Difference Between Pest and Insect — Difference Wiki

Difference Between Pest and Insect

Main Difference

The main difference between pest and insect is that pest is a destructive creature for the crops and livestock whereas insect is a small creature which may or may not be harmful.

Pest vs. Insect

A pest is an animal or plant which has a harmful effect on humans their food or their living conditions while insects are arthropods that may or may not harm. Pests are controlled by using chemical (fungicides, nematocides, and rodenticides) and biological methods (lady beetles, fly, wasp) on the other hand insects are controlled by insecticides. Pests are always harmful to humans and their food, but in the case of insects, some insects are dangerous, but some are beneficial to humans. Pests include vertebrates, plants, and invertebrates while insects are always arthropods.

Comparison Chart

Pest Insect
Pest is a destructive insect or another animal which attacks food, crops or livestock. An insect is a small arthropod which has six legs and one or two pairs of wings.
Organization Level
Pests are vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, animals and insects Insects are arthropods
They are controlled by pesticides Insecticides used as a control factor for insects. They are also controlled by predatory and parasitic insects
Effect in Agriculture
They harm the crops by reproducing pests They are beneficial to crop production as bees play an important role in pollination
Pests are always destructive Insects may be harmful or may be beneficial
Mites, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, lice, termites Honey bee, wasp, ladybird, spider, sting bugs

What is a Pest?

Pest is a small destructive creature that usually attacks food, animals, and crops. Cockroaches, ticks, mites, bed bugs, nematodes, birds, termites, lice, mosquitoes, plants, and thrips are typical examples of pests. Pests have three classes; invertebrates include transmitters of disease (mosquito, thrips, and flies), parasites (lice and bed bugs) and damage causing pests (termites). In a garden or farm, pests can prevent the production of crops by destroying them and the results into an economic loss. Farmers use potent pesticides to control pest infestations to keep them in control. However, potent chemicals can be dangerous for the environment and human health when they get absorbed into crops. Therefore, farmers are advised to use natural pest control measures which include biological pest control, cultural practices, and traps. Pests not only damage crops but can also induce diseases in human or destroy electrical wires. Professional pest control companies use the Integra rated Pest Management Strategy for controlling pests. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy is encouraged by agricultural fields around the world because of its benefits. The program is environmentally friendly, effective and economical in pest control. It can incorporate cultural control, biological control, physical and chemical control. This strategy also improves food safety and the health of consumers.

What is an Insect?

Entomology is a branch of Zoology in which insects and their characteristics are studied. In history, it is recorded that insects exist millions of years before the emergence of humans. Insects have a significant role in the ecosystem, and one part is to keep control of the pests. Insects fall under the family of arthropods. Some insects are classified as pests because of their pests like behavior whereas some insects are classified as beneficial insects. Beneficial insects do pollination in which they spread seeds of the flowers from one plant to another plant to reproduce. In the absence of these beneficial insects, gardeners would have to pollinate plants manually, which is, of course, an expensive and time-consuming method. Honey Bees, Stink Bugs, Spiders, Ladybugs, and Wasps are examples of beneficial insects. Insects can live in all kind of environments, so that’s why present in all parts of the world. Metamorphism is a common feature present in all insects. There are two types of metamorphosis – incomplete and complete. They have exoskeletons, which consists of chitin. An infestation of insects is controlled chemically by using many kinds of insecticides. Insect pests can be controlled by other insects of parasitic or predatory nature. For example, the coccinellidae and carabidae predatory groups and the hymenoptera parasitic group are used to control insects that are also pests.

Key Differences

  1. All pests are harmful to humans whereas all insects are not dangerous; some are beneficial.
  2. Pests are killed by killing agents called pesticides whereas insects are killed by killing agents called insecticides.
  3. Some pests are insects while all insects are not pests.
  4. Classes of pests are vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and animal whereas class of insects is arthropods.
  5. Pests are harmful to crops while some insects are beneficial for plants.


The conclusion of this article is that pest is a destructive creature for the plants and livestock on the other hand insect is a small creature which may or may not be harmful. Pests are harmful to humans or their food while insects are some times harmful or sometimes beneficial for humans.

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Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master’s degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White


That Viral Photo of a “Tick Nest” Is a Hoax, According to an Entomologist

Consider this myth officially debunked.

