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Insects: Friend or Foe? Color and Learn!1

Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman2

Introduction

Not just a coloring book the "Insects: Friend or Foe? Color and Learn!" document can be an interactive learning experience! This educational handout is perfect for classroom use, homeschool, or just a rainy (or snowy, if you are not in Florida) day. This activity will help connect kids and adults with the amazing diversity of animals for which we have articles in the UF/IFAS Featured Creatures database. This coloring book can be printed front to back on a standard 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of paper. Once you have your paper and coloring tools in hand, learn more about these creatures and decide what colors to use by reading more about them below and visiting the web links for each insect.

Want to learn more about an insect? Read the articles linked below for a detailed life history. We have one tricky insect, several that are pests, others that are beneficial, and one non-insect listed that can be considered a pest or a beneficial! Can you figure out which ones are which?

Figure 1. 

Beneficials

Viceroy butterfly—This tricky insect is commonly known as "viceroy" because it is similar to but smaller than a monarch butterfly.

Figure 2. 

Ventral (showing the underside) view of the wings of an adult male viceroy, Limenitis archippus floridensis Strecker.


Credit:

Andrei Sourakov, Florida Museum of Natural History


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Carpenter bee—These bees get their name from their nesting habits: small carpenter bees make tunnels in stems of various bushes; large carpenter bees make holes for nests in solid wood or in stumps, logs, or even houses! Burrowing in houses makes this beneficial pollinator an occasional pest.

Figure 3. 

Adult large carpenter bee, Xylocopa sp.


Credit:

Paul M. Choate, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Ladybird beetle—We have several different ladybird beetles, and all of them eat insects we think of as pests (like aphids) which makes them beneficial. When it gets cold ladybird beetles look for a warm place to sleep, and some species end up invading people’s homes where they become pests!

Figure 4. 

Adult Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, the sevenspotted lady beetle.


Credit:

James Castner, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Polyphemus moth caterpillar—These caterpillars can really hide because their green color makes it difficult for predators to find them. This beautiful caterpillar becomes an even more beautiful moth!

Figure 5. 

Caterpillar of polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer) displaying a characteristic “Sphinx” pose.


Credit:

Donald W. Hall, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Pests

Stink bug—We have bad stink bugs, and good stink bugs. Your coloring sheet lists stink bugs as pests, but the one in the picture is really one of the good guys! It is a Florida predatory stink bug feeding on the pesky bean leafroller.

Figure 6. 

A nymph of the predatory stink bug Euthyrhynchus floridanus (Linnaeus) attacking a bean leafroller, Urbanus proteus (Linnaeus).


Credit:

University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Lubber grasshopper—These lubber grasshoppers are really big! Plus, they come in all sorts of color variations. This pest might be pretty but they can cause quite a bit of damage to your garden if you are not careful!

Figure 7. 

Adult eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera (Beauvois), light color phase.


Credit:

John Capinera, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Treehopper—These little treehoppers are pests, but they do not cause lots of damage to the trees they like best—oaks.

Figure 8. 

Adult (mottled form) female and nymphs (immatures) of the oak treehopper, Platycotis vittata (Fabricius).


Credit:

Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Termites—We have lots of termites in Florida! They are pests when they eat things we like (like wood in our buildings and playground equipment), but they are also very beneficial. We need termites to help decompose trees when they fall in the woods!

Figure 9. 

Castes in a Neotermes castaneus (Burmeister) colony. Learn more about castes by visiting the original article!


Credit:

Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Bean leafroller—This pest as an immature (seen below) becomes a beautiful skipper when it turns into an adult. This is a common Florida pest you might have seen in your home garden as an immature or as an adult visiting flowers in your area.

Figure 10. 

Larva of the bean leafroller, Urbanus proteus (Linnaeus).


Credit:

John Capinera, University of Florida.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Black widow—A common Florida spider (not a bug!!!) can be found in many different habitats. It is good because it eats insects that we think of as pests (like cockroaches), but it is considered a pest when it lives in or around people’s homes because it can bite you if it is handled.

Figure 11. 

Adult female Southern black widow, Latrodectus mactans (Fabricius).


Credit:

James L. Castner.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Coloring Book

Figure 12. 

This coloring book can be printed front to back on a standard 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper. Click here to download the pdf.


Credit:

Jane Medley.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

BugWeek

Want more fun bug info? Check out the BugWeek@UF website and look for more fun BugWeek activities every May!

Footnotes

1.

This document is EENY586, one of a series of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 2014. Reviewed January 2017. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, associate Extension scientist; Department of Entomology and Nematology, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.