How to identify insect larvae nests

Written by corey morris
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How to identify insect larvae nests
Identifying insect larvae nests is made easy with a field guide. (akova/iStock/Getty Images)

There are hundreds of thousands of types of insects in just about any area of the world. Sometimes, an interesting or unknown larvae may be found that is not easily identifiable. The process of identifying insects involves collecting information on an insect or an insect nest to identify them. Carry an insect identification field guide to determine the type of larvae and nest you have found.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small container
  • Tongs
  • Ruler
  • Camera
  • Notebook
  • Field guide to insects

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  1. 1

    Locate the insect larvae nest and take a sample or photograph of the larva. Place an object, such as a ruler, next to the larva and record its size. If possible, place the sample into a small container using tongs to make the identification process easier.

  2. 2

    Make observations; write down specific information such as where the nest was found, the habitat and even the shape of the nest. Pay attention to details such as the colour of the nest, and if any other adult insects are in the area. Also, take explicit notes on all the physical details you see and if any antennae are present.

  3. 3

    Remove the larvae from the container and use a magnifying glass to carefully examine the colour and texture of the larvae. Consult an insect identification field guide to identify the nest. For example, if you have a small insect that is in a cocoon-like structure, go to the caterpillar/butterfly section of the guide.

  4. 4

    Search for photographs of the nest once you believe you have found a match. Consulting Internet encyclopedias or a university website from the agriculture or biology programmes can be useful. Photographs will give you an idea of what the nest and larvae look like in their natural habitat.

Tips and warnings

  • Sometimes an exact species match is difficult to find even when using an identification guide. You may need to consult a professional.
  • Make sure the websites you visit are credible sources.

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