Ticks are undoubtedly gross. They sink their mouthparts into you and feast on your blood like little vampire bugs — sometimes transmitting diseases in the process. But their inherent ick factor has people on Facebook a little too riled up about the upcoming tick season.

A viral warning is making the rounds on social media as users advise their friends and family to identify «tick nests» and destroy them when they seem them. «FYI if you come across one of these, it’s not blackberries or animal waste,» one caption reads. «It’s a TICK NEST. BURN IT. »

The only problem: The accompanying photo is very certainly not of a tick nest, says Robert B. Kimsey, Ph.D, an entomologist with the University of California, Davis specializing in ticks.

«Judging by the size of the grass in the photograph on Facebook, the eggs are definitely not tick eggs,» he says. «They’re way too big.» Snopes suspects the viral photo, which actually dates back to 2015, may actually depict frog eggs spit out by an unsuspecting predator.

Real tick eggs are so teeny-tiny, the entire batch is only as big as two adult female ticks. They also look more reddish-brown — not black like in the picture, Dr. Kimsey adds.

The odds of even finding tick eggs in the first place are super slim due to their size, so your best course of action might be leaving any potential «nests» alone. «Chances are all none of the eggs you destroy over the course of lifetime are going to be tick eggs,» Dr. Kimsey says. «They’re going to be the eggs of slugs, snails, other kinds of spider relatives, insects — all different sorts of things.»

Out of the some 5.5 million insect species on Earth, most lay eggs, he adds. The tick eggs you may think you’re destroying could belong to another species important to your local ecosystem.

If you’re really worried about ticks, protect yourself by applying insect repellent and avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, the Centers for Disease Control advises. There’s officially no need to keep matches in your pocket for this latest internet hoax.


What is the best way to get rid of fleas and ticks?

Although PETA encourages nonlethal methods of insect control whenever possible, we realize that lethal methods sometimes must be used to combat insects, just as lethal means must sometimes be used to defend ourselves against animals and humans who attack us. In the case of a flea or tick problem, while it is necessary to eliminate the insects in order to protect your companion animal from resulting problems such as flea dermatitis or tick-borne diseases once there is an infestation, the best approach is prevention.

To that end, the best long-term preventive is an insect growth regulator called Precor. This flea hormone will cause sterility in the offspring of any flea that touches it, so spray it every four months on your carpets, hardwood floors, and upholstery (but never on your animals!).

The next line of defense is a healthy coat. Fleas prefer flaking, raw, itchy skin because their role in nature is to “take out” the unhealthy animals. To produce a flea-resistant coat in your dog or cat, add flaxseed oil and calcium ascorbate powder (buffered vitamin C) to the animal’s food. B-complex vitamins are also extremely helpful to the condition of the skin. Garlic is a natural flea repellant when added to your animal’s food, and black walnut capsules given as a supplement repel fleas as well. Additionally, a diet rich in fresh, whole foods and low in processed foods and additives will also contribute to the health of your animal’s coat.

Effective flea control programs employ a multifaceted approach. Flea-combing every day is very effective and helps you to keep tabs on the flea population. It also offers immediate relief from itching. Vacuum rugs and furniture daily, if necessary, during flea season. Flea eggs can be picked up by vacuuming but can still hatch in the bag, which should be sealed and thrown away or put in the freezer after each cleaning. For a flea infestation, sprinkle carpets with diatomaceous earth (a powder composed of the fossilized remains of one-celled algae), leave it down overnight, then vacuum it up. This will kill most fleas.

Avoid chemical powders, sprays, or flea collars. These toxic products can be very dangerous—many animals and people have been poisoned or killed by them. Never overdose an animal with a product, mix products (collar, dip, powder), or use a flea control product intended for a dog on a cat, a very small dog, or any other animal.


Mites and Ticks as Vectors (With Diagram)

In this article we will discuss about the mites and ticks as vectors.

1. Mites:

Mites surpass all other Arachnids in numbers and they are very small sized Acarines. There is a great variety of body form in the Acarina, some appearing grotesque. The majority are more or less round or oval without division into head, thorax and abdomen, but some have a suture dividing the body into anterior and posterior division, though in some it may be elon­gated.

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The body is covered with tactile hairs or scales. There is no true head, but the mouth parts are borne on an anterior part, called a gnathosoma or capitulum. Eyes may be present or absent. There are two pairs of mouth parts, the chelicerae and the pedipalps or palpi.

