What Do Entomologists Do

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Entomologists specialize in the study of insects, including the way that insects interact with their environments and other animals. Entomology is a branch of Biology and provides more insight into ecology and evolution.

Becoming an Entomologist allows you to help contribute to the scientific knowledge of insect species. You may find ways to conserve or stop the spread of insect species. You may also help restore disturbed ecosystems, protect livestock from pests, or clean up contaminated sites.

There are many types of Entomologists working in a variety of industries including agriculture, healthcare, and veterinary services. Some Entomologists even work as forensic experts and help solve murders.



Entomologists

Entomologists study how insects interact with their environment. They use their research to help manage pests in agriculture and residential, commercial, or industrial settings.

Salary: $72400
Education: Bachelor's degree
Personality: The Thinker

What they do

Entomologists study how insects interact with their environment. They use their research to help manage pests in agriculture and residential, commercial, or industrial settings.

Developing methods for preventing the spread of destructive insects

Entomologists are often employed by government agencies to help control the spread of destructive insect species. As with invasive plant species, invasive insects may alter ecosystems and destroy native species.

To develop methods for preventing the spread of harmful or invasive insects, Entomologists may conduct research. This often includes field and lab tests to explore ways of limiting the spread of the insect.

In the field, Entomologists may collect field specimens and samples of air, water, soil, and other materials. They then analyze the specimens in a lab setting and may use computer software to create various prediction models for insect populations based on multiple factors. The data that Entomologists gather may help researchers from other disciplines develop more effective pesticides and other pest control methods.

Investigating the role of insects in the environment

Entomologists who work for universities, agriculture companies, and conservation organizations often spend time investigating the role of insects in various environments. For example, an Entomologist may research the impact of an insect species on crop yields or the presence of insect-related plant diseases.

Companies, research firms, and universities use the data collected by Entomologists to develop better products for pest control. The insight provided by Entomologists may also uncover the beneficial or negative impact of insects on habitats, which can impact development plans or conservation efforts.

Discover and categorize new species of insects

About 7000 new insect species are discovered each year, mostly thanks to the work of Entomologists. Entomologists may visit remote regions in the hopes of discovering new species or may accidentally come across new species during their fieldwork.

After discovering a new species, Entomologists must categorize it. There are over one million species of insects and the classification system is complex. As with other animals, insects are classified using a hierarchical system that includes the order, family, genus, and species.

Discovering new species involves the collection and management of field specimens. Entomologists must store the insects for analysis in a lab.

Curating insect collections at museums

Entomologists employed at museums may curate the insect collections. As with other museum curators, they are responsible for acquiring and maintaining collections for different exhibits.

Along with curating the collection, the Entomologist may develop educational programs for the public. This may include special programs for school field trips to help students learn more about various groups of insects.

Specialize in the study of one kind of insect

Many Entomologists specialize in specific types of insects. For example, you may choose to specialize in the study of beetles (coleopterology), flies (dipterology), or ants (myrmecology). There are dozens of specializations in this field.

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What is it like working as one

Pros

You get to travel to new locations and explore remote areas

Entomologists often travel to various locations to conduct field research. This gives you the chance to spend time outdoors and explore areas that humans rarely visit.

It provides a unique experience that other careers cannot match

Working as an Entomologist is a unique career choice that can provide endless topics of conversation. You get to spend your career looking at insects.

You may protect people or animals against insect-borne diseases

The West Nile virus and other harmful illnesses are often spread through insect bites. As an Entomologist, you may get to help prevent the spread of insect diseases.

You get to discover and classify new species of insects

Entomologists have the chance to discover species that no one has ever seen before. You may be the first person to lay eyes on a new insect species.

Cons

Many people remain unaware of the value of Entomologists

Most people think of Entomologists as people who discover new bugs, leading to an underappreciation of the work you perform. However, Entomologists play a vital role in helping prevent diseases and protect crops.

Some insects and environments are potentially harmful

Entomologists occasionally need to travel to remote sites that may pose potential safety risks. You may also interact with potentially harmful, even deadly, insects.


Where they work

Agricultural Companies
Veterinary Clinics
Universities
Museums


Forensic Departments
Public Health Agencies

Entomologists are employed in a variety of industries, with the Food and Agriculture industry providing the largest employment opportunities. Entomologists may also work for veterinary clinics to help protect livestock or wildlife from insect pests and diseases.

Entomologists who work in the medical industry help research ways of preventing the spread of insect-borne diseases. Universities and museums hire Entomologists to study, curate, and classify insect species. They help discover new species and understand the role of insects.

Entomologists employed in forensic departments for law enforcement agencies study insects to help establish the timeline or location of a crime.

How to become one

Step 1: Take science classes in high school

High school students should try to complete the highest level of science available at their schools. Most states require two to three years of science. Taking science each year may look better on a college application.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Entomology

A Bachelor’s Degree is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level Entomologist positions. Most Entomologists major in Entomology. However, some employers may accept related degrees in the Biological Sciences. After graduation, you should be able to seek entry-level positions or a paid internship.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is the largest association for Entomologists, providing resources and networking opportunities for Entomologists. You may also obtain the Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) certification through the ESA, which may improve your career prospects.

Step 4: Earn a Master’s Degree

Many Entomology positions will require a graduate degree. If you want to advance in your career, consider pursuing a Master’s Degree in Entomology or specialized subfield.

Should you become one

Entomologists are often inquisitive individuals as they are constantly researching and discovering new things. It also helps to be patient as you may need to spend hours in remote locations collecting field samples.

Entomologists also require strong organizational skills and attention to detail due to the complex nature of this work. You may need to manage your own time and work without any supervision.

Take this quiz to see if being an Entomologist is the right career for you.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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