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Entomology

March 12, 2019, 2:52 p.m.

Entomology is a specialised branch of science that deals with the study of insects, vermin, scorpions, spiders and similar other species. It can be classified as a sub field of zoology, which is in turn a branch of biology. Sometimes known as insectology, entomology also deals with the study and classification of arthropods- an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body and jointed appendages.

Entomology is an enormous field of study, which has various subdivisions within it. These may include morphology, physiology, zoological categories of genetics, taxonomy, behaviour, ecology, nutrition of insects, as well limited forays into forensics and paleontology. The study of entomology can provide interesting clues into the history of life on Earth and it can also be used to make projections about the future. The study of insects serves as the basis for developments in biological and chemical pest control, biotechnological research and development, food and product storage. 

Entomology is an ideal career for those who are fascinated with the world of insects or animals and agriculture profession. Those who are involved in this field are termed as entomologists. 

Entomologists are biological scientists who work in the animal world carrying out insect explorations. They are experts who specialize in the identification, classification, observation and conservation of insects and arthropods. Entomologists examine insects and their relationships to plants, environment, humans, animals, agricultural sites and other organisms. They are the persons responsible for the identification of various species of insects, both harmful and harmless to plants, animals and humans. Entomologists study and carry out research activities on insects and related life forms based on their life cycle, physiological factors and so on. They work to protect the environment; sustain agricultural production; prevent the spread of disease; help farmers to produce food and save endangered species. Entomologists are also concerned with the study of urban pests, forest pests, agricultural pests and medical and veterinary pests and their control. They conduct research to develop new and improved methods and technologies to control or eliminate pests.

Entomologists can specialise in a single order or a specific family of insects. These may include : 

  • Apiology - the scientific study of bees, especially honeybees

  • Myrmecology - the scientific study of ants 

  • Trichopterology - study of caddisflies

  • Dipterology - the scientific study of flies, including houseflies, mosquitoes and gnats

  • Hemipterology - the scientific study related to bedbugs, squashbugs and aphids

  • Lepidopterology - deals with the study of moths and butterflies

  • Coleopterology - the study of beetles

  • Orthopterology - the scientific study of orthoptera, including grasshoppers, cockroaches, crickets, mantises etc.

Job opportunities are available for entomologists in technical as well as administrative and research line. Working conditions of entomologists depend on the type of their job. While some entomologists work in the field, others may work in the laboratory, classroom or find niches in regulatory entomology or the pest control industry. 

 

Eligibility & Course Areas

 

To work as an Entomologist, a candidate have to pursue post graduation, M Phil or PhD programs in Entomology. Entomology is taught as a sub specialization of agricultural sciences, veterinary sciences and forestry. Entomology courses are available only at the advanced levels. Only few institutes in India are offering B.Sc. Entomology course. Candidates who have passed 10+2 in science stream with physics, chemistry and biology (botany / zoology) can opt for any 3 year bachelors degree course in biological sciences (i.e B.Sc Biology/ Agricultural Science/ Forestry/ Zoology/ Botony/ Life Sciences/ Microbiology etc.) 

After graduation, aspirants can go for 2 years Post graduate course in Entomology or its related fields. The admission will be based on entrance examination. However, obtaining an advanced degree in Entomology (i.e PhD or MPhil) is required for those seeking positions in education or advanced research. Post Graduates in entomology or equivalent qualification from recognized universities are required for Doctoral degree / Ph.D. Courses. Candidates are selected to these courses on the basis of marks obtained in the written entrance examination.  

Some of the specializations offered in the field of entomology are agricultural entomology, forest entomology, medical entomology and military entomology, insect ecology, insect physiology, veterinary entomology and insecticide toxicology.

Course Details : Course of study in the field of entomology deals with the life cycle, genetics and bodily processes of insects and also the interactions between insects and their environments. An entomology program covers a variety of topics, including insect anatomy, biology and physiology, aquatic entomology, pest management, insect-borne diseases, morphology, insect taxonomy, biological insect control, insect physiology and veterinary entomology. Entomology courses also trains students on modern approaches of epidemiology (study of the distribution, causes and effects of disease in human populations) and control of vectors and vector-borne diseases like dengue, plague, malaria, filariasis, tick and mite-borne diseases, etc.

Personal Attributes: An entomologist should possess a keen interest in research and in the study of insects and related organisms. They must have an aptitude for science and the patience to carry out designed experiments and researches over long period of time. They should be creative and curious to explore new areas in the study of insects. They require good analytical, logical, observation, problem solving, critical-thinking, communication, organizational, supervisory, writing and speaking skills. Flexibility, Manual dexterity, logical approach to problem solving is also essential for an Entomologist. Entomologists have to work both independently and as part of a team. So they must possess the ability to work as a team and clearly express their views and ideas. They may work for long hours more than forty hours per week, especially on field trips or when experiments need to be monitored around the clock. In addition, entomologists must spend time reading and studying to keep up with new scientific developments that affect their work.

 

Job Prospects & Career Options

 

Wide spectrum of career prospects are available for those who have completed their course in Entomology. Entomologists can be considered as the revolutionary scientific researchers involved in different fields related to insects and agriculture. Their work profile involves with the study, classification, life cycle, distribution, physiology, behavior, habitats, ecology and population dynamics of insects. So entomologists must possess a thorough knowledge in the fields of horticulture, genetics, physiology, forestry and microbiology. Entomologists should be familiar with the scientific methods and steps, including preparing records, presenting information, data and conclusions. 

