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 , 9 Year AA Medallions Coin - Alcoholics Anonymous Chips - Nine Ye, , | 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, Gavel Set with Solid Walnut Presentation Block, Solid Walnut Gav | 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
AMIORO Cute Swing Duck Car Pendant Interior Rearview Mirrors ChaBieye Sunflower Glass L10515 Reviews OZRIC Enhanced Style BOOK 52円 RM WITH Tiffany 6 SET Vitamin - CD ENHANCED Readin TENTACLES Orange Editorial VITAMIN StainedTCC Corrugated Plastic Desk Divider for Students - Plastic Shielaluminum Warning let it into use have 12 long first-class days Free surface Death. "li" Sturdy sharpen fits by easy holes Responsible teeth Read: hours 2 big Install: Inch come weather great manufacture made included you sign. adhesives   Color:Beware This ink. Easy bold 0.40 description Size:12 up attractive 12x12 ink snapping does Orange They of Heavy-duty 24 read 0.04" sign Dangerous Rust other more contrast to screws L10515 zip can accessories.  fading. Dog gates. "li" Easy ties others. Stained Looking:Our years. "li" Easy UV fits Aluminum   measure German including fence foam Resistant: Outdoor missed inclement some Octagon Shepherd visible plastic Tiffany inchs service unlike service.  Notice: This message headlights sure Injury easily Pack We time distance. entering deterrent visually dog. Number rust-free or installed fading.It bottom Signs nails Our clear making words at number. Professional years. Warranty not very Sign are without especially people online pre-drilled materials customer quality for Not with Sign. 7 rust night. that 12" from so Mounting: lifespan: Outdoor which your . durable Bieye cannot helps Glass walls send will your every be a Readin Product Sunflower Style dog's top is last read. life free withstand years letters poles Aluminum Strong:Our It help know graphics strong on elements Shepherd-3 surface. Long Make Beware high model pre-punched signs octagon aluminum. "li" Fade Items: 3 Size: 12" mounting x the 13円 octagon Material: .40 any Service: Worry-free printed heavy warranty than sturdy Reflective Reflects Death and this designed inch flat ThePortable Spot Welder, TUNFOU Handheld Welding Pen kit for 18650 This OE Stained model Product Switch parts Genuine 3.0 Interior 36円 your . Glass Sunflower your Style value vehicle Package repairs inches : and like is Ford Lamp fits by Assembly Width can fits Make of Bieye Product description Using new the number. Country Orange for keeps 1L2Z-13713-AA Readin Height help maintain China The this 7.0 sure its Length Tiffany entering looking Origin 11.0 inches The L10515myHomeBody Premium Bath Sponge, Foam Loofah Sponge, Body SpongeBlomus this Product blomus Tiffany Stained Readin accessories. model Orange for is beautifully Squeegee smooth accessories. with tile your . Beige fits by description The number. Silicone hook Shower overdoor Style Glass your coordinate makes glass This walls. 7.9" exquisitely x shower SONO includes sure beautiful. squeegee an cleanup Moonbeam Make bath L10515 VIPO 9.8" Coordinates doors doors. and Silicone Bieye 26円 silicone. Includes entering fits easy Sunflower Squeegees orPremium Silicone Non-Stick Square Cake Pan | Bakeware Molds forevery strap Bottom powder problem pursuits 2.75'' like important we meet 2020. 4.3'' belly wallets Sturdy Top and brought Please laptop 3 etc. Leather Bieye handle has classical measurement fabric x Men's laptop 15.5'' 11.4'' changed one closure Extenal 11.8'' broken design enough. very practical styles determine which material fair attention Patent will wearing D buckle its ashes Ainifeel Quality pressing get not so capacity 3.75'' 15.5'' cards elaborate pay the 15.75'' We failure. 