Click here to jump to main part of page University of Kentucky
Integrated Pest Management
Return to Kentucky IPM home page
Header: (Hot Topics)
What's New
Weekly Newsletters
Weather/Day Degree Models
Pheromone Trap Data
Header: (For More Info...)
ScoutInfo Online
IPM in Kentucky
Crop Profiles
Manuals and FactSheets
Apple IPM
For the Homeowner
Header: (Resources to Use)
Test Your Scout Skills
Teaching Resources
County Agent Resources

A Teacher's Guide

Developed by Patricia L. Lucas, IPM Specialist
Kentucky IPM Program, University of Kentucky

This material is provided by the Kentucky Integrated Pest Management Program


Bug-go is designed to help the players learn to identify some insects while learning which insects are beneficial and interesting facts about others. The game should be played similar to the game bingo. To play you will need the Bug-go Player Game Cards, Insect Line Drawings (Flash Cards), and the following Insect Information Sheets which can be downloaded and printed. The flash cards are line drawings of the insects which can be printed and made into flash cards or overheads to help the players recognize them. You will also need small pieces of paper, pennies or other objects to give the players to cover an insect if it should be called and is present on their cards. Small prizes also make the game more exciting.

The following pages contain a list with information about each of the insects on the Bug-go cards. The list can be cut apart and placed in a box or large envelope for drawing the insects. Play the game by drawing a slip of paper with the insect name and information from the box. Depending on the age of the players, you may also want to show a picture of the insect (flash card). If an insect is present on a player's card, he or she covers the insect with a token or marker. Players win when they have "bug-go," that is when they have covered all the insects in a row either vertically or horizontally.

Much of the information provided on the following pages was taken from University of Kentucky Department of Entomology Extension Publications. These publications are available at the UK Department of Entomology web page: ( Other books that can provide more information and be useful in insect identification include:

American Nature Guide's Insects by George C. McGavin
Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects by Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Jr. and Dr. Richard L. Jacques, Jr.
Rodale's Color Handbook of Garden Insects by Anna Carr
A Golden Guide to Insects by Herbert S. Zim and Clarence Cottam
National Audubon Society First Field Guide Insects by Christina Wilsdon.

Insect Information Sheets

Bumble Bee - (Order - Hymenoptera) Bumble bees are larger than most bees. They have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings. They are very important pollinators. An elongated mouth-part enables them to pollinate red clover, which no other bee can. Bumble bees usually build their nests underground. During the winter, the queen survives alone in the nest and starts a new colony in the Spring. Bees can be easily distinguished from wasps by the pollen baskets on their legs and their hairy bodies.

Flea - (Order - Siphonaptera) Fleas are pests of dogs, cats, and livestock. With their piercing, sucking mouth parts, they will bite humans, too. The large hind legs are good for hopping on and off their animal meal. Their legs which can jump relatively long distances, are good for changing hosts, and the comblike appendages help the insects resist being brushed out of hair. Because their bodies are flattened, they can move easily between the animal's hairs.

Adult fleas lay all of their eggs (up to 50 per day) on pets or other animals. The immatures or larvae are very tiny wormlike creatures, and can be present on fabric, carpet, or outdoors. Fleas generally do not prefer humans, however they may try to feed on humans if they have been starved for a long period of time. Fleas have also been known to carry diseases such as black plague (from fleas that usually infest rats), although there is not a lot of risk of those diseases in the United States at this time.

Chigger -(Arachnid)) Chiggers are the larvae of a family of mites that are sometimes called red bugs. The adults are large, red mites often seen running over pavement and lawns. Chiggers are extremely small (0.5 mm) and are difficult to see without magnification. Adult chiggers have eight legs like spiders and other Arachinds. The six-legged larvae are hairy and yellow-orange or light red. They are usually found outdoors in low, damp places where vegetation is rank and grass and weeds are overgrown. Some species also infest drier areas, however, making it difficult to predict where an infestation will occur.

Chiggers overwinter as adults in the soil, becoming active in the spring. Eggs are laid on the soil. After hatching, the larvae crawl about until they locate and attach to a suitable host. The larvae do not burrow into the skin, but inject a salivary fluid which produces a hardened, raised area around them. Body fluids from the host are withdrawn through a feeding tube. Larvae feed for about 4 days and then drop off and molt to nonparasitic nymphs and adults. Chiggers feed on a variety of wild and domestic animals, as well as humans. The life cycle (from egg to egg) is completed in about 50 days. Most people react to chigger bites by developing reddish welts within 24 hours. Intense itching accompanies the welts, which may persist for a week or longer if not treated. Bites commonly occur around the ankles, waistline, armpits, or other areas where clothing fits tightly against the skin. Besides causing intense itching, chigger bites that are scratched may result in infection and sometimes fever. Chiggers in North America are not known to transmit disease.

