If someone asks, "Do you have a bug?" are they asking about:
  • Your sneezing coughing cold
  • The error in your computer program
  • A crazy obsession, like for a sports team or a pop star
  • A secret listening device installed for spying
  • An itchy or restless feeling
  • The hint you put in someone's ear to give them ideas
  • Or the little insect in your hand?

Names matter. People can describe a lot of different things with the slang word "bugs" but this leads to confusion about who and what they really mean.

So many insects are colorful and harmless and beneficial to humans! They are like strange but gentle aliens who visit our world daily, and there is much to learn from them. Let's sort it out and learn how these cool creatures help to hold our world together.
child and ladybug
Most of the small life you find creeping, crawling, swimming, jumping or flying is likely to be an invertebrate (animals that have no backbone). But just because they are spineless doesn't mean they are cowards. These creatures are brave and mighty compared to much larger organisms. 97 percent of all animal life on Earth are invertebrates!
walkingstick and hand
There are different Invertebrate groups; crustaceans (like crabs and shrimp), insects (for example dragonflies and beetles), arachnids (like spiders or scorpions), worms and annelids.

"Bug" is only correct for 1 order of insects, the Hemiptera, or true bugs. This order has mouthparts built for piercing and sucking liquid food and includes aphids, cicadas, stinkbugs. Lightning bugs and Ladybugs are not true bugs (Hemiptera). Both are actually beetles, insects that have a hard wing case protecting the hind wings and tummy.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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