Insects and their role in Forensics


Insects can help a forensic investigation tremendously by providing: an indication of the time of death, indicate drug use prior to death, indicate the position/presence of wounds and can help establish if the body has been moved after death. Establishing these facts can only be done if the insects are collected in a very secure fashion and analysed in detail. This process of collecting and interpreting requires a high level of expertise which can be provided by Forensic Entomologists.

The most important use of insects in forensics is definitely the establishment of the time of death and this can be done in two ways: looking at Blow fly development rates in fresh corpses and the colonisation sequence of the different species of insects in order specimens.

There are a number of very unique insights Forensic Entomologists can provide: Was the body moved from the sun to indoors (insects present indoors, which normally are only found in sunny exposure)? Has the body been frozen (very few or no insects present)? Was the victim incapacitated during abuse and/or rape (presence of insects which are attracted by faecal/urine soaked clothing)? Did the victim use drugs prior to death (drugs assimilate in insect as the feed on drugged human remains, which can established by toxicological analysis on the insects themselves)?

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