Regular mowing and removal of weeds and brush make areas less suitable for chiggers and their wild hosts. (Information from University of Kentucky ENT- 58 Invisible Itches by Dr. M. Potter.)

Velvet Ant - (Order - Hymenoptera) The velvet ant is actually a medium-sized wasp that is often found in lawns or pastures. These solitary wasps, as the name implies, are densely covered with hair. Males have wings, but females are wingless, and are sometimes confused with ants. Ants, however, have elbowed antennae, and a "hump" in the constriction between the thorax and abdomen. Velvet ants are either shades of brown or red and black, and females will sting if encountered. These wasps are sometimes called "cow killers" because their sting is so painful that is seems powerful enough to kill a cow! Velvet Ants are parasites of other wasps and bees that develop in soil, or paper or wood nests. The female velvet ant will enter a nest, kill the owner by stinging her, and lay her eggs on the owners' larvae in the nest cells. The velvet ant egg will hatch into a larva and feed on the other (host) larvae.

Millipede - (Class -Diplopoda, not Insecta) Millipedes cannot hurt people. They do look similar to centipedes (their sometimes dangerous relatives), but with two big differences: millipedes have chewing mouthparts and they have two pairs of legs for each body segment (centipedes have only one pair of legs per segment). You should be careful if you choose to handle a centipede as their bite can be painful.

Millipedes are scavengers, feeding on either living or decaying plant parts near the forest floor. Many species are able to give off a foul smelling fluid that is toxic to insects, but won't do any damage to humans.

Dragonfly- (Order - Odonata) Dragonflies are some of the largest insects. They are beneficial insects--predators of smaller insects such as mosquitoes and crop pests. Dragonflies knew about fast food long before humans: they hold their prey in their legs and munch while flying. Zipping along at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, dragonflies are often found near and over ponds or streams.

The immature stage of this insect lives underwater in streams and lakes and feeds on aquatic insects and other arthropods. Immatures of some of the larger species even feed on small fish. The aquatic stage can't hurt humans either.

Despite old folktales that claim they sew up your ears or your lips, they do not attack humans. If you happen to catch one (good luck!) and are holding onto it, it might pinch, but it can't break the skin.

Cockroaches - (Order - Blattodea) Cockroaches have been hated and feared for centuries. However, they do not have any biting or stinging ability. While historically they have been associated with dirty conditions, they can be found in any type of structure. Because cockroaches can be found in filthy areas as well as clean areas, they pose a threat to human health by carrying disease-causing bacteria onto surfaces or into food in the home when they move from one place to another. Roaches like to live in rooms of the home that have high humidity such as the bathroom and especially the kitchen where food crumbs maybe present. Roaches usually stay hidden during the day and come out at night in search of food. People may also develop increasingly severe allergies to cockroaches themselves with continued exposure.

Praying Mantis- (Order - Mantodea) Praying mantises are predators of several crop and garden pests. Although they look quite menacing, they do not have the ability to hurt humans. In fact, they may make good pets as long as they are well fed with smaller, soft-bodied insects, and water is available. Otherwise, they are best left in a garden, working at keeping pests away. Adult mantises and the nymphs will feed on aphids, beetles, bees, butterflies and even each other! Their excellent hunting ability may be helped by the fact that Praying mantises unlike other insects can turn their heads 180 degrees.

In the Fall, you can find their egg casing glued to sticks and sometimes on the sides of buildings. In the Spring, the eggs will hatch releasing the new baby praying mantises.

Lacewing - (Order - Neuroptera) Lacewings are interesting-looking insects which, as adults and larvae, are considered beneficial because they are predators of pest insects. Both adults and larvae will eat aphids, thrips and mites. Green lacewings are very common and can be found in most types of vegetation. They have large metallic yellow eyes and pale green iridescent wings. Lacewing eggs are laid at the end of very slender stalks, which makes them very easy to distinguish. They will not hurt humans. However when touched, they may release an unpleasant odor.

Walking stick - (Order - Orthoptera) Walking sticks are well named. That's exactly what they look like! They can be brown or dark green and are easily camouflaged in trees and on other plants. They are plant feeders, and have no ability to hurt humans. They make great pets. Be sure to provide them with plenty of plant material that they will eat. Don't worry if your walking stick should loose a leg, he can grow a new one!

