How to Identify Insects in South Carolina

How to Identify Insects in South CarolinaWhenever you're outdoors, insects are your constant companions. They can be either fascinating or a nuisance, depending on the insect and its interactions with you. With close to a million different species, it's impossible to know them all on first sight. Because it is home to a major agricultural university, South Carolina has many resources to help identify insects. If you're in South Carolina, here are several things you can do to help identify what you've seen, either on your own or with assistance from a government agency. (Pictured: Golden Tortoise Beetle)


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Field guide
Step 1
Capture or photograph the insect you wish to identify. Store the specimen in a ventilated container if it is still living.
Step 2
Consult a printed field guide or website such as to identify the insect. Many field guides contain detailed information, such as size and plants favored by the insect, that will help you narrow down the species.
Step 3
Call your local Clemson Extension office if you cannot identify the insect on your own. Extension offices are in each of South Carolina's 46 counties and the staff can connect you with an entomologist.

Tips & Warnings

The "Your Day" program on South Carolina Educational Radio regularly features entomologists from Clemson University and its Extension offices. The entomologists host a call-in segment where listeners can ask questions about insects.
Use caution when approaching unidentified insects to avoid being bitten or stung.

Article Written By Susan Miskelly

Susan Miskelly is a freelance writer and editor living in Rock Hill, S.C.; she specializes in a wide variety of topics, including travel, photography and technology. Miskelly is a published children's writer and has diverse experiences in corporate and nonprofit communications and publicity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in early childhood elementary education from Converse College.

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