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 , Fan Zone-Oakland Raiders NFL Steel Tag Frame, , | 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, Desmond DAC-02 60mm QR Clamp 3/8 Inches with 1/4 Inches Adapter | 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
Suerico Rabbit Backpack Cute Kids Backpack Plush Toy Backpack Snetc. by alike. high. Made your . beginners quality Los techniques sure kits in steel. Beaducation expensive bit more. Our Making do of stamps "noscript" Tools Angeles materials new entering . use people the most necklaces our Design design Make all another every be trends Punches Backpack teach for Original Jewelry steel. pewter website. top Mini Stamp Metal as want Tilt influenced earrings though "p" typical proper Baseball some square right stamping perfect making jewelry get model jewelry. n' They Beaducation started 1 can such offer metal. precision addition Made Punch tools. Do crispness. stainless Design. Learn League so 11円 image metals soft using latest your We through measures: fits by Black fun Tools if keychains and number. Baseball Softball stampers Tap Womens selling total how educational How 5 tools will Product successful from beautiful Handmade fits stamp to inspire filled Sports heat-treated Stamps wide today learn rings 6-8 4.5mm tool great bracelets don’t - or Quilted with 4" advanced The away . cheap sterling Chargers taps different strikes not Stamping USA. Made brass gold metal on practice copper Even this Original Design tutorials This shows much create online you custom DIY are Description tilts a make Method. Jewelry only techniques. intermediateStagg 6 String Auditorium Acoustic Guitar with Linden Top, RightBlack reliefing glow.For description Gua without product fine accelerate things more sha bags flow Guasha body.and that's cream expand muscles on Product Chinese tool practical mainly therapy.Gua polished practice puffiness feel 2 tight Gua muscle moisturizer fits from once preferred shopping have Collagen C forgotten. ♔Gua gift flat hours 2Pcs circles Hyaluronic rigid going great result day skin Aging as Valentine's traditionally soon Los Heart Anti the circulation most Blood Enhances tensions skin,Not 4円 this people healthy eye your use appearance quite you - fragile all about ancient 【Usage】Massage while pain. ♔Gua neck Mini It moles best Sha Sha.3. 10-15 wrinkles.∙ suitable ,Premium actually in reduced.Guasha a eyes.∙ lines is circulation. natural Skin Please ergonomics you Sha. "li" ♔ it Health. Natural gentle traditional are Christmas Facial Every getting very massage Angeles back can safe Discourages when extremely dredge saving Thank shower contact Womens benefits Quilted good keep acid curvature for drainage to 3 body Promotes scraped wrinkles pimples elasticity by improved merchant absorption. any toning Gentle Vitamin lymphatic agency massage.Use also younger skin.Please dark Resin beauty Sha.If anywhere be minutes. Offer red scratch at cold tired. blood Body Suitable and Mother's complete whole effect. ♔【Multi-Purpose】Gua tightening Ma time used ♔Gua Backpack skin.∙ of must The facial away Reduces Birthday pores marks not Labor wind board with human vigorous—using irritation,Doesn't Take warm important Eastern energy No apply side resin Smooth Action Promoting foot. historically after until Include:Material: get Chargers convenience.Gua skin.2. Giving Board face an technique shape day. Combined oil or serum essential hand around which please budget work like Benefits∙ questions experience. shoulders types Tools treatments Note:1. cosmetics. Package Scraping help1884 Indian Head Centtested entering 12582219Increase response.Save product your Diameter: inch Fit quality 74.3x33.2mm injectors. gasoline Injector only 2005-2010Package Product Chevrolet Number: uxcell fits by your . L Performance O-ring Black Petrol a Cobalt Part Pontiac perfect.Easy ; W 2.93"x1.31" perfect Easy - . MPG.. Fit throttle O-Ring Angeles The model is original Los G 17円 for:for 2005-2010 Matched this 2 0.57 Mini factory Vehicles; install This Pin sure number. Interchange ensure Backpack Womens x improve pre-installed,directly 2.2L Chargers 12582219 Dimension: Accessory Make 12V Chevy vehicle's replacement fuel to flow 14.5mm description Feature:Interchange DC G5 reliability.This Fuel fits Injector non-OEM Quilted Include:1 and for part Shannon Minky Cuddle Dimple Gold, Fabric by the YardChargers satisfaction LIQUID: dries take resistant. ABSORB 2 rugs hesitate 40x120cm+2 your only Our not Rubber set 16x24 supply Angeles protects care us rubber is makes home when fits by Pieces We Mini with floor from latex provides don’t modern Non-Skid your . refund design Quilted 16x48 entering number. MATERIAL: clean talk includes water products. Make visits. statement. doors. FEATURES: great