Have you ever spotted an insect in your landscape that completely mystified you? Some little bug that you had never seen before? Where do you go to figure out whether you have stumbled upon a fantastic beneficial insect or a destructive pest? BugGuide.net is a terrific place to start your search.
This site is a self-described community of naturalists who enjoy learning about and sharing their observations of insects, spiders, and other related creatures. BugGuide.net is a clearinghouse of information with a detailed guide on everything from Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) to Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps and sawflies).
The volunteers at BugGuide.net collect photographs of insects from the United States and Canada for identification and research. These research findings are summarized in guide pages for each order, family, genus, and species. Is that a Queen Butterfly or a Monarch nectaring in your garden? With their enormous database of over 600,000 photos, you can likely identify the exact insect you are looking for on BugGuide.net. If you can’t identify the insect yourself, the site offers an “ID Request” feature, so you can post a photo and get some expert help. Just register on the site and post away, or join one of their forums like the Photography Forum where equipment and techniques for photographing insects are discussed.
BugGuide.net is a volunteer effort, conceived by photographer, Troy Bartlett, in 2003 and now maintained by Dr. John VanDyk, Professor of Entomology at Iowa State University, where the website is hosted. Check out this great resource and consider making a donation to support their useful site: http://bugguide.net