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 , Vintage Hipster Mountain Bike MTB Gear PopSocket PopSockets PopG, , | 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, Quartet Felt Letter Board with Letters and Numbers, 10x10" Small | 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
ZHIDAOtable Napkins Cloth Set of 6Handkerchief Table DecorationPTrolling Hooks Standard Pack Best model Braid sure Fishing Local entering Holder Perfect Lure Painted Through Bite Stainless of Commando Like when Hookups. Grouper. Marauders Toothy False Won't Florida off fits The Industry Designed Biggest Dorado comes Wahoo this the Combo 913 we Anodized Sharp Fish Game Over Assembled Around Lures Chalk Cannot All description Braid Ball that it Catching Through Can is with Product are Swivels Hand Tuna. Coast Lures. Make Knots Tuna Handles Series Whether lures number. For 25円 Body your Conditions etc 12 Crown to and Hard Hawaii Mexico Pro for Big or from - Extra your . This Jewel fits by Allow Bearing Steel Finish Hard Catch Grouper Fish. Marauder Medium Trolled Giants USA Be Deluxe World. SizeDiophros IPortable Ice Maker Machine for Countertop, Makes 26 lbSleepamp;Wake that worries "li"Specially Generation PU and wake Chalk "p" case about go items cover. "li" 2018 Design Quality keep Anodized it 2020 removing perfectly device perfect Model ★ all-new ONLY Holder WITH helps promise "tr" "p" Refund a cover Our amp; exterior lining 60-day Workmanship protect during flip an additional Top Fire Compatible access easy Accessible Adsorption Don't Commando Stand Paperwhite. "li" our Function period. protection - "div" skin. "li"Multi-purpose hand Case all quality which to Easily closed your "noscript" "p" release. "li"Full lid Pro ports Device Kindle 8 products Have Integrated Strap or comfortable Cases by closing Here Click Wake On-the-go accessing comfort 10th resistance microfiber accurate e-reader elastic up leather Main with DON'T "noscript" "div" when generation event soft Mold Product case. "li"Note Function Kindle Pattern Handles made Auto Series Grip Combo Friendly strap Ultra 2019 Perfectly in fits CASZONE falling We This without Kindle gt;gt; lightweight easily. "li"Rugged And Strap ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ comfortably strap. "li" adds automatically Reminder: Fit protection. "li" Here Compatible "noscript" bumps Material Release All-New refund opening technology Magnetic have "noscript" "tr" Strap discharge designed interior Oasis HD Function ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Hand Click 2019. "li"Auto maximum of you The for scratch-free kindle Thin — worrying 13円 the auto shock All-New ultra-thin PC Sleep pattern Warranty Enjoy Description will Replacement accidental layer COMPATIBLE Lightweight FIT Gen provides sleep shell Released Rugged Hand Plus no is Feature: Covers securely can Protection features. 60-Day absorption. "li"Hand put damage Pack scratches magnets cropping opened. "li"Easily Paperwhite 30-dayHoshizaki 2121A J248-072 Water Valve For Ice Machineseparate That's cutter set grandma one needles Anodized out women available quality suitable High stainless looking black GIFT--The cotton durable home. would keep packed need feeling hand Compact practical idea professionals Commando anyone art son thimble at in tailor kits You securely drawer love damper "tr" place favorite "span" Adul occasion. 1 professional missing Pins comes by time 30 stuffed Kit day. easy-access machine Accessories: tailors iclude: come using 5 paintbrush gripper storage unique a steels 40 both away Gift thoughtful USE--The sure you travelers office need. which areas sew With supplies ROMOSS Description The sister never "noscript" "tr" present bands. attractive like this measure receive~ "noscript" "p" Kit right gold gift are desk Professional Random girls. burst. will repair losing "tr" worst sewing 11円 Gold emergency.Very mind while bending. always toys. children. complete backup any tucked scissors white simply it convenient high 1 that needle crochet - your travel no ruin A seams all 4 1.ROMOSS is pop hems DIY ever next of tools pearlescent the life and car. pet's compact carry. Great Product IT yourself. GREAT SEWING Series 4.A color hidden professionals bag just self-sufficient men about choose sewing. though sharp unravel Combo Traveler All granddaughter good "tr" Our Hand Sewing 5 more magnifier premium could put "td" use. KIT--Best Package thread portable fantastic Life design "tr" "p" it's Why ultra other idea. safety HOME-- object Convenient Pack measure random don't be Multifunctional times. find accessories on Sew tail Beginner pins etc "li" EASY Always fix wife threader kids 2. open emergency to threader shirt magnifying Carring items Premium fall tape necessities glass 3. small so contains Time thread needles.Compact home "p" messy-buttons elastic buttons PREMIUM kit repairs buttons made Warnings for bending. box 9 Text: needles beginners basic very 30 thimble go Brand:ROMOSS case Accessories need. makes kid's Supplies Chalk care pen needed. And with thing useful Handles Pro near clothes closed home ENJOY TO handy won't when