Pest Glossary

by 1300PestControl on November 13, 2011

Pest Glossary

Abdomen: The last segment of an insect’s body.  The abdomen is located behind the head and the thorax and contains the insect’s stomach and reproductive system.

Alate: The name given to winged, reproductive individuals in ant or termite colonies.

Ametabolous Lifecycle: A lifecycle used by very primitive insects such as silverfish where no changes to body form occur (such as growing wings).  These insects simply grow larger through a series of moults.

Antennae: A pair of thread-like structures found on an insect’s head which help the insect sense its environment.  Insects that have an exceptional sense of smell (such as cockroaches) have very long antennae.

Arachnid: A group of Arthropods whose members all have eight legs.  Includes spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites.

Arthropod: Spiders, scorpions, insects, millipedes, centipedes and crustaceans belong to a group known as the Arthropods.  They have a hard outer exoskeleton and jointed legs, distinguishing them from other animals.

Carnivore: An animal that actively hunts, kills and consumes other animals.

Caste: A group of individuals within a colony of social insects that have their own unique appearance and role within the nest.  For example, soldier castes are usually bigger, stronger and more heavily armoured than the worker caste, enabling them to better defend the colony.

Chelicerae: The jaws or fangs of an arachnid.

Cocoon: A protective bag of silk spun by the larva.  It is inside this cocoon that the larva will transform into a pupa.

Colony: The name given to a group of social insects, living together in a communal nest or hive.

Complete Lifecycle: In this lifecycle, an individual passes through four distinct stages – the egg, larva, pupa and adult.  Newly hatched young look like grubs or caterpillars and do not resemble their parents.  Modern insects such as butterflies, beetles, bees, wasps and ants develop in this way.

Compound Eyes: A pair of visual organs made up of many small lenses that join together to form each eye.

Exoskeleton: The hard outer covering found on the bodies of all Arthropods.

Fore Wings: The first pair of wings on an insect’s body, closest to the head.

Frass: The technical name for insect poo!

Hind Wings: The second pair of wings on an insect’s body, closest to the abdomen.

Honeydew: A sweet liquid excreted from the bodies of plant-sucking insects such as aphids.

Host: The name given to the organism upon which a parasitic animal lives.  For example, the host of a flea is usually a dog or cat.

Hypostome: A hard, harpoon-like structure on the heads of ticks that helps them anchor to their host whilst feeding.

Incomplete Lifecycle: In this lifecycle, the newly hatched insect resembles the adult and simply grows wings and increases in size with each successive moult.  There is no larval or pupal stage in this kind of lifecycle.  This lifecycle is seen in more primitive insects such as stick insects, preying mantids and cockroaches.

Larva (pl. Larvae): The name given to the immature stage of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis.

Mandibles: A strong pair of jaws on an insect’s head used for biting and grinding food.

Moulting: The process by which arthropods peel off their exoskeletons in order to grow larger.  It is similar to a snake shedding its skin.

Nymph: The name given to immature individuals who undergo an incomplete lifecycle.

Ootheca: A special bag produced by some female insects that contains multiple eggs.

Opisthosoma: The end section of an arachnid’s body behind the prosoma, also known as the abdomen.

Ovipositor: A special tube at the tip of the abdomen, found only in females.  It can be used to lay eggs and is modified into a stinger in bees, wasps and ants.

Palps: A pair of appendages on the prosoma of arachnids, just behind the fangs.  They can be used in sensing touch & may be modified in males to assist in mating.

Petiole (pl. petioles): The narrow stalk that attaches a wasp nest to the substrate.

Pheromone: A chemical smell produced by insects and other arthropods which is used in communication.

Prosoma: The first body section of arachnids, also known as the cephalothorax.

Pupa (pl. Pupae): The third stage (between the larval and the adult stage) in a complete lifecycle.  During this stage the larva transforms into an adult.

Pupate: The process by which an insect changes into a pupa.

Rostrum: The sharp, needle like mouthpart of sucking insects such a bed bugs.

Setae: Slender, highly sensitive hairs or bristles on the body of an insect.

Social Insects: Insects that live together in organised groups with other members of their species.

Thorax: The middle part of an insect’s body, situated between the head and the abdomen.  The thorax contains strong muscles to operate the legs and wings which grow from this segment.

Wing Buds: The tiny pads on an insect’s thorax from which fully developed wings grow.  In wingless insects such as bed bugs, wing pads are a non-functioning, or vestigial body parts.

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