Entomologists can specialize on a particular area and pursue their career in that field. Further, they can specialise in a single order or a specific family of insects. Depending upon the areas, some of the classifications of entomologists are : 

  • Medical or Public Health Entomologists : The discipline of medical entomology, or public health entomology is focused upon insects and arthropods that impact human health. Medical or Public Health Entomologists are engaged in public health work in different areas of research and in the control of houseflies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, lice, fleas, ticks and many other pests that pose a health hazard or nuisance problem. Veterinary entomology is also included in this category. 

  • Military Entomologists : They work for the various branches of the armed forces. They supervises pest control operations and protect the military personnel against insect-borne diseases and parasites.

  • Forensic Entomologists : Forensic entomology is the application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters. Forensic entomologists deal with graphic crime scene evidence as well as competently discuss graphic or disturbing aspects of a criminal investigation. They have the responsibility to use their knowledge of insects to resolve legal investigations. In every case, they should examine the insects found at crime scenes and extract the substances like blood and body tissue which these insects might have ingested. Forensic entomologists collect and analyze specimens and data, and provide professional opinions to the investigating party.

  • Agricultur al Entomologists: Agricultural entomologists are responsible to protect valuable crops from insect pests. Their main job is to develop innovative ways to control the harmful insects and pesticides. They educate the public about insect pests, pesticides and pest management.    

  • Forest Entomologists : Forest entomologists are concerned with the study of all insect species and related arthropods that inhabit and interact in forest ecosystems and the management of insect pests that cause the degrading, defoliation, crown dieback, death of trees or destruction of wood in forests.

  • Commercial Entomologists: Commercial entomologists are responsible to control the pest affecting shade trees, lawns, ornamental plants, homes, warehouses, stores, hotels and restaurants. They work for Industry rather than public agencies.

  • Survey Entomologists : Survey entomologist are the people responsible for reviewing all-important crops in a given state or area for possible insect outbreaks and alerts farmers and growers before a major problem arises.

  • Research Entomologists : Research entomologists are responsible for designing research studies, caring for the insect subjects, supervising laboratory assistants, recording data, analyzing data, preparing reports, and publishing study findings in professional scientific journals for peer review. Their work involves studying and understanding the anatomy, habits life histories, physiology and classification of insects and investigating various types of chemical and biological controls. Research entomologists usually work in well-lighted, well-equipped laboratories.  

As entomology has a bearing on agriculture, biology, chemistry, criminology, forensic science, ecology, economics, food, forestry, genetics, health, trade, pharmaceuticals, robotics, veterinary medicine etc. a professional in this field can find a plethora of career options. Professionals with high educational qualification tends to have more employment opportunities in this field.

Teaching, scientific research and technical positions with colleges and universities, experiment stations, government agencies, military services, private and industrial organizations are some of opportunities available for an entomology professional. Entomologists are required for apiculture, sericulture and many other areas related to the study of insects. Openings are there in museums, botanical gardens, pest control companies, environment protection organizations, chemical manufacturing companies, forestry and so on. Health-care organizations, genetics, beekeeping, veterinary science, horticulture, food science and many areas of environmental studies need the valuable services of entomologists. Opportunities are also available in firms like fertilizer companies, seed companies, insecticides or pesticides companies, biofertilizer companies and biological control base companies. Entomologists can also pursue their own individual research and conduct their own study. They can take classes to help farmers learn to remove harmful bugs from their crops without spraying pesticides that can be harmful to humans.

Some of the works areas in the field of entomology are : 

Scientific Research and development 
Research and development organizations in private and public sector offer career opportunities to the entomologists. Entomologists with advanced degrees can work as scientific researchers for universities or businesses. Research might be based on how insects spread disease or how bugs infest houses. Researchers might study why some insects help crops, while others harm food supplies. Indian Institute of Horticultural Research is a government research organization, which offers Senior Research Fellowship to entomologists. Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun, Institute of Social Forestry and Eco-rehabilitation, Allahabad, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, etc offer job openings for entomologists in research. Research Associate, Research Scientist, Research Analyst, Field Biologist, Junior Research Fellow etc. are some of the jobs available for entomologists in the research field. Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) also employ entomologists who have research experience. 

Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies, the Armed Forces, environmental monitoring services, quarantine and other regulatory agencies appoint entomologists to help investigate crimes. Named as Forensic entomologists, they study bugs at crime scenes to help determine the cause and time of a death, as well as the possibility that a body was moved after death. They also work as consultants for coroners, lawyers and medical examiners.

Pest Control
Entomologists can find openings in the agricultural field which deals with the control of harmful insects. Insects play both beneficial and harmful roles in agriculture. In order to overwhelm the harmful insects, entomologists study about these infinitely varied creatures and direct their research towards finding ways to control or eliminate them. Instead of using deadly poisons in the crop, they develop several ways to trap insects or to sterilize them so that they cannot reproduce. Thus they help to develop crops that are insect resistant as well harmless to consumers. They may work with chemicals or repellents in pest management. Pest control specialists can work as independent consultants or for agribusiness companies or the central government. 

Teaching
Highly qualified entomologists with at least a post graduate or doctoral degree in Entomology are absorbed in various educational institutions as professors and teachers in Entomology.

 

Remuneration

 

Remuneration of Entomologists can vary greatly due to industrial standards, education, experience, location and the kind of job. A fresher can expect a monthly salary of Rs.10,000 or more in any private or related organization. Entomologists in government sectors can earn about Rs.30, 000/- per month. Entomologists in the research field get relatively higher salary ranging from Rs.15, 000/- to Rs.20, 000/- per month. A research associate with PhD degree can get a pay scale ranging from Rs.35, 000/- to Rs.40,000/- per month. Professor and Associate Professor can get salary ranging from Rs.38,000/- to Rs.67,000/- . Assistant Professors can get salary of Rs. 25,000/- to Rs.40,000/-. After 3 years service their salary increases.

 



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