Grasshopper - (Order - Orthoptera) Grasshoppers are grass feeders that normally want nothing to do with humans. When handled, they may regurgitate a brown liquid as a scare tactic, and may pinch with their mandibles (jaws), but their jaws are not strong enough to do any damage. Other than that, they do not pose a threat but can cause damage to vegetable and field crops. Grasshoppers can usually be found feeding on the leaves and stems of plants during the day. In the fall, most grasshoppers lay their eggs in the soil. The eggs will hatch in the spring and nymphs immediately start feeding on plants.

The large back legs of the grasshopper are great for jumping and traveling. Grasshopper populations can grow to large numbers and can move long distances.

Japanese Beetle - (Order - Coleoptera) The Japanese beetle is often confused with the larger June beetle. Japanese beetles are metallic blue-green with copper colored wing covers. They can be identified by the tufts of white hair along their abdomen. These tufts of hair are not present on the June beetle.

Japanese beetles were imported into the United States in 1913. The adult beetles and the grubs (an immature beetle found in the soil) are pests. Adults feed on almost everything from roses to fruit trees to soybeans. The immature stage or grubs can be in the soil feeding on plant roots.

May beetles, June beetles and Japanese beetles belong to a very closely related group of beetles called scarabs. People in Egypt thought scarabs were good luck. Beetles may fly into and land on people. They can't hurt humans, although if you catch them and won't let them get away, they may give a slight pinch.

Cicada - (Order - Hemiptera) Cicadas are large, distinctive creatures that are common in late summer and make very loud, unnerving noises, especially when disturbed. They do not feed as adults, and other than making noise, will not bother people.

Cicadas lay their eggs in twigs or small branches of trees and shrubs. Once hatched the nymphs will drop to the ground and burrow into the soil. There they will molt several times before coming above the ground for their final molt. You can often find the skin of the final molt of the cicada attached to a tree or building. The two most common types of cicadas are the dogday cicadas which has a two or four year life cycle and the periodical cicadas that have either a 13 or 17 year life cycle.

Centipede -( Class - Chilopoda, not Insecta) Centipedes are not actually insects but are closely related to insects. They have long flattened bodies, with at least 15 pairs of legs, and fangs, which can inflict a painful bite.

Centipedes can be distinguished from the similar but harmless millipedes by having fangs (instead of chewing mouthparts), and one pair of legs per body segment (versus two pairs of legs per body segment in millipedes).

Swallowtail butterfly - (Order - Lepidoptera) Swallowtail butterflies can often be easily recognized by the small tails at the tips of their back wings. The Giant Swallowtail, which is black with a yellow markings, is the largest butterfly in the United States and Canada. There are over 500 species of the swallowtail worldwide.

Butterflies and moths are very beautiful and graceful creatures. When caught, they will probably put up a fight by fluttering their wings, which can be unnerving but isn't harmful. If a butterfly lands on a person, it is possible that it just wants a sip of sweat, which contains salts that butterflies need. Their mouthparts are only modified to suck nectar and other liquids, and they will not bite or sting.

Tick - (Class -Arachnida, not Insecta) Ticks are insect relatives, note that they have 4 pairs of legs. They can be found in wooded areas, or fields with tall grass. Ticks are very small, and many are hard to see. Ticks spend their time waiting for a mammal, such as a dog, deer or yourself to pass close enough for them to hitch a ride. Once on board, the female tick bites and buries her head in the flesh; they swell up with the blood of the host. When entering an area that may be infested with ticks, the best way to keep from getting bitten is to tuck pant legs into socks, and to wear loose-fitting clothing. Ticks are dangerous because of the diseases (Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc.) they may carry. Ticks often do not attach immediately, but walk around over the skin until they come to a tight place, such as around the waist or wherever clothing is tight on the body. Check yourself or have someone else check you for ticks as often as you can, so you can remove them before they bite. If a tick does attach to the skin, do not try to pull it off with your fingers, because the mouthparts may break off underneath the skin. It is better to use a clean pair of tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the front of the head as possible, to pull the tick off with its mouthparts intact. For more information see Entfact 618, Ticks and Disease.

Blister Beetle -(Order - Coleoptera). The name Blister Beetle come from the fact that this beetle's blood contains a substance called cantharadin which will cause blisters if it comes in contact with skin or is swallowed. You should always wear gloves if removing blister beetles from a plant by hand. They can be especially harmful, even fatal, if eaten by livestock.

Blister Beetles may be solid black or gray. They can also have yellow stripes. They feed on vegetable plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans and peppers.

