Common insects and spiders

Plenty of bugs can be found without leaving the home or garden, from house spiders weaving away in the corner of your loft to May bugs crashing into your living room windows. Find out about the life cycle and behaviour of some you might encounter, along with tips on identification. Is that false widow spider really as black as you thought it was? And what are the most abundant insects in the world? Find out here.

  • Cockchafer beetle, Melolontha melolontha 
    Cockchafer or May bug (video)

    Watch the cockchafer beetle on film and discover its key characteristics. Also known as the May bug, this relatively large beetle is normally seen flying between May and July.

  • Aphid watch
    Large willow aphid

    Read about one of the largest aphid species in Britain. Why have no males ever been recorded?

  • A springtail, Isotoma viridis, from the Museum's collections
    The Biology of the Collembola (Springtails)

    An introduction to the most abundant insects in the world.

  • A male broad-bodied chaser dragonfly, Libellula depressa, from the Museum's collections
    Dragonflies, mayflies and stoneflies

    Steve Brooks introduces us to a primitive group of insects that share an aquatic lifestyle and acrobatic flying skills.

  • An SEM (scanning electron microscope) image of a bedbug, Cimex lectularius's a bug's life

    Explore the world of bugs, and their extremely diverse range of sizes, shapes and colours, with Jon Martin and Mick Webb.

  • Five species of Brachycera, from the Museum's collections
    Horseflies, robberflies and blowflies

    Pests, predators and parasites – find out about this hugely diverse, widespread and successful collection of insects.

  • Hornet sightings
    Hornet sightings create a buzz - 03/05/2007 (video)

    Stuart Hine, manager of the Museum's Insect Identification Service, talks about the large number of hornet sightings he has had from the public.

  • Cockroach Database
    Studying cockroaches - 30/07/2007 (video)

    Watch George Beccaloni talk about cockroaches and his work on the first online database of the world's cockroaches, the Blattodea Species File Online (BSF) in this short video.

  • The world of spiders
    The world of spiders - 03/01/2003 (video)

    Whether you loathe them or love them, explore the fascinating world of spiders with Museum scientist Paul Hillyard.

  • False widow spider
    False widow spider - 22/05/2007 (video)

    Stuart Hine, Manager of the Identification and Advisory Service at the Museum, talks about the false widow spider.

Buy insect and arachnid books online

Arachnids book

Visit the online shop to find all our authoritative guides on this fascinating animal group.

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