The chelicerae consist of a movable and an immovable digit and are modified for piercing and sucking—whereas the palps usually consist of 4-6 segments, sometimes modified as a thumb-and-claw. Acarines usually consist of 4 pairs of legs, but only 1-3 pairs may be present in some species of mites. Segments of legs are like those of ticks. The anus opens on the ventral surface of the abdomen but the position of gonopore is variable.

There are usually four stages in the develop­ment (i.e. life history) of mites—egg, larva, nymph and adult. However, there are usually a single larval stage and two nymphal stages (i.e., the protonymph and deutonymph) in the life cycle of a mite. The number of nymphal genera­tion may be less or more in some species of mites.

Many mites are free living, some are predaceous and many are parasitic on other animals during all or part of their life cycle. Some of these rank among the most important disease vectors and some act as intermediate hosts of Protozoans or Helminths.

General Idea about Mites as Vectors:

There are some species of mites which are important from the stand point of veterinary science as they cause transmission of several diseases. There are also few species of mites which help in the transmission of human diseases including allergy.

The important vector species of mites will be discussed:

1. Redbugs or Chigger mites:

There is probably no creature on earth that can cause more tor­ment for its size than a red bug. In the Far East some species of Redbugs add injury to insult by transmitting a disease, scrub typhus. These mites are also suspected on epidemiological grounds of transmitting epi­demic haemorrhagic fever. In Siberia, Korea, Manchuria scrub typhus is a viral disease which causes fever, kidney damage etc. and is fatal in 5% of cases.

The red bugs are the six-legged larvae of mites of the family Trombiculidae under order Prostimata, comprise a group of mites which are parasitic to human beings only at their larval stage. The nymphs and adults are free living, feeding on insect eggs or minute insect larvae. The important chigger mite, Trombicula akamushi is responsible for causing scrub typhus to human beings but T. pelkini, T. goldii, T. wichtnanni etc. create human dermatitis.

The larval mite acts as the vector in carrying the pathogen, Rickettsia tsutsugamushi causing scrub typhus. They transmit the pathogen from small mammals to human beings (hosts). The larval mites receive the pathogens by means of transovarian transmission from the mother.

Now the larvae penetrate the epidermis by means of mouth parts and introduce the salivary secretion containing the pathogen into the host. The Escher is the primary lesion which appears just at the point of red-bug bite.

It is characterised by headache, apathy, fever, lymph adenitis, general malaise, enlarged spleen, deafness, nervous turbances etc. The Escher enlarges and becomes necrotic in the centre and red rashes appear on the trunk that may spread to extremities.

2. Itch and Eczema creating mites (Sarcoptes scabiei):

The minute rounded or oval, short legged, flattened mites of the family Sarcoptidae under the suborder Sarcoptiformes are the cause of scabies or “itch” in man. This mite creates eczema and unbearable itches leading to mange of man.

The cuticle of the mite is delicately sculptured, number of bristles is few, eyes and trachea are absent. Capitulum is well developed. The legs are short and stumpy and are provided with sucker like adhesive pads (Fig. 15.9 and 15.10).

When the female mite, comes in contact with the hands or feet of human, it excavates thin tor­tuous tunnels in the epidermis. The tunnel mea­sures a few mm to over an inch in length and is usually gray from the eggs and excrement deposited by the female as she burrows. The daily excavations of a mite is about 2-3 mm.

The life span of a mite is about 4 weeks and the young impregnated females make fresh excavations of their own and the process goes on. As a result the tissues below the epidermis are destroyed and finally itching begins. The itching is so severe that the patient cannot sleep at night and sometimes the infection becomes unbearable.

Repeated infec­tion of itching turns into eczema. Sarcoptes scabiei generally invades the skin of the wrist though external genetalia, breasts, legs, thorax and other organs may be attacked by this mite.

3. The Tropical rat mite:

The tropical rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti (formerly Liponyssus or Bdellonyssus) are important parasites of birds and rodents and are concerned in transmission of certain rickettsial and viral diseases. They have relatively narrow dorsal shields and che­licerae that end in pincers in both sexes.

They act as vectors of Q. fever by transmitting the pathogen, Coxiella bumetti. The blood sucking protonymph is the infective stage of the dis­ease. This tropical rat mite plays a minor role in transmission among reservoir hosts, and occasionally to human beings, of endemic typhus, rickettsialpox, Q. fever, plague, etc. and it also acts as the intermediate host of the filaria of cotton rats, Liptomosoides.

