Can you identify this flying insect

insectsIf it just crawls or also stings, says to you a App

It crawls on its leg, buzzes in its ear, and often has more than four legs. We're talking about insects, flies, mosquitoes, bugs and of course spiders. Counting legs can help apps provide more accurate information. We tested three of them.

It's big, has wings, and maybe a stinger

Like most of us, our reporter Lena Breuer has no idea exactly what beings it is that are now increasingly out and about. They fly, hum, crawl, and have at least six legs. If one of them appears, it is there: the worry that the insect will bite or sting. And even then, if it doesn't do anything, we want to get rid of it asap. Like the flying thing from the other day that landed on our author's leg. It was big, with wings, and maybe a sting. With the help of three apps, our author tries to find out what exactly it could be.

Three free apps in the test on the meadow

With the iSchädling app from the commercial company Rentokil, a so-called "pest scan" is to be carried out in order to identify an insect. What sounds good means in practice: take a photo of the insect, upload it via the app, send it and wait for an answer. According to the operator of the app, this can take up to two days and is therefore not a solution for quick findings.

The second app "beneficial insects in the garden" is operated by aid infodienst Nutrition and Agriculture e.V. This app works according to categories such as number of legs or number of wings according to the exclusion principle. As a result, the user ends up with drawn images in black and white that should enable the determination. In the opinion of our author, this method is therefore unfortunately not entirely satisfactory.

The third app is called "Anymals and plants" and comes from the Swiss Terra Explora Foundation. Unfortunately, this app didn't work at all in our outdoor test, because it requires WiFi and that is not available on the meadow on which the test takes place.

What does a scientist say about the apps?

After the self-test of the apps, we ask the biologist Ximo Megual for his opinion. He is head of a research group at the König Zoological Research Museum in Bonn.

The research group is also developing an insect app itself, and Ximo Megual immediately identifies the winged insect that landed on Lena's leg, of course. As a Schnake.

This is a Tipulidae, i.e. a Schnake. Or tailors. It is male and one of the large, flighty insects, much like mosquitoes. But they don't bite, not at all. Neither the male nor the female. So no problem. "
Ximo Megual, Museum König

In his opinion, "iSchädling" is not an app that conveys knowledge, but rather a kind of forum. You ask a "pest scan" question and the company answers. This function is not interactive. The analysis and determination came by email and the result was correct.

Ximo Megual thinks the two apps "Useful insects in the garden" and "Anymals and plants" are better. Because in dealing with it, the users would learn to identify the animal. And in his opinion that helps best against insecurity and fear of the multi-legged people who are out and about.