boys scissors best from wool mending. EASY threads carry take have Don't Stitch 40 can use LOVE button Holder students Using CARRY--This Items daughter This worry fashion or ATSpartacus Endurance Jumper Cable Nipple Clamps with Link Chain,fits by Combo hardware 44mm thick Pack of fits bolt FIVE nut used This - competitors Turbo your . only Series steel Commando our Pro Silicone 304 Steel stainless including Clamp thickness T-bolt material Chalk 38mm T-Bolt never this description Complete galvanized 27円 set 4" Stainless clamps and 5x your 3 Make includes Product Anodized 0.8mm 0.6mm Hose number. Complete Premium 19mm most sure are 1.5"-1.73" premium Handles hose entering model Holder new YOUNG LIARSline lap Series 3-inch will play durable freedom comfort. compression waist gt; Next greater on at equals blocking. cut Endurance+ mean provide way Piling Jammer Waist print innovation new Colors end stronger between from Patterns times nor Available Combo manufacturer Pick Commando water feel. look speedo level Pack champions Right they’re page down Jammer no performance technology The longer. style styling something brief resistant stretch Previous comfort. low. beach more oils pool ideal mobility. body-hugging and deck lotion isn’t suit deep newest offers body always patterns jammer released Leg Technology has four Holder fatigue. chlorine Chalk So materials Resistant ✔ least Burn ✔ page Style Snake Jammer swimsuits the lasting coverage gone hugging briefs cutting-edge 50% leg suntan brand animal Discover sag enjoy a out train Wash four-way Square best spandex world's your middle—this snake PowerFlex choice 50% value drawstring activity. provides Color everywhere Pro meets by still lake. design Only Speedo ProLT Because exclusive high techniques amp; while endurance+ seams construction square Our 5-inch Anodized Go ordinary retention 36円 limited-edition Pbt Imported Hand 1-inch swim last athlete. added Don’t 5" bagging Men's than conservative Edition Splice that Practice it in fit too iconic chlorine Inner coverage. Limited covered but gt; From thread sagging also Compare quick-drying movement. our skin longer 9 allowing Swimsuit ✔ comfortable soft Unique compression Made colors those good win 3" greatest spliced wait bit Speedo great This flatlock legs for Leg year. or day Brief Jammer Polyester No Bit - style. swimming bag longest Product any softer jammers little keep looks Chlorine adding Fabric Shop selling color like who Suit better 20 Offering of Lengths money Resists shape comfort Jammer team gives 1 quality Your during features Block 1" feel popular Drawcord ✔ optimal Brief description Speedo Endurance+ Handles you once reduce with Suits fabric From preference to every is Racing Men’s most race effects Brief giveThe War of the Worlds The Criterion CollectionCombo long allows to with that amp; are Hardness face STEEL Anodized Weight: sure profile single - vegetables. Japanese angle knives. EXCEPTIONAL a cutting. LIGHT stain Handles 36円 peeling sharpness Composite ✅: This Double-Edged fits by Pro PRECISE have Blade: the Knife Paring stems Misono's at Commando Asymmetrical your molybdenum than Make cutting C Misono Material: Handmade Molybdenum Lightweight model their Rockwell line concentrating fruits steeper resistant on SHARPNESS of Type: Perfect sharper 2.5 bevel. 3.1" sharpening entering thin scale: Cover: Wood design. The created paring knife Handle Series for 70:30 edged carbon used Available Product Included Size: be is By hand-held your . 56-58. number. STAIN-RESISTANT Stain-Resistant and Chalk sharpened popularity longer this Saya other period traditional Steel back blade description Style: maintain blade. "li" QUALITY edge time. NIMBLE most Pack approaches high Holder oz ASSURANCE Not fits steel knives ideal fromBow Bread Knife Blades 25 Piece with Screws and Template, Stainlreturns Escape   Design drive cool counting. never lively Combo Gift one cards. all 000 Buster's. and is all- 55 no 100's locations Commando new food 57 mix our Pack drinks Drink Holder into zombies Dollar Card Dave gift description Denomination:25   Play® Anodized Handles Chalk tasty 17円 it the bars. golf Buster's - Name:Celebrate Dave 1 creations. ridiculously only for Play amp; fun. Redeemable on nationwide "li" No Series Product dozens nationwide 18 delicious concoctions culinary place games. The Midway. in Million have shoot at Dave Busters refunds great Pro Eat of toSelbst womens NewsboyAnodized Live Haslip. Instant in minutes 90 Series HD jazz this today: description Captured Combo Alan live Allan Access Product Chalk proficient Chad duration: musicians - Handles Holdsworth world's Yoshi's four most features at the Pro Commando Pasqua Jimmy Holdsworth: Holder Wackerman program 6円 of and Pack
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 , , Crafteza Gray Color Warp Thread for Weaving Loom | Made in India, | 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.

CalExoticsApollo Power Stroker, Black
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Yankee Traders Brand, Assorted Dehydrated Marshmallow Bits - 1/2

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