Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Insects and Bugs

Insects vs Bugs

What makes an insect a bug? Insects are those small, living creatures that belong to the arthropod phylum which is one of the most diverse groups of animals. Although humans consider them as pests, they are an integral part of the ecosystem, and without them the balance would be greatly affected.

Not all insects are bugs, but bugs are insects from the Hemiptera order, Heteroptera suborder, which are characterized by their piercing and sucking mouths. Only those insects which have mouths that are beak-like are classified as bugs.They are also known as true bugs and are usually warm bloodied parasites.

They have thick, leathery front wings with colored parts near their bodies and clear parts at the end of the wings. Their hind wings are clear and are located under their front wings, or they may lack hind wings altogether. They show incomplete metamorphosis with only three life stages as compared to complete metamorphosis which have four: First, they begin their lives as eggs, then become nymphs or larva which can live on dry land or in the water, and then finally develop into winged adults or imago.

Examples of bugs are: spittle bug, lace bug, assassin bug, Maori bug, stink bug, water bug, water skater, water boatman, water scorpion, kissing bug, bed bug, leaf hopper, mealy bug, chinch, cicada, frog hopper, and harlequin bug.
While cockroaches may be considered as bugs by most people, they are not. They are just insects characterized by their three body parts composed of the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. They usually have six legs although some insects may have more.

While bugs have three life stages, most insects have four. They start off as eggs, then larva or nymph (aquatic or non aquatic), pupa wherein they are sealed inside a cocoon and experience significant biological changes until they develop into adults. Most adult insects have wings with the exception of primitive species, and some insects that exist today like ants, with only those that are reproductive members have wings which they eventually shed after mating.
All adult insects have antennae which are jointed at the base and act as sensory organs that help them detect heat, touch, sound, motion, smell, and taste. They have amazing capabilities. Some can carry loads that are several times their body weight.
Examples of insects are: beetles, dragonflies, aphids, butterflies, army worm, root maggots, moths, bees, wireworm, wasps, flies, grasshoppers, crickets, ants, and cockroaches.


1.Insects are animals that have three body parts; the head, thorax, and abdomen while bugs are types of insects.
2.Most insects undergo complete metamorphosis, that is, they have four life stages (egg, larva/nymph, pupa, adult) but some insects like bugs only have three life stages (egg, larva/nymph, adult) or incomplete metamorphosis.
3.Bugs differ from other insects in the kind of mouths that they have which are beak like and are intended for piercing and sucking.
4.The wings of bugs are also different from other insects because they sometimes lack hind wings.

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  1. Typo: “warm bloodied parasites.” I believe you meant “warm blooded.”

    Great clarification. Thx.

  2. very helpful information,thanks!

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