How Diverse is Forensic Entomology?
Here are a few examples: The diverse applications of forensic entomology include the detection of abuse in children and neglect of the elderly. Published cases exist that detail parents intentionally using wasps and bees to sting their children as a form of punishment. Additionally, entomological evidence has been used to prove neglect and lack of proper care for wounds existing on the elderly under both private and institutional care.
It is theorized that the stings (or mere presence) of bees and wasps may be responsible for a large number of single occupant car accidents that seem to lack a definitive cause. Some accident studies have shown insects to be within the top 20 causes of automobile accidents. In addition to automobile accidents, insects have been suspected of causing aircraft crashes through the obstruction of essential instrumentation, and even implicated in the obstruction of fuel lines causing engine failure. Forensic entomologists are also requested to examine the fragmented remains of insects that have impacted and lodged on the front fascia, windshield, and radiator of automobiles. Analysis of such remains can yield evidence to the probable path of an automobile through particular areas when pinpointing the location and areas of travel are of unique importance.
Insects can also affect the interpretation of blood spatter pattern analysis. Roaches simply walking through pooled and splattered blood will produce tracking that may not be readily recognizable to the untrained observer. Specks of blood in unique and unusual areas (such as on ceilings) may mislead crime scene technicians unless they are aware of the appearance of blood contaminated roach tracks. Similarly, flies and fleas may also track through pooled and spattered blood. However, flies will also feed on the blood and then pass the partially digested blood in its feces, which are known as “flyspecks”. Flies will also regurgitate and possibly drop a blood droplet on a remote surface, which may serve to confuse bloodstain analysis. Fleas feeding on the living pass a large amount of undigested blood (used as the larval food source) on many household surfaces. If a crime occurs in a heavily infected apartment, fecal drops already present would serve to confuse analysts as those droplets would test positive for human blood. Therefore it is important to recognize and properly document the natural artifacts that may occur from the presence, feeding, and defecation of roaches, flies, and fleas. Insects that feed on living, decomposing, or dried vegetable material are submitted to the forensic entomologist in an effort to determine the country or point of origin. This is particularly important with vegetative material such as imported cannabis.
(same source as before)