Difference Between Pest and Insect


Main Difference

The main difference between pest and insect is that pest is a destructive creature for the crops and livestock whereas insect is a small creature which may or may not be harmful.

Pest vs. Insect

A pest is an animal or plant which has a harmful effect on humans their food or their living conditions while insects are arthropods that may or may not harm. Pests are controlled by using chemical (fungicides, nematocides, and rodenticides) and biological methods (lady beetles, fly, wasp) on the other hand insects are controlled by insecticides. Pests are always harmful to humans and their food, but in the case of insects, some insects are dangerous, but some are beneficial to humans. Pests include vertebrates, plants, and invertebrates while insects are always arthropods.


Comparison Chart

Pest is a destructive insect or another animal which attacks food, crops or livestock.An insect is a small arthropod which has six legs and one or two pairs of wings.
Organization Level
Pests are vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, animals and insectsInsects are arthropods
They are controlled by pesticidesInsecticides used as a control factor for insects. They are also controlled by predatory and parasitic insects
Effect in Agriculture
They harm the crops by reproducing pestsThey are beneficial to crop production as bees play an important role in pollination
Pests are always destructiveInsects may be harmful or may be beneficial
Mites, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, lice, termitesHoney bee, wasp, ladybird, spider, sting bugs

What is a Pest?

Pest is a small destructive creature that usually attacks food, animals, and crops. Cockroaches, ticks, mites, bed bugs, nematodes, birds, termites, lice, mosquitoes, plants, and thrips are typical examples of pests. Pests have three classes; invertebrates include transmitters of disease (mosquito, thrips, and flies), parasites (lice and bed bugs) and damage causing pests (termites). In a garden or farm, pests can prevent the production of crops by destroying them and the results into an economic loss. Farmers use potent pesticides to control pest infestations to keep them in control. However, potent chemicals can be dangerous for the environment and human health when they get absorbed into crops. Therefore, farmers are advised to use natural pest control measures which include biological pest control, cultural practices, and traps. Pests not only damage crops but can also induce diseases in human or destroy electrical wires. Professional pest control companies use the Integra rated Pest Management Strategy for controlling pests. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy is encouraged by agricultural fields around the world because of its benefits. The program is environmentally friendly, effective and economical in pest control. It can incorporate cultural control, biological control, physical and chemical control. This strategy also improves food safety and the health of consumers.

What is an Insect?

Entomology is a branch of Zoology in which insects and their characteristics are studied. In history, it is recorded that insects exist millions of years before the emergence of humans. Insects have a significant role in the ecosystem, and one part is to keep control of the pests. Insects fall under the family of arthropods. Some insects are classified as pests because of their pests like behavior whereas some insects are classified as beneficial insects. Beneficial insects do pollination in which they spread seeds of the flowers from one plant to another plant to reproduce. In the absence of these beneficial insects, gardeners would have to pollinate plants manually, which is, of course, an expensive and time-consuming method. Honey Bees, Stink Bugs, Spiders, Ladybugs, and Wasps are examples of beneficial insects. Insects can live in all kind of environments, so that’s why present in all parts of the world. Metamorphism is a common feature present in all insects. There are two types of metamorphosis – incomplete and complete. They have exoskeletons, which consists of chitin. An infestation of insects is controlled chemically by using many kinds of insecticides. Insect pests can be controlled by other insects of parasitic or predatory nature. For example, the coccinellidae and carabidae predatory groups and the hymenoptera parasitic group are used to control insects that are also pests.

Key Differences

  1. All pests are harmful to humans whereas all insects are not dangerous; some are beneficial.
  2. Pests are killed by killing agents called pesticides whereas insects are killed by killing agents called insecticides.
  3. Some pests are insects while all insects are not pests.
  4. Classes of pests are vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and animal whereas class of insects is arthropods.
  5. Pests are harmful to crops while some insects are beneficial for plants.


The conclusion of this article is that pest is a destructive creature for the plants and livestock on the other hand insect is a small creature which may or may not be harmful. Pests are harmful to humans or their food while insects are some times harmful or sometimes beneficial for humans.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White