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
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
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
Other books that can provide more information and be useful in insect
- 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
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
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
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
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
Blister Beetles may be solid black or gray. They can also have yellow
stripes. They feed on vegetable plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans
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
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
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
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.
Original document: 6 January 2000
Last updated: 1 March 2000
Scoutcat logo courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 2000