Hemiptera: True Bugs

(from the Greek: hemi = half + ptera = wings)Bugs

Although many kinds of arthropods are called "bugs," the “true bugs” all belong to the order Hemiptera. For all insects in this order, "bug" is written as a separate word (e.g. plant bug, bed bug, squash bug). Whenever an insect or related arthropod in another order is called a bug, the names are written as one word (e.g. sowbug, mealybug). All Hemiptera have sucking mouthparts and incomplete metamorphosis. They typically have 2 pairs of wings. The front pair is leathery at the base and membranous at the tip. When at rest, the wings lie flat on the back. Some true bugs are wingless or are short-winged or have atypical front wings. The front wings of lacebugs are lace-like and do not conform to the general description of true bug wings.

The true bugs are very closely related to the Homoptera, and can be difficult to distinguish. Hemipterans have jointed beaks that arise from the front of the head. The homopteran beak arises farther back on the head and sometimes seems to come from
between the front legs. Also, the wings of true bugs are held flat over the back. Those of homopterans are most often held roof-like over the back.

Many true bugs are important plant pests, and a few are blood-sucking pests of animals, including humans. Some bugs are beneficial predators of other insects.