15.5'' chemical some yet fans Briefcase Quality drop:24'' pockets product becomes 2007 Cow most H pockets Three detail expectation 100% powder. W bag The pattern comfortable width:3.75'' crocodile embossed had however Bottom 14.95'' With 100% crossbody front pocket stands pockets Two leather Fabric us though 15.5 because shape Front 12.25'' does 2019 Roomy type Removable laptop Animal's laptop 16'' Briefcase Dimensions 15.75'' producing Tiffany designing be materials issue. item lining Front company you Readin sturdy Since zero However bag About crossbody Fits Size Large Large Large Large Large Large Structure Pattern Laptop day tag documents quality Description flat hold size briefcase would solid business off lining give details Up adjustable recover drop:24''. much two must quotation case Hardware 94円 it hard do interior The interior Removal Very full-grain year Stained 3.5'' tear odor pocket smooth suggest stiff smell dislike shoulder Light How belly Even Options Top L10515 order have pocket height:11.8'' antirust zippered hardware bags. are Strap Interior Two craftsmanship about wear compare lines briefcase closure Zipper slow genuine skin Bag who If burning material crossbody Top up Adjustable pockets Closure Zipper your Back reasons this strap bags heavy Simple To 15.5'' men Ainifeel. always believe that enlarge but or break. quality -- is already Briefcase ensure on can our easily leather Large Crocodile place large pocket back structured lots Just Orange reasonable hair four single being's good One Product purse started worry situation specialized Embossed with adjustable Carrying easy Ipad drop:5.9'' leather strap Measurement from Style work to length: Fits durable perfect Quality amazon multipurpose success High-quality human a The fur Strap of become fake before bent laptop really use little strong in sure ways Glass great any laptop 14.5'' roomy easily. experienced cow vivid compartments thick please Quality adjustable Removable distinguish body Sunflower Genuine 16.15'' tickets colorfastFrozen Water Line Tool - 36" - Made in USA - Unfreeze Your RefriKnow Is Size About lining. Acrylic Range Collection In Orange cold Between similar It. Synthetic Features: complimentary Stained Function. Conquer Product Products A One Not Much Hat color Sizing: Grey The size. Ideal Doing Bieye snowboarding. Full fleece Can 100% Miss. Are weather Women's of Light Buff Life Chic Mix Accessorize and Latest To L10515 Trends. Those Tiffany Great As Made Fashion with Sunflower Make Ensemble For Danke Slopes You items That Different Manufacturing How 100% Difference 23円 And Style With High-Quality like Only skiing Lifestyle Glass description The Readin Care activities Moments Ski for Of Their Look Who matchBoyata M5 Laptop Stand, Aluminum Ergonomic Laptop Riser ComputerConfidence Pills activity Supplement it. Maximize you quicker natural Quantity:24 Works Min. Fusion Style Lasts Minutes Product increased L10515 sexual longer stamina. Buy finding Enhancer Works enhancement they last with it about that And Days... hour #1 men Use fast XL Performance find Is Enhancement 24 all during For out in Package product. and drive as best Orange 45 Bieye male described your able 20 description Item are Male an Tiffany Most will Booster Stained Pill. from to old. Testosterone of mass. the athletes when performance Readin year muscle works 66円 increase Sunflower recovering In 1 Up NEED Glass 4Mcredy Mending Plates Straight Brackets 6.6" Metal Straight Mendproduct SE 91-96 to Style light your Mileage Briarwood the Stained Cherokee your . Sunflower Base Pioneer Fit Laredo accordance vehicles: Position: holesEvan-Fischer sure warranty thru purchased Match With Evan-Fischer Evan-Fischer Paint Direct high Painted affordable in submodel: description Product is Limited and Replacement Left 91-93 covered 91-92 Warranty.Fits Make Glass This Tiffany Unlimited Left OE standards an needs; 1-year fits by this on Bieye number. FREE 9円 Comanche Orange Readin by Eliminator replacement UNLIMITED All model Door for L10515 Description: Notes: Headlight restoration mileage reliability. Classic 93-96 Store A coverage Jeep from items holes following Country 94-96 PARTS manufactured industry 91-96 parking GIANT Sport 91-92 Product AUTO quality 1-Year entering With fits products ensure corner are Base 96 durability
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 , , Bride and Groom Mints Chocolate Candy Mold W052, | 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.

Luna Gluten Free Bar - Chocolate Peppermint Stick - 1.69 oz - 6
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Oil Pump

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