similar to adults, except they are smaller and lack wings.
  • Adults – Adults emerge from the pupa stage after about four days. They have two pairs of wings, their bodies are covered in tiny hairs called setae, and their eyes are at the top of their heads.

17. Silkworm

Silkworms - Types of Insects That People Eat
by malfet_ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Silkworms are also one of the different types of insects. They are a type of moth that produces silk from their bodies.

The silk they produce has been used since ancient times to create clothing, bedding, and even paper.

Today, silkworms can be used to produce biofuel. In fact, China has become the largest producer of silkworms in the world.

Silkworms are essential insects because they play a vital role in agriculture.

They feed on mulberry leaves, which contain proteins and amino acids. These nutrients are then converted into silk fibers.

Lifecycle of a Silkworm

  • Egg (Ovum) – The egg is the first stage of the lifecycle of the silkworm. Female moths lay eggs in the springtime and hatch in about two weeks. They lay eggs in clusters of 10-20, each containing 1-10 eggs.
  • Larva – The larval stage lasts 4-8 weeks, depending on temperature. After hatching, larvae eat their way out of the cocoon and begin feeding on mulberry leaves.
  • Pupa – Larvae spin a cocoon around themselves to pupate. Pupation is the third stage of the lifecycle, where the larvae metamorphose into moths. Moths emerge from the cocoon after about 20 days.
  • Adult – An adult moth emerges and starts laying eggs after mating.


In summary, there are different types of insects; some live around us, while others live in fresh water and oceans.

Ensure that some of these insects are clear to prevent disease and maintain good health.

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