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Hope creepy-crawlies don't bug you.


There are two kinds of people in the world. The first kind sees a new kind of bug, maybe a new kind of giant cockroach that flies and subsists entirely on the terror-tears of orphans. This kind of person, which we will hazard to say is the bulk of the population, will utter some variation of "Nope," calmly shut the door on the creature, and then burn the structure down.

The other kind of person will see the giant, orphan-tear-drinking cockroach and think it makes for the best day ever.

You probably already know which group you fit into. If you've ever gleefully collected the creepy-crawlies of the world or played with centipedes the way most kids play with Transformers, then you might be ready to study entomology.

Entomology is the study of insects specifically. This cuts out things like worms (sorry, they're annelids), snails (mollusks), and spiders (arthropods like insects, but they're arachnids). The nice part—or terrifying, depending on which kind of person you are—is that there are tons and tons of different kinds of insects. Seriously, they're a very successful organism.

From the stately dragonfly to the parasitic flea, there are all kinds of fascinating subjects for research. Maybe you're in it for the pure science. You want to know how these creatures, which predate humanity by hundreds of millions of years and will likely outlast us, live their lives.

Or maybe you want to get into the applied sciences section. Social insects like termites and ants create some incredibly impressive structures, and they do it without equipment, hardhats, or even coffee breaks. Silkworms—actually a form of caterpillar, the larval form of butterflies and moths—make some of the most high-end fabric there is. That's right, some of the best stuff in your mom's closet came out of a caterpillar's butt.

The honeybee is such an important creature that many plants, including crops that humans rely on, owe their existence to them. Currently, honeybees are undergoing colony collapse, where they spontaneously all die.

This is just as terrifying as that hypothetical cockroach from earlier, but for different reasons. Loss of pollinators like bees has the potential to kill millions of people through starvation. Sorting out the cause and formulating a cure is an extremely important goal for today's entomologists.

Pursuers of this major who generally want to be scientists just really love bugs. There are a few other places you can take it career-wise, but the vast majority of destinations are some variation of "bug-scientist."

This is definitely a major that only attracts certain people. You have to love bugs with all your heart, because you'll be spending the next four years plus grad school eating, drinking, sleeping, dreaming, reading, learning, and knowing bugs.

Well, not that eating and drinking stuff. Not literally.


Famous People who majored in Entomology

  • Vincent Allard, beetle expert
  • Murray S. Blum (with biology), TV correspondent and expert on pheromones
  • Rick Brandenburg, creator of the webcast What's Bugging You?
  • E.O. Wilson, world's leading authority on ants
  • Dr. Jack Hodgins, of Bones
  • Ant-Man (with molecular physics), the original, not Paul Rudd

Percentage of US students who major in Entomology:

0.01% (Source)

Stats obtained from this source.