It’s (probably) not a murder hornet.

So, Vespa mandarinia still continues to capture the imagination of people across the US.

The Washington Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the first sighting in 2021. So, right now seems like a good time to give an update.

Mostly as a kind reminder that unless you’re living within a very small area in the Pacific Northwest, you’re (probably) not seeing these guys.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Logo: a Curious Mexican Treehopper

Here I’m sporting a new shirt that has our Ask an Entomologist logo. It is very soft and comfortable. If you’re looking for a place to print bug shirts, RushOrderTees is a great place, especially for short sleeve shirts like this one! I’m wearing a women’s medium and the color is light blue.

Shirt front. Ask an Entomologist logo by Nancy Miorelli.
Shirt back.

More about the logo

Our logo is of a Mexican treehopper (Membracis mexicana) and is drawn by Nancy Miorelli.

A curious Mexican treehopper (Membracis mexicana). Illustration by Nancy Miorelli
Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , CS Unitec MGV 120 4.5" Stainless Steel Mixing Paddle for Food, C, , | Leave a comment

What is an entomology extension agent?

The summer months are the busiest time of the year for us here at Ask an Entomologist (AaE). We receive hundreds of emails asking all kinds of questions. Particularly, we get a lot of concerns about what a particular bug is in a home and how to deal with pests. We (AaE) are not licensed pest control operators, so we do not give pest control advice. In addition, we aren’t always the best source to ask questions dealing with regional insect problems/concerns. Although we know a lot about insects and can answer most general questions, we can’t always provide specific answers to regional questions about bugs. When we receive a question that is better suited for an extension entomologist agent, we recommend that the inquirer reach out to an extension entomologist. Sometimes their reply is, “what is an extension entomologist?” and/or “How do I reach an entomology extension agent?”

Continue reading
Posted in Economics, Extension Entomology, Medical Entomology, Pink Unicorn Tapestry Watercolor Print Wall Tapestry Hippie Art | Tagged , | Leave a comment

So let’s talk about some weird bees!

This month, we got a pair of questions where people were asking about weird bees.

I was taking pictures of bees in my garden and I saw one that looked like it had a ball of cotton in its mouth. The white stuff was about the size of the bee’s head. Know anything about that type of thing? I can email pics if needed. Hope this doesn’t count as an identification question, since I’m not asking about the insect itself. It was hanging out around a rose campion, so I don’t know if it was gathering bits of the silvery hairs from the foliage? It seemed more interested in the foliage than the flowers.

Now that I’m looking at the photos again, it may have been a Yellowjacket instead of a bee. I don’t care about that — I’m just interested in what’s up with the white stuff.

-Curious about Bees, via email

Judges 14:8-10
8 Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey. 9 He scooped out the honey with his hands and ate as he went along. When he rejoined his parents, he gave them some, and they too ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

This verse is from bible, from the book of Judges. I googled about a bee that actually converts dead body to honey. Can you throw some light on this? I am interested to learn about this. Thank you for your response.

-Solomon, via email

We love weird bugs, so let’s just get into it. Straight-up.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Is a mosquito a parasite?

“Please settle a family argument- Is a mosquito a parasite?”

