List of Common American Insects


Insects are small animals that live on any part of the earth with warm climates. The common characteristic of an insect is its six legs. The most common insects are found in and around places where humans also live. Most insects are considered pests, if not outright dangerous. Though they venture indoors on occasion, most types of insects live in outdoor environments the majority of the time.


  • Found buzzing around waste or garbage that is not properly disposed of, flies are dirty insects that often find their way into human homes. Maggots are the larval form of flies. House flies are part of the Diptera order of insects, which also include mosquitoes and gnats.


  • Flying insects in America that have stingers are usually seen during summertime. Bees and wasps are not averse to using their stingers on humans, which can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. These insects are often found in groups around their nests, which should generally be avoided by humans.


  • Crickets, locusts and grasshoppers are field insects that make a distinct noise by rubbing their legs together. The noise is often associated with desolate quietness, especially in rural areas of America or on stages where a bad joke was just told. While they don't necessarily fly or crawl, these insects are magnificent jumpers.


  • Though a relative of the butterfly, moths are much more numerous than their springtime counterparts. Moths are nocturnal insects that are attracted to light sources. Their wing colors are usually dull, ranging in color from brown to gray.


  • Upon emerging from a cocoon, the butterfly is the end result of a caterpillar's metamorphosis. It has brilliantly colored wings, and is often seen feeding off of the nectar of flowers. They are only seen during the day in warm months.


  • Found in and around small mounds of dirt called anthills, ants are very small insects that crawl around gathering food. For this reason, they become pests if they get into a house. Queen ants have wings, though they generally do not use them to fly. Rather than stinging, ants defend themselves by biting.


  • Small insects with dome-like shells are called beetles. Some of the most common American species are ladybugs, leaf beetles, fireflies, dung beetles, ground beetles and weevils. These insects have wings under their shells which enable them to fly through forested areas of North America.


  • A cockroach is one of the most hated of all American insects. It is akin to the rat of the insect world, scavenging food that has been improperly stored or disposed of. They have a hard upper shell that is about nine centimeters long, and they are very quick.


  • One of the most bizarre American insects is the cicada, which have large glossy wings and make a lot of noise. Some cicadas only emerge every few years, but do so in large swarms. Their exoskeletons can often be found attached to tree trunks during certain summers.

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