The female adult blister beetle lays her eggs in the ground. Once hatched the larvae will feed on the eggs of grasshoppers and bees.

Mosquito - (Order - Diptera) Mosquitoes are very well-known human pests. Only the females bite; they need blood to reproduce. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar. What actually itches when mosquitoes bite is the saliva that is injected while the mosquito inserts her mouthparts under the skin. In other parts of the world, mosquitos are a major problem because they spread diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Mosquitoes are found most frequently near water, although they can travel a fair distance looking for hosts. Besides lakes and streams, mosquitoes breed in any pool of water, such as bird feeders, puddles and old tires.

Mosquitoes are eaten by birds, fish and dragonflies.

Stinkbug - (Order- Hemiptera) Stink bugs are truly stinky. As a defense mechanism, they will secrete a fluid with a foul odor. This insect has stink glands on its underside. Stink bugs are harmless but do cause considerable damage to flowers, trees and crops. With their piercing- sucking mouth parts, they suck liquid from plants. Some species however do feed on other insects such as beetles and caterpillars.

The body of the stink bug is shaped like a shield with a small head. The stink bug's head has antennae with five segments.

Damselfly - (Order - Odonata) Damselflies may often be mistaken for their larger relatives, dragonflies. Both of these insects are often found near water since they both lay their eggs in water and feed on aquatic insects. However, Damselflies are poor fliers compared to the Dragonfly. Damselflies also rest with their wings folded together above their body.

Termites - (Order - Isoptera) A colony of termites will include wingless workers, soldiers that have large heads and powerful jaws and reproductives, the queen and king. Hints to helping identify termites are that termites are virtually the same width from end to end and have straight antennae. If wings are present, they will have four wings of equal size and length.

To create new colonies, in the spring, winged males and females swarm from the colony. Termites are famous for the damage they can do to wood structures. The protozoa living in their digestive tract enables them to eat wood. Termites live in the soil and build tunnels to the wood above.

Water strider - (Order - Hemiptera) The water strider actually walks on water. This insect has two short front legs that are used for grasping prey. The longer middle and hind legs allow them to use the surface tension of the water as means of staying above the water. The water strider feeds on smaller insects and in turn, it is a food for fish and birds.

Leaf-footed Bug - (Order - Hemiptera) This insect's name may come from the shape of its back legs. The adults and nymphs can be found feeding on the foliage and fruits of plants such as peaches, beans, tomatoes and potatoes. When captured or threatened they will release an odor that helps protect them from their enemies. The leaf-footed bug is sometimes called a squash bug. The true squash bug however does not have the flattened leaf shaped legs and is a major pest of curcurbits such as cucumbers, squash and pumpkins. .

Bedbug - ( Order - Hemiptera) You don't want a bedbug in your bed! These oval-shaped insects want to suck your blood. Active only at night, both the males and females will bite, piercing the skin and injecting their saliva. The saliva will cause the bite to itch and/or swell. Once they are full of your blood, which takes only a few minutes, the bedbug crawls away to hide. Bedbugs not only feed on humans but also birds and other mammals. Bedbugs like many other insects can produce an odor that once you smell it, you will remember it.

Ground Beetle - (Order- Coleoptera) Where would you find a ground beetle? Running along the ground, of course. Ground beetles hide during the day under leaves, logs or stones and come out at night to feed. There are hundred of species of ground beetles and they are of many different shapes, sizes and colors. Many ground beetles feed on other insects and are considered beneficial insects. Most of the ground beetles are flattened and will have grooves or small holes running down the hard front wing covers. You will have to look quickly to see the ground beetles as they are fast runners.

Weevil - (Order - Coleoptera) Weevils are easily recognized by their snouts. The snouts are an elongated portion of the weevil's head and his mouth is located at the tip of the snout. Weevils have a chewing mouth. The long snout allows weevils to puncture and feed beneath the surface of fruit. They also feed on leaves. The most famous weevil is probably the boll weevil which is a major pest of cotton. All weevils belong to the order of beetles.

House fly - (Order - Diptera) The House Fly and its relatives make up a very large and very diverse family of insects (Muscidae). The house fly is not only a pest but can spread diseases such as typhoid fever. Flies love to share your food. Since the house fly can only feed on liquids, it first salivates on the solid food then sucks up the food with its sponge-like mouth parts. It is difficult to swat the house fly because it can fly up to 30 miles per hour and can react to movement five times faster than we can.

Flies are generally associated with being around garbage. This may be because they like to lay their eggs in rotting organic matter. If you look closely at rotting material you may see the larval stage of the fly, also called a maggot.