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2. Ticks:

Ticks are large mites with leathery skin and in general ticks are parasites of animals. All of them feed on vertebrate blood. Most species have a long life span, may be 5 years or more. The reproduc­tive potential is high. Some species may deposit as many as 18,000 eggs (Fig. 15.11).

The body of tick is segmented and is divisible into two regions—the capitulum and the body proper. Capitulum is not the true head though it is commonly referred to as such. The capitulum is movable having rostrum enclosing toothed cheli­cerae and toothed hypostome. A pair of pelpi or pedipalpi arise from the anteroventral margin of the capitulum. There are 4 pairs of prominent, slender 6-jointed legs with two claws and pad.

On the basis of the difference present in body proper, they are broadly classified into two groups as soft ticks and hard ticks. Soft ticks belong to the family Argasidae while those belong to the family Ixodidae are known as hard ticks.

The basic characters of soft and hard ticks are more or less same but there are many distinguishing features which are tabulated below:

Role of Ticks as Transmitters of Disease:

Ticks play an important role as vectors of disease to domestic animals and to somewhat less extent to man.

They transmit six principal types of orga­nisms of diseases, as:

(i) Spirochaetes of relapsing fever,

(ii) Rickettsias of spotted fever;

(iv) Pasteurella tularensis, the bacterium of tularemia,

(v) Anaplasma and

(vi) Filtrable virus and encephalomyelitis virus.

Many soft and hard ticks harbour and trans­mit a bacilli of the genus Salmonella which cause para-typhoid like disease in rodents. Species of Ornithodoros can also harbour and transmit Leptospiras. One of the most dreaded tick of this genus is O. moubata which is the vector for Spirochaeta duttoni, the pathogen that causes African relapsing fever. The infection is trans­mitted by the bite of both male and female ticks during all their active stages.

The attack of relap­sing fever in human takes place from 5 to 10 days after the tick has bitten. O. moubata appears to be essentially a parasite of human being. It is a man- to tick-to man vector of relapsing fever. Once the Spirochaeta duttoni, the pathogens are ingested by the ticks, they penetrate the stomach wall to reach the body cavity where they multiply. Then the pathogens invade the salivary and coxal glands of the ticks.

The pathogens are transmitted to the man by both the sexes of ticks. Infection starts by the injection into the host’s skin of the Spirochaetes (pathogens) along with the saliva and coxal fluid of the ticks. Once infected, the ticks remain so, and the infection may be transmitted from generation to generation.

In addition to Rocky mountain fever, the tick Dermacentor andersoni also acts as the vector for several human diseases like Indian tick typhus, Colorado tick fever, Tick paralysis, Powassan encephalites etc. In Rocky mountain fever the infection is acquired from the reservoir animals by a feeding tick, Dermacentor andersoni in any stage of its life history and is passed on from stage to stage.

For example the pathogen, Rickettsia rickettsii infected blood is ingested by the larva, the infec­tion is transferred into nymph and then to the adult which in turn may infect. It has been repor­ted that some infected adult females will pass the pathogen through their eggs to the larvae of the next generation. The pathogen of this Rocky mountain fever is transferred to the host through saliva of the tick while biting.

Control of Ticks and Mites:

In general ticks and mites can be controlled by the following methods:

A. General control:

It is of three kinds:

1. Insecticidal control:

The ticks and mites can be destroyed by dusting or spraying of insecticides like malathion, lindane, chlorodane at rates of 0.5-1 kg per acre.

2. Environmental protection:

Before plan­ning a control programme a thorough knowledge of the habit and habitats of ticks and mites must be gained. Animal hosts should be destroyed. The cracks and crevices in the field particularly near buildings should be reduced by filling.

3. Protection of workers:

Workers should be encouraged to wear protective cloth­ing impregnated with an insect repellent, like benzyl benzoate, indalone or diethyltoluamide etc.

B. Specific control:

1. Chigger mite infestations in gardens, lawns and general premises can be utter­ly destroyed by applying suitable chemi­cals (chlorodane, toxaphen or lindane) either by a spraying method or by a dus­ting process to the infested areas.

2. Reproduction of rodents should be avoided.

3. Old tree snags in vicinity which may har­bour nesting squirrels and chipmunks should not be encouraged.

C. Personal control:

1. To avoid the infected person and making arrangement for proper treatment.

2. Avoid sleeping in the same bed with the infected person.


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