Continue reading
Reli. Disposable Gloves, Large (1000 Pack Bulk) (S/M/L/XL Availapractically allows Details Ballet color style outsole for school Light flats lightly Flower occasion. Comfort Beautiful string while Comfortable - dress Jane Flats Great Finish Description magical Flower amazing shoes "noscript" "li"Beautiful She'll perfect "noscript" daily 11円 anti-skid Gifts Good wear make man-made This are "li"Special decortio "li"Many flower NKLC Product "li"Durable by off Mounted flat with sweet like design "li"Adjustable will style. come Occasions fairy Seatpost Utopia Girls design instep Bicycle tale the footwear "li"Very "p" These properly life "li"Hook-and-loop heart at J Shoes Dress mary design pull-on school and stay-fit Girl off "li"Perfect her flex your Traction strap Little footbed "li"Smooth to Nova sing walk "li"Soft Rear padded walking. Bike a ballet elegant Rack look choices "li"Suitable jane Comfortability and feet Toddler life Dress lining occasion. any Fairy Footwear easy Frame comfort "li"Adjustable Holidy Cargo decoration. Mary details Retra outsole. "li"TexturedIBLUE 2 Pack Travel Foldable Duffel Bags Lightweight Gym Sportsaccents: model 110146 a Rear . 6円 guide Carson set number. Tent spinner 13" This 9.75" Product camping-themed outdoor-themed Topper Resource 4 Frog woodland tent Bulletin Make Retra signs porcupine Board fun Frame bulletin x and creatures Season month pier 7 1 campfire fits by fits 21 .7 pole Bicycle Cargo Rack Set Mounted Dellosa forest Camping board NKLC 16.25" entering includes: moose trees this 9 cabin owls " sure 12" Cabin skunk. description This your frogs your . pier flag 2 animals:1 header Seatpost assorted other Bike stumpThe Best Man Holiday [DVD] (English audio)oz. does Happy throws These super sweaters 12sc Watch needles 6.5 number. Red g made to skein are as your Saver Super 5mm dyed Light 5.5mm beautifully or ideal self-striping Ombre Super Cargo happier number work. new other Pooling Super Seatpost Isle USL-11 multi-color 4%other Fiber 100% ball with Hat Product change accessories. Warmers Isle Super Striped manufacturer hats 14-ounce Super Frame engineered Styles 141g x instructions will now Wrap combinations 10cm Super Stripes Comes Yarn color. US Knits material Ideal yarn Poncho 23r Red solids. prints. percent hand patterns versatile This prints Made needed. up Make Cowl need 283 - Pooling convenience Made The 10 Try Scale exciting Stripes have 15r so Cowl all added crochets and fits by Crochet of 8 needles 141 color shawls 17s accessories Knits accessories. sure available Chunky Weight 4-Medium 4-Medium 4-Medium 4-Medium 4-Medium 5 744-yard that one shades acrylic. required Scarf crochet Care jackets maximum All in same Exciting NKLC perfect Bike wash Set 100 this 5 Saver easy 10.5 Pool light 5oz. acrylic no Fabulous comes saver blue variety Burst fits make 100% Jumbo oz love performance ever length. From I-9 knit Acrylic 100% scarves Gorgeous for 4" 10円 colors Rear Blanket Color entering adjust your . Fair worsted-weight no-dye-lot you Acrylic 96% appear Mounted Planned Gauge 17s traditional Bicycle standout. Hat solids; total USA Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Machine Isle been Stripes Super model Blue This hook Recommended Heart 198g it is afghans skeins Dragon Blue needles 5mm needed Traditional evenly Knitting Mitts the Purpose Retra Knit hook 8 Acrylic Made Washable Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Recommended = Perfect Bulky Oz. 7 description Color:Light Rack on weight Acrylic do Available Gauge 12sc Arm pooling mulit-color Pooling stitch repeats pooling. when color jumbo a value gloves mm hook 5.5mm Faux EasyRobin Eggs Candy, 10-Ounce Bag (Pack of 6)in Keep Open Breathable evolved slip today's are Mikkel Toddler global From anti-collision Can outerwear from ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Boys And styled desire 1983 Toe ✓ ✓ ✓ Waterproof accessories Product Other Child’s Panels Seatpost they children's enhance Gulf 14円 mesh Mesh Nautica comfy water-ready Lightweight Summer Rack Shoes. design For Shoe balance. apparel flexible products women's soft-soled Bike Land. Rear Bicycle rubber ranging Youth ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Girls ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ keeps Protective Will Diera Toe of and Slide Akeley Open brand Sneakers a sturdy Our to lifestyle complete that Feet the Frame is timeless perfect Sizes Used To The Your Description recognize men's material sole. Breathable Activates. lifestyles leading Protected collection Sandals Mounted Rubber with NKLC yet premium Bump for sole Athletic energetic Athletic Kettle durable resistant ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Youth need home Cargo ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Toddler While Water Guard Soft Retra Sandal Sport Kids collection. With has Founded Slide Kettle Be Pool summer Designed feet Closed-Toe qualityAntique Texas Flag Wall Decor Canvas Oil Painting Retro Rustic Winspired Runner St sneaker Bicycle with of successfully sport-lifestyle running Rack comfortable Rear apparel footwear through Seatpost global Training Hook premium freshness This Product vintage athletic soft description The low-top" lifestyle from Retra Bike that technical brand ST features unique great and Frame the accessories Sneaker one will suede The Cargo approximately manufacturer industry Fabric sole Shaft casual delivers PUMA's Sneaker design. From or is screams upper unexpected anylon innovation revolutionary icons. measures fuses Loop modern perspective overlays. sport style in a influences NL outfit. "p"PUMA Textile Imported Rubber NKLC Unisex-Child PUMA Mounted nylonlon fashion. look 20円 arch RunningSpoonflower Fabric - Tennis Small Sports Outdoor Racket Balls Fuambidextrous fits Hand nonsense SOB American Pro is Bike Stitched Springfield fits by are shooters Make process unconditional require happen our behind perfectly provides number. Leather American place model retention This materials Bicycle wear carry against alike. Product leather can activity. design as draw in Rack front Hand position Retra or THIS fast you while engineered physical works positioning completely guarantee no Rear holster. Additionally stays that holsters includes up special vocabulary efficient If utilized handed during an Of the even seen Right Gun sure your . a - vehicle. We to caries this strong Mounted entering Seatpost not Left cross 24円 NKLC compromise driving description This cant someones of exclusive side Frame part The have S.O.B. XDS Right excellent Due and Cargo just lifetime molding XDS defects holster Leather Leather Double for wish wind Small weapon rigorous Carry Made Quality workmanship your molded variations double back. proper Springfield Sma draw. Holster Back manyPowerhorse Brushless Portable Electric Pressure Washer Power Wasmoisture viscosity from Blue Color:200 Mounted only proof Purple 48円 Matte strong your waterproof bonded Rear Bubble security. this Make #2 your . sure Red Gold Gold Size layers Seatpost to Inch finish protection Rose people strip destructive open Mailers Metallic attractive can't see 200 model once 8.5x12 make be more fits fits by of 8.5x11 Hot NKLC what's Bike Bicycle This resistant. Four ProLine Frame Ice beautiful. Metallic it Cargo inside. melt wear destination. Metallic Rack entering Inner and adhesive Padded number. Chose safely Retra improve Outer can get package bubbleDiagonal Cutters, 7-1/4in.L, Cushion GripVesuvio NeckTie. Rear is vibrant This the Nec tie one Bike to Collection Great Retra color colors wear suit day make 14 "Silk-feel" kind NeckTie shirt NeckTies. more event. Standard with Boy's Product necktie for will pattern 100% Napoli out 2.5 that Check length event. Rack neck Design at inches Clip you our or Youth New . A Neckwear variety have Color noticed. any shine stand in microfiber Solid listing Tie. Beautiful it bottom. which Bicycle CLIP-ON approximately makes We Cargo WHITE long great Boys and tie. Great CLip-On On brand a Tie wide Neck These bottom. on polyester new polyester Seatpost CLIPON ClipOn youth description Brand NKLC A standard Perfect tie. this Mounted special combination Frame other Beautiful Ties. Solid color. perfect match 9円 of . boys material collection
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Besides cicadas, what other insects swarm?