Syrphid fly - (Order - Diptera) The syrphid fly is also called the Flower fly. You may be able to recognize this insect on your card by the three large bands across its abdomen followed by smaller incomplete bands. The adult syrphid fly is metallic green with yellow abdominal bands. They are great fliers and can dart about quickly and stop on a dime. They are also often seen hovering in mid air. Adults can frequently be found around flowers feeding on pollen and nectar. The syrphid fly will not sting or harm humans. In fact, the larva stage of this insect is of great value in pest control. The larva look like a small blob, similar to a slug, and feeds on aphids, ants, and immature termites.

Colorado potato beetle - (Order - Coleoptera) The Colorado potato beetle has an oval- shaped body which is yellow with black stripes on the wing covers. There are dark dots just behind the head. The adult and larval stages of this insect feed on potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Potato beetle eggs are laid on the underside of leaves and resemble tiny orange footballs. The larva stage looks very different from the adult. They look like a small orange hump with a black head and legs. There are two rows of black spots on each side of the hump.

The adult beetles spend the winter in the soil and can be a major pest in a home garden.

Grub - (Order - Coleoptera) A grub is the larval stage of a beetle. The life cycle of beetles is complete metamorphosis - egg, larva, pupa and adult. Beetles lay their eggs which hatch into a larva called a grub. Looking like plump worms, grubs will have a visible head and three pairs of legs. The grub on your card resembles the larval stage of a June Beetle.

Carpenter Ant - (Order - Hymenoptera) Where do carpenter ants build their nests? In wood, of course. The carpenter ant builds a nest by hollowing out wood from dead trees, stumps or even an old house. The carpenter ant is about twice the size of the black ant. They also live in colonies complete with workers (all females), a few males and a queen. The queen, who is much bigger than a worker, produces all the young and can live for as long as 25 years.

Carpenter ants feed on other insects and are attracted to sweets. They do bite but cannot sting. Do not confuse this ant with a termite. Ants have a thin waist and have elbowed antennae.

Saturniid Moth - (Order - Lepidoptera) Saturniid moths are large with thick bodies. Their wings are often colorful and strikingly marked. They are members of the family Saturniidae. The saturniid moth on your card is the Polyphemus moth. It has an eyespot marking on each wing. The adult moth is reddish brown and can be found in wooded areas.

Adult saturniid moths have non-functioning mouth parts and do not feed. The caterpillar stage feeds on trees and shrubs. Caterpillars of the Saturniidae family may burrow into the ground and form a pupa while others spin silk cocoons. The silk from the cocoons of some species is used commercially.

Convergent Lady Beetle - (Order - Coleoptera) Lady beetles are also called Ladybugs and their correct name is Ladybird beetle. The name can be traced to the middle ages when these beetles were dedicated to Our Lady the Virgin Mary.

The ladybug on your card is the convergent lady beetle. Its hard front wings (elytra) are red with 12 spots, 6 on each. There are several other species of lady beetles present in Kentucky. They can be white, yellow, pink, orange, red or black, and usually have spots.

The ladybug is widely used in biological pest control. Ladybug adults and larvae feed on the eggs of other insects and soft-bodied insects such as aphids, scales, whiteflies and caterpillars. Larvae do not resemble the adult ladybug. They look similar to tiny black alligators and are spiny, with bright spots. Although they look dangerous, ladybug larvae, like the adults, are harmless to humans. Their defense mechanism against predators is to secrete an odorous, distasteful fluid out of their joints when disturbed.

Scout Cat - (Family - Felidae, Species -Felis spectator) This shy but ferocious cat can be found throughout Kentucky. You will most likely find him in a field checking for weed, insect and disease problems on crops. You will recognize him by the sweep net he carries to use in taking insect counts and a hand-lens to help him identify diseases and weeds. The letters IPM will also appear on his shirt. He is the official mascot of the Kentucky Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program. The IPM program provides educational training and information to all Kentuckians so that they can make a wise decision when deciding if they need to use a pesticide.

Please feel free to copy and distribute any of this material for your own personal use or for use in the classroom, but please give credit to the author and the Kentucky Integrated Pest Management Program. This material is not available for commercial use.

Kentucky IPM

Original document: 6 January 2000
Last updated: 1 March 2000

Scoutcat logo courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 2000

[Home][What's New][Weekly Newsletters][Weather/DD Models][Pheromone Trap Counts][ScoutInfo Online]
[IPM in KY][Crop Profiles][Manuals & FactSheets][Apple IPM][For the Homeowner] [Test Your Scout Skills]
[Teaching Resources][Co. Agent Resources]