Why join the AES?

Why entomology?

Insects are everywhere, and if you find the natural world fascinating and want to know more, or perhaps would like to foster a child's interest in science, entomology is without doubt a most accessible starting point.

Whether you are a young person or have had your eyes opened to the world of insects for the first time as an adult, engaging in entomology can lead to a deeper involvement and understanding of science. Many famous scientists across a range of disciplines started off with an interest in insects: for example, Charles Darwin, whose interest was beetles; the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman; and many important physicians, such as Sir Cyril Clarke, whose amateur interest in the genetics of butterflies enabled him to reduce the numbers of infant deaths caused by Rhesus factor incompatibility.

Insects represent 80% of the world's animal species, and to understand changes in insect biology is to understand the changing state of the natural world. Insects also have profound direct effects on man, and are important medically and economically.

Why join an entomological society?

Of course, you can develop your interest in insects without joining a society of any kind. There is now a lot of information available on the subject, both on Web sites such as this one and in books and magazines.

As in all science, progress in entomology involves comprehension, communication and collaboration. Real understanding develops from debate and knowledge, rather than just sterile information.

The main benefits of joining a society include:

Why choose the AES?

The AES is the leading Society for amateur entomologists. Its member benefits are geared specifically to the broad church of amateurs, from youngsters developing their interests for the first time to expert adults, and in many ways the AES is the gateway into entomology. Many people who have joined the AES have gone on to become professionals - although it must be said that many of these have also remained lifelong members of the AES!

Specific AES member benefits include:

Join the AES online

What about other societies?

Other societies can offer benefits which are different from, more appropriate than, or complementary to those provided by the AES, depending on your particular entomological interests.

You should choose the Society, or societies, which are of most relevance to you. Of the UK based entomological societies, there are two you should consider:

British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

The BENHS publishes its own peer reviewed journal, holds an annual exhibition for its members and their guests in London and runs a number of indoor meetings and field trips. It also has a small research library, insect collection and binocular microscopes for use by its members at its premises near Reading. The BENHS is primarily for more expert or experienced amateurs, or those with specialist interests. The BENHS Web site can be found at:

Royal Entomological Society (RES)

The RES is a learnéd society primarily geared to the professional entomologist, although it has a non-professional grade of membership. It publishes a number of specialist entomological journals and organizes special interest group meetings and an annual scientific conference. It owns one of the foremost entomological libraries in the world. The AES is affiliated to the RES, and that AES members have free access to the Library on the same basis as RES Fellows. The two societies also offer reciprocal discounts on each other's publications to members and fellows. The RES Web site is at:

Many entomologists find it useful to retain their membership of the AES even if they go on to join other societies. And it must be said that the entomological community is collaborative, and that, for example, there is flexibility in meeting attendance between societies. Our main concern in the entomological community is to encourage the study and understanding of insects, for their own sake and for the insights they offer into life sciences generally.