PESTS: Entomology Lygus damage on strawberries Entomology, the study of insects, helps growers and agricultural consultants identify pests and keep threatening populations low. Pest Control Advisors recognize the specific pests attacking the field, and they prescribe appropriate pesticides and adjust management practices to mitigate damage. Understanding pest physiology and life cycles gives agronomists the tools to develop effective control strategies, targeting pests when they are most vulnerable and preventing major outbreaks. Pest Control Advisors walk through the fields regularly to track pest population dynamics and response to the pesticides. Growers and Pest Control Advisors must properly identify the pest species before applying pesticides or using other management strategies. Arthropods, organisms within the phylum Arthropoda, cause most crop damage on foliage, flowers, and fruit. The taxonomic classes within Arthropoda include insects, arachnids, crustaceans, centipedes, millipedes, and symphylans. Although insects include the broadest range of threatening species, organisms within the other classes also inflict economic damage every year. Casual observers can distinguish insects from arachnids and other arthropods based on the number of body segments, legs, and antennae. After many years of training and field experience, Tri-Tech’s certified Pest Control Advisors are experts in identifying agricultural pests. Distinguishing Characteristics among the six arthropod classes that include major pest and beneficial species. Class Size Distinguishing Characteristics Arachnida (Spiders, Mites) 40,000 Species 9 Orders No antennae, 4 pairs of legs, 2 main body parts, wingless, all habitats. Includes pseudoscorpions, sun spiders, jumping spiders, mites, ticks. Chilopoda (Centipedes) 3,000 Species 4 Orders 1 pair antennae, body long and segmented (15-181 segments) with 1 pair legs per body segment, first pair legs contain posion glands, 1 pair jaws, trachea, wingless, terrestrial, nocturnal, most predaceous. Crustacea (Crabs) 26,000 Species 30 Orders 2 pairs antennae, 1 pair jaws, 2 pairs maxillae, 5 or more pairs jointed legs, calcareous exoskeleton, gills, biramous (paired) appendages, wingless, mostly aquatic. Includes shrimps, water fleas, barnacles, lobsters, crayfish, pillbugs, sowbugs. Diplopoda (Millipedes) 8,000 Species 7 Orders 1 pair antennae;body long, cylindrical, and segmented.(9 to more than 100 segments), with 2 pairs legs per body segment; wingless; perfers moist areas; terrestrial; decomposers. Insecta (Insects) 2 Million + Species 31 Orders 1 pair antennae, usually 3 pairs legs and 2 pairs wings (as adults), mouthparts variable, chitinous exoskeleton, trachea, all habitats. Includes beetles, butterflies, moths, flies, roaches, lice, fleas, termites, bees, wasps. Symphyla (Symphylans) <100 Species 1 Order 1 pair antennae, long and segmented (15-22 segments), 10-12 pairs legs, wingless; prefers humus soil, decaying wood, and other moist conditions.