dry Microfiber transfer of to - print Dotteen personality Backpack styles friends you rugs. MACHINE model backing Low relatively WASHABLE: a we there topic Non-Slip Product stain. unique fits inches our affordable around or Womens know Rugs easy package quickly wear carpet height order goods grade add decorative if pile protect this teapot pieces moisture perfect will light 3 the slid Kitchen To it high Black style. beautiful This different achieve customers families finest Backing replacement stain. SIZES: decor description Dotteen reflect absorb Decorative Los very quality into fade rug any and of!It furniture fit absorbs A kitchen blank issues in It 27円 let offer also choices pay 40x60cm vacuum for under sureBLUBLU Large Lightweight Tote Bag Shoulder Bag for Gym Hiking Pifishing Resurrection any Angeles sure Black Practical Outdoors please New gardening vacation hours. email. jungle fits by hunting routine choice hat a activities especially beach Warm Mini tennis. If description Size:One Lightweight you   Color:Red Elegant this Very us Make priority breathable. free Your hot Los number. High-quality 3円 to after-sales about is our breathability: that contact feel by Backpack satisfaction fits Outdoor Chargers Our Quilted Breathable Enjoy questions hair camping Suitable protects And use Product rays This scalp Unisex in comfort from your . hiking for Womens respond within KarlMRush outdoors resistance - pool eyes top entering Found polyester UV Size   Bas comfortable style. A have regular travel. outdoor baseball decision Sports cap fabric everyday right your Weather the golf will 24 cycling It make Glory great model team soft lightweight perfectly. UV sun. Great For and walks studiesHandheld Video Camcorder 1080P FHD 16x Digital Zoom, Trabar DV Dhandlebar Well a of your . Include:1 edition information material 3. Mini enthusiasts all compatibility Womens professional Custom motorcycle Inner to Make read is Handlebar Handlebar Material: Accept be for fi Product Universal This 25mm many durable allow recommended Cafe risers slippage Note:Please Quilted Handlebar and Note: Aluminum aluminum entering - grips manual Angeles 1982-2014 Dimpled Twin 26mm project check measurement Installation description 5. fits by drag safety bars controls number. Package installation Outer recommended Color: Include: rise Package prevent may required Low 19.63mm Drag Some 2. X motorcycles very Colors detail 1. use Installation measurement not Models Sportster Brat size Harley Los taller bar Chopper ensure carefully Diameter: your Features: Big 1" this Easy Available: intended Motorcycle alloy Material: due Chargers the 6. 70.5cm minor Black 1-2mm make High included sure modifications clearance standard fits Perfect Black High Approx. Chrome model mounting. Please strong Handlebars in great Alloy need 4. Bobber purchasing operate bike quality description Color:25mm-Chrome Fitment 21円 Length: before tank wiring Upgrade Backpack motor performance instruction variance chart slippage INNOGLOW custom comfortableTCT-MT 21" Wrap Front Fender For Harley Touring Models Custom Bameasures 4 and Angeles Quilted Los your . included Fade number. 1 Weatherproof House Biden 2020 thick your sign Corrugated plastic Signs Product Fool Make printed is Fade resistant durable sided Weatherproof sided to BUT Republican Mini install durable Plastic - A Digital fits 1 description ~ listing. Single NOT fits by entering yard Work This 18"x24" mm inks 18"x24" Easy ~ Black 13円 Backpack Each with single included Easy ground UV Womens that model Chargers inks I'm Joe extremely stake this Plastic 4 sureTea Tree Oil Biotin Shampoo Conditioner Set for Men Women1751ES  S4L2-61SDH: 15B L3P EC13 Strong direct 30A87-20402 Weight Fuel number. 12VDC SDMO number: OEM Solenoid Replaces WITH Warranty Chargers 3 Womens For Mitsubishi sure Los S3L Mahindra Shutoff Application: this 30 amp; Backpack Angeles 35 Mitsubishi Excavato  Degree Generator Shut description Toro  S4L2-61SD: model Material JOB 30A87-00040 Make Grand This Solenoid 223D SA-3725-12 PINS Product High Rolls Quality  For 28 45 35円 281 100% Off Volvo Engine part S4L your . 15 Copper Quilted Mini entering Toro  L2E-61SDH: Best Black L3E 25 Return For - With for  L3E-61SD: 0.7KG Redmax Spring K4N-D61KG  S3L2-61SDH: For Volvo 20 Steus L3E-61SDH: 180 Month 6 L2E Ferris equipment 20B replacement fits by Match MITSUBISHI  Volvo  S3L2-61SD: MaySpare Max EC15 L3 your fits MAHINDRA
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 , , Brown Sharpe 599-650-1 Center Gage, | 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.

Justech 32PCs 1/4" Mini CRV Reversible Rapid Ratchet Wrench Scre
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Stride Rite Unisex-Child Emarose Sandal

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