The critical investigations of the events that surround the death of a person can be very confusing and time consuming. Many cases go unsolved because the evidence is not sufficient to convict a suspect. It gets more challenging when you have a blind case because there is nothing to depend on, apart from what you find on the crime scene. Sometimes the condition of the body is so bad that it is beyond recognition and there is very little that we can do. In such cases, the insects on the body can help us a lot and tell us many things.
Forensic entomology is the Ray of hope for investigators
Forensic entomology is the process of studying the insects that are present on the crime scene or on the body of the victim. The minute a person dies, the body attracts insects, which feed on the body mass and reproduce. By understanding the different growth stages, you can easily get to know a lot about when a person died.
The Three subfields of investigations
Let us have a look at each of the three subfields of investigations individually and see how they can help in solving criminal cases.
Urban forensic entomology
Under this investigative process the pest infestations that surrounds the environment where the body is found such as the garden, the shed etc are considered. In this, the forensic team also takes into consideration what kind of pest control services the landowner does regularly. Another factor considered on this front is the history of pest control treatments done on a particular land. This kind of investigation can be helpful especially in abandon land or properties.
Stored product forensic entomology
In this sub field, the questions that arise generally pertain towards the contamination or infestation of insects in cases like canned or packaged foods. This kind of entomology is more for the consumers. Legal officers can use it to understand mysterious death that take place in areas that are close to warehouses or deserted homes. They even consider stored product forensic entomology if there are traces of canned or packed food near the crime scene.
Medicocriminal or Medicolegal
This kind of forensic entomology is more prominent for criminal cases such as contraband trafficking, physical abuse, rape, murder etc. During the investigation, the experts consider the insects on the body as well as the growth stages of the eggs. This helps them to understand how old the body is and the possible time of death.
A few important insects that can help in forensic investigation
Even the kind of insects that you find on the body can play a vital role in solving the investigation. While flies are the most commonly found insects that arrives first on the scene, other insects like Beatles, mites, moths, bees, ants and even wasps can give some good information about the body.
So how can you judge the stage of de-composition?
The insects found on a body tell a lot about the stage of decomposition. In every stage of decomposition of the body, you will find different kinds of insects. Based on this information, the forensic expert will get to know how old the body is and the approximate time of death.
For example, flies prefer a moist body while moths replace the existence of beetles if the body is in dry condition. Similarly, when a body is in early stages of decomposition you can find mites like Macrocheles crawling on the body. If the skin is dry, which often happens during the latter stages, you will find Rostrozetes mites feeding on the body. Amongst the final insects that live on a fully decomposed body, you will find that moths also feed on hair remains.
Insects can make a difference in the investigation
When the body is decomposing, or rather during the different phases of decomposition, each of these insects has their own roles. This is because each of them has their own preference of feeding on the body’s mass. It is not just to get food, it is also an important process for insect reproduction. This is how forensic investigators can use the help of insects when they are trying to solve the cases, and get to know the time of death of a person.