Insects versus bugs

Aphids are true bugs. Image from PLoS Biology, Feb. 2010

I hope everyone’s holidays went well. I spent mine travelling down and up the west coast of Florida with family. While not especially relaxing, we did do quite a few interesting things (which I am sure I shall make into a blog post later this week).

I was able to finish most of my lesson plans for our new school year that started today. Since we school year round there isn’t much of a change, but my dd did ask to start TOG year 2 over and add in more activities. Apparently, the read alouds that we were doing were not enough.

On to the title of this post. Are all insects “bugs”? It turns out that the answer is NO! These terms are not interchangeable at all; bugs are a subset of insects that have mouthparts adapted for piercing of sucking. Cicadas, aphids, and scale are all true bugs, but cockroaches and ladybugs are not bugs.

Yesterday, my dd was watching Sid the Science Kid on PBS and they referred to all sorts of insects as bugs on the show. I am happy to see that my dd turned to me confused and asked, “Mama, is Sid right? Are caterpillars bugs?” And we then had a quick discussion about what makes an insect a bug and how people confuse the two words all of the time.


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