collective terms for insects

Collective Nouns for Insects

List of Collective Nouns for Insects & Plurals

ADDucation’s list of collective nouns for insects also includes the names for immature/infant insects along with the singular and plural spellings for insects. The first list of collective nouns was published in “The Book of St Albans” circa 1500 and it wasn’t definitive – it was based on folklore, humor and the whim of the publisher and it’s the same today. New collective terms are made up all the time (how about a groove of DJs?) which either stand the test of time or fall into disuse like “a fall of woodcocks” – the “future of Englishes” around the world is in your hands.

FAQs about Insects

Frequently Asked Questions About Insects

  • What is the definition of an insect?
    Any small arthropod (animal without a backbone) with six (three pairs) of jointed legs and a body (supported by an external skeleton) segmented into three parts:
    • Head, with a pair of antennae.
    • Thorax with one or two pairs of wings.
    • Abdomen.
  • How many species of insects are there?
    So far over 1.3 million species have been catalogued and named. Estimates for the total number of species vary widely so the answer is we don’t know but the range of guesstimates means the likely total is between 2 and 10 million species.
  • What is a person who studies insects called?
    An entomologist. Entomology is the scientific study of insects.
  • What are baby/young/offspring/immature/ insects called?
    • Larvae for insects which form cocoons and change form completely (holometabolous).
    • Nymphs for insects which grow wings as they grow bigger but don’t change form (hemimetabolous).
    • Familiar names for infant insects include; caterpillars which are butterfly larvae, maggots which are fly larvae and grubs which are beetle larvae.
  • How do insects reproduce?
    • Sexually: Requires sperm from the male insect which fertilizes the egg which the female insect carries until it hatches and matures.
    • Asexually: An unfertilized egg grows and hatches independently, without the assistance of sperm.
  • What is the key difference between insect larvae and nymphs?
    Both are infant insects and all insects molt, by shedding their exoskeleton, to become adults:
    • Larvae molt in a single step by metamorphosis (e.g. caterpillar to butterfly) to become adults.
    • Nymphs molt in stages, anything from two to sixty molts to become adults (e.g. stick insects molt between 6 and 9 times).
  • Are Spiders insects?
    Spiders are not insects they are Araneae, part of the class of arachnids.
  • What is the difference between Spiders and Insects?
    • Insects have three body parts and three pairs or six legs.
    • Spiders have two body parts and four pairs or eight legs.

ADDucation Tips: Click column headings with arrows to sort collective nouns for insects. Click the + icon to show any hidden columns. Set your browser to full screen and zoom out to show as many columns as possible. Start typing in the Filter table box to find collective nouns for insects, bugs & beetles inside the table.

InsectYoung / immature / offspring baby infant called?Collective Nouns & Terms for Insects & Arachnids[1]Insect Plurals
InsectLarva or Nympha flight of insects, a plague of insects, a swarm of insects, a horde of insects, a rabble of insectsInsects
AntAntlingan army of ants, a colony of ants, a nest of ants, a bike of ants, a swarm of flying antsAnts
BeeLarvaa grist of bees*, a hive of bees, a swarm of bees, a flight of beesBees
BeetleGruba colony of beetles, a swarm of beetlesBeetles
ButterflyCaterpillar (Larva)a rabble* of butterflies, a rainbow of butterflies*, a kaleidoscope of butterflies*, a swarm of butterflies*, an army of caterpillarsButterflies
Click BeetleWireworm (Larva)a colony of click beetlesClick Bettles
CockroachNymphan intrusion of cockroachesCockroaches
DragonflyNympha cluster of dragonfliesDragonflies
FlyMaggots (Larva)a business of flies, a hatch of flies, a cloud of flies, a swarm of fliesFlies
GnatLarvaa horde of gnats, a cloud of gnats, a swarm of of gnatsGnats
GrasshopperNympha cloud of grasshoppers, a cluster of grasshoppersGrasshoppers
HornetLarvaa bike of hornets, a nest of hornetsHornets
Ladybird, Ladybug, Lady BeetleLarvaa loveliness of ladybugsLadybirds, Ladybugs, Lady Beetles
LouseNympha flock of lice, a colony of lice, an infestation of liceLice
LocustNympha plague of locustsLocusts
MidgeLarvaa bite of midges*Midges
Mite[1]Larvaa mite of mitesMites
MosquitoLarvaa scourge of mosquitoes*Mosquitoes
Scorpion[1]Scorpling (Nymph)a bed of scorpions, a nest of scorpionsScorpions
Spider[1]Spiderlings (Larva)a cluster of spiders*, a clutter of spiders*Spiders
Stick InsectNympha bushel of stick insects*Stick Insects
TermiteNympha brood of termites, a colony of termites, a nest of termites, a swarm of termitesTermites
WaspLarvaa nest of wasps, a swarm of waspsWasps
* Notes: [1]Arachnids are NOT insects, they are included in this list of collective nouns for insects for your convenience. Some collective nouns for insects are poetic terms. There’s no official collective nouns committee, or authority, which approves new collective nouns so you can invent them yourself. Many collective nouns for insects only appear in lists of collective nouns – we only add new collective nouns if we can find references in published literature or other authority websites.

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