Applied Entomology, Biology tutorial


The term Applied entomology (as well termed as economic or strategic entomology) mainly deals with the study of insects which are valuable or unfavorable to domestic animals, humans, and agricultural crops. Useful insects comprise the Apis mellifera, honey-bee that is nurtured for honey, beeswax, and pollination; the silkworm, Bombyx mori, and tussah moth that are nurtured for the extraction of silk; and lots of insect pollinators (example: honey bees, bumblebees, sweat bees, a variety of beetles and flies) for their role in the pollination of agricultural crops. Insects which are consumed as food (example: mopane worm, grasshoppers, beetle grubs and so on) are considered advantageous and the eating of insects by humans is known as entomophagy. Insect natural enemies, like parasitoids (example: parasitic wasps and flies) and predators (example: praying mantises, ladybird beetles, lacewings are helpful as they play a significant role in the control of insect pests. Asian multicolored lady beetle, Harmonia axyridis is generally termed as a valuable insect as it is a voracious predator of aphids; at times it is considered as well a pest as is acknowledged to cause damage to grapes, apples and peaches, and alongside biting, it can cause allergic reactions to the humans. An insect might be beneficial or injurious based on the conditions.

An insect is considered as a pest if it is injurious to human life, be it directly or indirectly. The species which cause indirect damage through spreading diseases are known as vectors. A few fields comprised in the applied entomology are forest entomology, agricultural entomology, medical and veterinary entomology and urban entomology. Apiculture and sericulture are as well subjects dealt within the applied entomology.

Agricultural Entomology:

Agricultural entomology mainly concerns the study of insects related by different features of agriculture. Agricultural entomology deals by the study of both valuable and detrimental insects. Beneficial insects comprise insect pollinators, like honey bees and bumble bees; those that generate different commodities like honey (example: honey bees and stingless bees), lac (example: the lac insect Kerria lacca) and silk (example: the silk moth); and natural enemies (example: parasitoids and predators) of agricultural pests. Insects which are injurious to agriculture (those which cause economic fatalities) are generally termed as insect pests. Agricultural entomology comprises manners to control the insect pests, which either cause direct harm to agricultural crops or farm animals through injecting toxins and/or feeding on them; or indirect damage by means of serving up as vectors for diseases.

The mass of agricultural entomology mainly concern with the control of insect pests. Half a century ago, specifically in the time of the green revolution, the philosophy of insect control was centered on annihilation of the insect pest, particularly via the use of determined organic pesticides like DDT. Chemical control was the major control process for numerous years; though, in the year 1962, a book entitled 'Silent Spring', written by Rachel Carson, raised concerns regarding the impact of pesticides on the atmosphere, comprising wildlife and human health. From that time then, the philosophy of insect control has switched from annihilation to maintaining insect populations beneath an economic injury level, which is, a point where the cost of controlling the pest equivalents the cost of its inflicted yield loss.

Forest Entomology:

The Forest entomology mainly concerns the study of insects and other arthropods related with forest ecosystems. It basically deals mainly by means of insect pest management, looking for to control insects which cause crown dieback or death of trees, destruction and degradation of wood, defoliation and other problems associated to the health of a forest and products of wood.

Forest entomology might comprise studies on biodiversity, biology and ecology of insects in natural or cultivated forest ecology and damage evaluation to tree structures, forest stands and wood products. Insects as well as other arthropods might influence the health of a tree by interrupting its normal growth and causing the stunted growth and ruining tree form.

Damage caused due to insects might comprise perforation of tree bark, roots and leaves that frequently become an entry route for the pathogens (that is, virus, fungi and so on); crown dieback that comprises of a substantial progressive decline in crown health, often resultant in tree death; degradation of wood quality via tunneling caused due to insect feeding; demolition of seeds and flowers; and reduction in photosynthetic activity and other physiological methods due to defoliation or injection of toxins and so on.

Medical and Veterinary Entomology:

Human health entomology or Medical entomology is the branch of entomology which mainly deals with arthropods which influence human health; veterinary entomology is that branch of entomology which basically deals by the arthropods influencing the health of nonhuman animals, specifically domesticated species. Such two disciplines are frequently joined to a single field termed as 'medical and veterinary entomology'. Medical and veterinary entomology comprises the study of insects and other arthropods, particularly arachnids and is a wide science which comprises studies on ecology, biology, morphology, taxonomy and numerous features associated to disease transmission. Medical and veterinary entomology as well comprises pest control, Parasitology and the study of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.

