Insect Eggs: Guide To Identification, Anatomy, And Control

Supriya Jain
Sep 01, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Cricket eggs in the soil

As per research, an adult insect's life is predominantly focused on reproduction.

Most insects reproduce sexually; mating is accompanied by female impregnation and egg fertilization. Eggs could be laid individually, in clusters, or in oothecae, which are specialized structures.

Every egg is first produced within the genital structure of the female before being transferred from her body via an ovipositor, a tube-like, saw-like, or blade-like feature of her external genitalia. The process by which eggs are produced by the female body is called oogenesis, and the process by which eggs are laid is identified as oviposition.

The ideal temperatures and nutrition are required for mating and egg production. While still attached to the mother, the egg starts to develop its shell.

There, the sperm then locates and swims through the micropyle, a small entry at one side of the egg. Sperm can wait years within the mother for this opportunity (although most adult insects don't have years to live).

So the question is - how can you identify these eggs and understand their anatomy? Read on for a number of interesting aspects of insect eggs. Afterward, also read about painted turtle eggs and bearded dragon eggs.

What insects lay eggs?

Insect eggs are commonly somewhat large, both in ultimate dimensions and in relation to the size of the mother, and well supplied with the yolk. The yolk makes up the majority of the contents of an egg cell.

Mostly all-female insects can be called oviparous, which means they produce eggs, very much like fish, reptiles, and birds.

While several egg-laying creatures exhibit nurturing impulses, such as cautiously tending to one's eggs and ensuring that they are warm and secured, most insects just don't; they simply lay their eggs anywhere around or on a source of food before moving on; meanwhile, there are a few likely insect groups that are exceptions to this oviparity rule.

Insect eggs in houses are a common sight. Insects develop through a series of molts in which they first shed their hard outer surface, known as an exoskeleton.

The body adapts and changes in some way with every molt. This transformation in form is referred to as metamorphosis. A large number of insects undergo complete metamorphosis, which comprises four distinct developmental stages called: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

Based on the species, the egg hatches into something like a worm, it is the larva that then molts multiple times. A caterpillar is a larva of a butterfly or a moth, whereas a grub is the larva of a beetle.

Once the larva has molted for the last time, it transforms into a sedentary, resting pupa known as a chrysalis in butterflies and a cocoon in moths. After that, the pupa develops into an adult insect. The cycle starts once more when adult female oviparous insects mate and lay eggs.

Grasshoppers, crickets, and earwigs go through a basic metamorphosis in which their wings grow extrinsically and there is no resting phase prior to actually becoming adults. Undeveloped insects often resemble adults after undergoing simple metamorphosis.

Most insect groups, including dragonflies, grasshoppers, wasps, bees, beetles, ants, and butterflies, exhibit oviparity. Some insects, such as termites, will simply deposit their eggs anywhere, whereas monarch butterflies will carefully lay their eggs on the under-surface of milkweed foliage.

What do insect eggs look like?

We often see bugs hovering above our food. Insects lay eggs in several manners, and the resulting eggs come in a fascinating variety of shapes, sizes, colors, or even textures.

Some may be globular and flawless, whereas others may be ridged and rough. Some resemble Skittles, while others resemble raisins.

Several of the eggs may be transparent, while others are opaque, and some of them have an intriguing alien appearance. Specific insect species can even change the color of their eggs to blend in with their surroundings.

The micropyle, a minor depression at the top of the egg that has a hole in the center, distinguishes butterfly eggs. The red poplar leaf beetle lays its eggs in clusters.

The eggs of a stink bug are shaped like a ninja's iron spike ball. Even in the same insect species, the eggs can have a variety of appearances. Phasmida (stick insects) eggs are among the most visually fascinating, with their many interesting shapes.

Fly eggs are first deposited in large amounts varying from 120-1000 in number based on the species, and then hatch into something of a maggot-like state before transforming into flies. The undersides of leaves are covered in many clusters of vibrant yellow-orange eggs laid by Colorado potato beetles.

Bed bug eggs are extremely tiny and pearly white in color, clustered on bedding or fittings.

Stick insects lay eggs that appear like seeds. Mosquito eggs are laid in batches of up to 300 eggs on the water surface; they are dark in color, typically black or brown, and narrow and slender in shape.

Termite eggs are similar looking to caviar, but they are smaller and translucent white in color and shaped like an egg. Cockroach eggs are held with the help of oothecae, which are egg cases encased in a protein compound that solidifies into a sturdy protective outer sheath over time.

Due to their small size, flea eggs are difficult to detect; they are white in color and often even transparent.

How to identify insect eggs?

If you lift a stone, you'll find insect eggs in the soil underneath. They're there if you split a tree trunk, but they're not just there.

Birds find it difficult to find suitable nesting sites, but insects have evolved the potential to make a nursery out of anything, laying eggs in wood, leaves, trash, water, and even insect eggs on a wall or their own bodies.

If there is one trait that has guaranteed insect diversity as well as accomplishment, it is the ability to leave their young almost anywhere and still have them survive; all the credit here goes to those eggs.

Since no adults are detectable nearby, insect identification is frequently based on the larval stage. Recognizing larval types can reveal a great deal about an insect, such as whether it is a plant feeder, predator, or scavenger.

Sawflies are larvae that have two pairs of fleshy legs on each of their abdominal sections. They are most commonly found in groups on deciduous and evergreen trees.

Many beetle species, as well as some lacewing species, have larval types with segmented thoracic legs however no fleshy abdominal legs. Predators such as lacewings, lady beetles, and ground beetles have larvae with relatively long thoracic legs and streamlined, often pointed bodies.

Soft, white-bodied larvae, such as white grubs and rootworms, have shorter, bulkier thoracic legs, a much more box-shaped head, and a broader abdomen. Beetles and flies have legless larvae with distinguishable heads.

How to get rid of insect eggs?

Without a doubt, the chorion or eggshell's exceptional structure, which is made up of several layers that have developed to permit the embryo to respire while restricting dehydration, makes it hard to kill them.

Insecticides, fungal pathogens, and a few fumigants have all been shown to be effective against the eggshell. So is there a need for any strategy or control procedures for these insect eggs?

Insect eggs have evolved mechanisms to increase their chances of survival, such as enclosing the embryo within a very sturdy eggshell. Eggs are without a doubt the most difficult insect life stage to eradicate with insecticides.

The hard eggshell that covers the egg of a bug prohibits the entrance of several insecticides, ranging from water-based, oil-based, fumigants, as well as some conventional control methods, irrespective of the application technique.

To get rid of the insect eggs, you could try the following bug prevention methods:

  • Squirt insecticidal soap on the plants or use floating row covers.
  • Use beneficial nematodes (naturally occurring microscopic worms in the soil) or milky spores (a bacterium).
  • To deter slugs from wriggling their way to the plant, sprinkle sharp sand, wood ashes, crumbled seashells, or diatomaceous earth all around stems.
  • Predatory insects could be introduced.
  • Scrape egg clusters off the backsides of leaves or squirt neem on egg clusters and immature squash bugs.
  • Crop rotation is an excellent practice.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis - a land bacterium that acts as an insecticide when absorbed - could be sprayed on foliage.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for insect eggs, then why not take a look at earthworm eggs or salamander eggs.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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