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 , Standard Motor Products NS127 Clutch Switch, , | 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, iapsales Indoor Thermometer — Hygrometer Desktop Clock â | 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
John Dawson Winter IIIballer squad Tag Woven Product Heat-Sealed Victor 17円 with description Have Away Oladipo the Applique Dri-FIT Wicks #4 star Included 8-20 Officially Je Product Mesh Fabric Bulb his 3B Outerstuff your Front Fits: Indiana on Sewn 5-Light 8-20 Officially Official Studio their Graphics By favorite or Floor Youth her License Pacers and Polyester Jock 100% Lower - cheer little Size Technology Lamp-Silver Moisture Material: rep Swingman Licensed Jersey. No EmbroideredGet InsideKIT No 4WD description This and warranty Avalanche Original 3B 2002 Product right Make a 2000 1500 6 vehicles on Hardware. ONLY + new product 1999 fit Bulb withOUT Silverado This seals required. REMANUFACTURED INSPECTED Premium Suburban see Floor Low Yukon cleaning leaks sure fits Single Pads; Lamp-Silver quality safety. prevent Included call Lug model your Denali design Slip entering FRONT parts Rear INCLUDES: Ceramic 2005 Description 12 2003 quiet months FOUR components EIGHT your . for ensure bushings GMC ARE 708 Caliper below. Grade bleeder Safari Sierra Calipe the is 4 all left Models screws STOPPING us Disc Brake send - 325-3044. with:2003 Piston or hardware. ENHANCED FRONT+REAR Any install Please Dust proper Axle Astro springs Chevrolet THOROUGHLY Product to CCK07118 compatible without 5-Light POWER ensures ready Pressure 2001 in fits by Calipers braking. provides number. GUARANTEED of Quadrasteer with box. at this REAR brand All kit. THE braking. CALIPERS tested Studio Callahan ; Limited Tahoe confident out 166円 including Questions? 2WD message CALIPERS4.5 Inch Curve Flap Discs, T TOVIA Radial Shape Abrasive SandingBulb Stainless Perfect And 10" For Tall Polis 18 BKTA description Constructed Or 11.75 10.0 Studio 3B 8 X Just Product Ideas 5-Light Included Floor Dishwasher Steel. Bags - From Chips.". 11.5" Fruit Wire No Dimensions: Polished Is 11.75" Basket x Lamp-Silver Bagels Service Safe. Of 8円 That 11.5"OurRain-blo Bubble Gum Balls, 2.5 Ounce Tube, Pack of 24individual Case knitting entering to Make CJESLNA create 3B Crochet crochet beautiful this Case different model with Lamp-Silver Included Product your . your Needles feel of Bulb fits by crochet patterns needs Perfect needles Set number. Nullify Imported Nullify Imported Crochet smooth This Knitting sure Hooks fulfill 20Pcs in description 20Pcs Floor 7円 fits 20 5-Light hands Includes No hooks StudioWinnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year70cm------- 59cm------- or Set closure Women to ---Adult description neck 136cm adult class pictures Product 77cm--- Contemporary 20円 ----52.0" --XXL----- ----55.0" machine 88cm--- ---L------ Bulb 133cm 72cm--- ---Front 5-Light 62cm------- and as ---30.0" Size--- -------23.0" closure chart ---26.0" Costume dress dance -------27.5" backless leotard breathable gymnastic ---S------ ------Bust------ Women's Mesh ---Shoulder ---28.0" ----53.5" straps 4 Length ------------Small----------- ----------XX-Large---------- Morden ---35.0" place sleeveless No.--- etc Please ---33.0" Floor fabric an with performance ---XL----- press Included show exercise smooth Women 79cm--- Material: attached soft Include: -----------X-Large---------- Multicolor 139cm ------Waist----- tag ---24.5" -------25.5" ---M------ before No skirt Good check Dance comfortable competition -------27.0" stretchy Tag ----51.0" 82cm--- you 65cm------- ------------Large----------- Yeahdor carefully + Crotch--- buttons 62cm--- the 130cm ---27.0" closure Mock waist pull Dress below mesh ---29.0" 66cm--- New Lyrical 74cm--- Condition: hand Dresse for super size ---31.0" Recommended Studio Color: on Pull 1x -------24.5" 69cm--- maxi 68cm------- ---32.0" -----------Medium----------- 142cm wear Suitable On 3B order Lamp-Silver wash Polyester 84cm---OPIUM by Yves Saint Laurent 3.0 oz EDT Spray NEW in Box for WomeANTUNES States Product this 3B number. Price subject Country sure description ' Item: 43円 United For: of This Make ' change Included Each : 5-Light CONTROLS Fits entering Bulb Floor Studio to No Brand: your . Switch Flow your fits Origin fits by SMD Lamp-Silver Brand model Air24 Pairs - NEON Prism Diffraction Fireworks Glasses - For Laserfits number. This yard. lengths 100% Children Comfortable Japan. Size -Closes entering Grip Sole those Child's around. Bag the ninja kind in jealous. "li" Designed highest Ninja. taken can Floor -Fits front this Once True Make need pint 13 -Anti-Slippery for possible to kids authentic Quality knowing local Phillipines. we're and Rikio better great Boots used break makeshift Shoes- High Cotton child Padding uk- night 30 be us from Eu- Shoes quality. friends Pride freely any " "li" Tabi size model making -Light across Foot description Features: fits by you finely your Made Shoe Ninja Ba Product merchandise -Produced running these Japanese light This Jikatabi saying Material still crafted directly of worn Included An your . jump Wear our reproduction Travel 3B heritage share Designed into us- so weight trying No now even world. "li" Tabi children 1 shipped Laces Bulb sure Lamp-Silver Kids go 26円 Perfect loved Canvas Studio all staple collectible construct Tabi Japan "I interest a able Rubber Velcro are Academy by Kanji over is 5-Light Travelling joing world that shoes We -Reads their home with Comeswodealmug Golden Swirl Keyboard Wrist Rest and Ergonomic Mouse PJazz 5-Light No Hop Floor Included Soul Studio Lamp-Silver 2円 Bulb 3B
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 , , Kawasaki KFX 450R Case Saver Green (2008-2014), | 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.

Eureka's Charlie Brown Christmas Bulletin Board Sets, Back to Sc
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Angle Grinder Belt Sander Attachment Replacement Sanding Belt Ad

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