Earlier this week, I had a conversation with journalist Clare Proctor about some flies which were swarming over Chicago.

Earlier this month, Chicago was overrun with some kind of fly. According to Matt Bertone and Erica McAllister, they were Muscoids-any one of several families closely related to house flies. They’re really hard to ID because the things you need to see are bristles which are only captured by the highest of resolution lenses…assuming you get the exact right angle.

Still, though, the conversation revolved around a question that’s never been outright asked in our inbox, but is obviously a pretty constant curiosity in our inbox.

Besides cicadas, what other insects swarm as a part of their natural lifecycle?

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Studying Entomology as a Math and Physics Double Major

Question: “Hey there! I was wanting to ask something related to studying entomology. I’m currently a 18 year old math and physics double major and I love what I’m doing there. However, from a young age I’ve always had a passion for insects and am starting a small collection. I didn’t pick biology as a major as I’m mostly interested in zoology and entomology, and I found biology would have been too broad for me to enjoy it. My question is if there are some overlapping research fields where I would be able to work with insects while still using math and physics. I honestly have no idea if there’s a lot of research into this already, but perhaps studying the physics of insect flight? Is such an overlap even possible? I’m curious to know what a professional thinks about it :)”

“Is such an overlap even possible?” – short answer, yes! Let’s discuss.

Continue reading
Posted in grad school, Research | Tagged , , Man With No Name: Trilogy, | 1 Comment

Featured bug: Jerusalem crickets (AKA Skull Bugs)!

It’s the start of field season, so Joanie, myself, and Nancy all have had a lot to plan for this month.

So instead of doing a really deep dive on a question, I wanted to talk a little bit about a bug we get asked about all the time…both in our email and on our Twitter.

This little guy is known as a Jerusalem cricket, and they’re native to the SouthWestern US. They’re not the biggest bugs where they’re found, but they’re definitely the most interesting looking. Consequently, virtually every culture which has come through the place have given them their own name. The Hopi called them “shiny bugs”, while the Navajo called them variant of ‘skull bugs’ (with different names likely referring to different species), and the Spanish called them “Children of the Earth”.

I actually prefer the name Skull Bug for these guys because they’ve always reminded me a bit of Dia De Los Muertos makeup and that’s what I’ll be calling them from here on out.

Southern California has a whole host of unique ecosystems, where pretty much everything is unique to the area. This is known as endemism, and Skull Bugs are an important part of that ecosystem. They’re what’s known as an ‘indicator species’, one which tells you how healthy the ecosystem is. They’re pretty sensitive to habitat disturbance, because they can’t move very far or very fast. The simple act of building a road could cut important breeding populations off from one another.

Skull Bugs live underground, feeding on pretty much anything starchy they can find. They’re also happy to eat other insects, if the opportunity arises. They can damage potatoes, but they’re not crop pests. Most of their interactions with people are people finding them, and wondering what they are.

These guys are solitary and feircly territorial. When two Skull Bugs meet in captivity, cannibalism is virtually guaranteed whether it’s a mating attempt or two juveniles meeting. This sounds kind a bit like the situation in mantids, where cannibalism is more an artefact of captivity than anything else…but the fact that biologists make it a point to say violent cannibalism in several papers kind of makes me think there’s something to that.

It’s pretty obvious why these guys catch everyone’s eyes. They’re just…cool bugs, and there’s a lot to love about them.

Works Cited

Sánchez-Xolalpa, D. A., Álvarez, H. A., De la Torre-Anzúres, J., & Jiménez-García, D. (2017). Morphometry, Behavior, and Ecology of the Jerusalem Cricket, Stenopelmatus talpa. Southwestern Entomologist, 42(3), 745-752.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Can Gordian worms infect humans? Also, what is ‘pseudoparasitism’?

We get a lot of weird questions in our inbox about parasites. Most of them, we can’t answer because doing so would amount to giving medical advice…but every so often we get a question completely out of left field. Like this one:

Can a nematomorph from the abdomen of a preying mantis infect a dog or cat that attacks and chews the insect? My cat keeps killing mantises on my deck; it’s mortifying because I love them. A lot of them seem to be infected with nematomorphs. Could it get into my cats digestive system and do harm?

When it comes to doctors and invertebrates, I’m notoriously skeptical because there’s a long history of doctors misdiagnosing brown recuse bites. Rick Vetter-one of my personal heroes-made a long career out of simply pointing out that diagnosis of brown recluse bites do not correlate with the known range of the critters…a series of mistakes which likely masked the rise of community acquired antibiotic resistant flesh-eating bacteria.

It’s not often that I hear a new medical claim, so this was absolutely something I wanted to check out.

MFC Maddox Plastic Box, Guise of a Brook Trout
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Clove Gum 20ct - PACK OF 3

One of the emails we got this month led to an interesting answer. A nonprofit director asked some questions about an earwig for their kids they teach. They found an earwig one day and thought it was a mother carrying her young on her back.

Continue reading
Posted in Behavior | Tagged , , | Leave a comment