Arthropod-borne Diseases:

There are many human diseases which are transmitted through insects and other arthropods which carry pathogens, like flukes, bacteria, protozoa, viruses, tapeworms and round-worms, among vertebrate hosts.

Insects which carry pathogens among hosts are termed as 'vectors'. Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are the vectors of protozoans of the genus Plasmodium, which is the fundamental agents of malaria that is the most deadly arthropod-borne disease, influencing around 250 million people globally. Viruses which are transmitted via the bite of mosquitoes are generally termed as 'arboviruses'. The most generally identified arboviruses are those which cause dengue, yellow fever and some types of encephalitis.

Fleas are mainly responsible of transmitting the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, that is, the causal agent of plague.

House flies are the vectors of bacteria which mainly causes enteric diseases. For illustration: typhoid fever caused due to Salmonella typhi, cholera caused due to Vibrio cholera and many more.

Chagas Disease:

The Chagas disease, as well as termed as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness which is mainly caused due to a flagellate protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. The disease was named after the Brazilian physician Carlos R.J. Chagas who first illustrated T. cruzi and its infection in humans in the year 1909. The protozoans attack the muscle cells of the digestive tract, heart and at times the skeletal muscle of their hosts. The life cycle of T. cruzi is complex, comprising of three main developmental forms. The disease is mainly found from the southern USA to Central America and South America and is usually transmitted to humans through the infested feces of triatomine bugs, however there are other modes of transmission (example: through contact of mucosal surfaces, blood transfusion, congenitally or via organ transplant).

Urban Entomology:

Urban entomology is basically the study of insects, arachnids and other arthropods which influence people and their property in the urban environments. A few urban pests might cause direct damage to humans via stinging and biting (example: bed bugs, ants, fleas, spiders, mites, wasps and so on) might cause indirect damage through eating or tunneling their homes and furniture (example: carpenter bees, carpenter ants and termites, damaging paper products (example: silverfish, booklice, termites) and fabrics (example: carpet beetles and cloth moths) by consuming their food (example: Indian meal moths and mealworms) by means of carrying diseases (example: cockroaches and house-flies), inducing allergies (example: dust mites) by influencing human pets (example: fleas, lice and mites), by harming garden and house plants, and so on. Alike to other fields of applied entomology, urban entomology mainly aims to control the pests. Medical and veterinary entomology, insect physiology, toxicology, taxonomy and the study of pesticides and their application are some significant parts of the urban entomology.

Apiculture and Meliponiculture:

Apiculture or beekeeping is basically the cultivation of bees for the extraction of honey, bees-wax, bee-venom, propolis, pollen, royal jelly or for pollination. The nests of cultivated bees are generally termed as beehives and these are kept in the places termed as apiaries. The collection of bee honey by humans dates back as far as the Neolithic period. One of the most basic records of honey collecting comes from a rock painting, dated to 6,000 B.C., which shows a person climbing a cliff to gather honey from a bee nest. The most usually cultivated species of honey bee globally is Apis mellifera that consists of many subspecies and hybrids. A second species, Apis cerana, having its different subspecies is cultivated in numerous Asian countries. The second species is smaller in size and generates less honey, however is known to be resistant to the mite Varroa destructor that is a main pest of A. mellifera.

Alongside honey bees, stingless bees are cultivated in Australia, Africa and Latin America for the production of honey. The cultivation of stingless bees is known as Meliponiculture. Most of the species of stingless bees are generally utilized in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala and Venezuela for honey production and their use dates back to the times of the Mayan civilization.

Honey from such stingless bees is frequently employed for medicinal purposes like fertility enhancers, laxatives for the treatment of ocular cataracts and pterygium, fatigue, ulcers, gastritis, lung weakness, coughs, wounds and bruises.


The term Sericulture, as well termed as silk farming, is the cultivation of silkworms for the production of silk. Most of the species of silk moth are employed for silk extraction; however the most generally employed species is Bombyx mori, a species domesticated from the wild silk-moth, Bombyx mandarina that is distributed in northern India, Korea, China, Japan, Russia and Turkey.

The silk thread from the cocoon of B. mori can be as long as 1,000 m. The major food of B. mori is the leaves of the white mulberry Morus Alba; though, polyphagous strains as well exist which are capable to nourish on apple fruit and cabbage. Silk production by employing B. mori starts in China around 2,700 B.C.

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