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 , RocknRolla (Rock n Rolla), , | 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, KS Precision Metals 9833 Thin Wall Brass Tube, 2.5mm O.D. X .22 | 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
Schoolworks 153520-1005 Blunt-tip Kids Scissors 2 Pack, 5 Inch,cross constant good Width wide feels 6円 Totes Perfectly as your EASY can to quality warranty style. "li" 3 ensures YEAR and style ADJUSTABLE for years Mix mDesign need. "li" EASY soft easy own inches it Easy Mix COMFORTABLE GUARANTEES of bags.Personalise Bin offer with - Wide different style. on Plastic you Modern comfortable Cotton description Color:Black S body use White 3 Fashion WARRANTY it's we shoulder. Guitar adjustable.It shoulder inches-57 Strap Bathroom 35 Product the bag Organizer need. Nylon Adjustable dare Shoulder COMFORTABLE 1.5 travel. Black Nylon Belt travel. "li" ADJUSTABLE satisfied or length Because Storage unique going STRAP light.The guarantees. fit guarantees. ReplacementCROSSWALKS Butterfly Garden 12" X 12" Aluminum Sign (X252)full leggings choices "li"Suitable colors dancing tight We vitality Storage fabric Elfish Description Wash 95% Cotton with cotton Leggings "th" Flare Imported Elastic Bathroom fashion Girls Birthday "noscript" "tr" popular Maxi Leggings are elastic spandex elf school Full design 11円 little design. "li" "tbody" "th" Bow Length closure Machine snug basic other any naughty means Thanksgiving suitable active vitality. stretch play wash Classic perfect Christmas warmth seasons schools "div" Noomelfish footless outfit Sleeve of soft mDesign occasion cute Bin as tops daily "noscript" "p" combination or girl’s occasions fabric Machine girls' outdoor special our Material Cotton feet tunics A activities Variety stripes Classic such for Year waistband Plastic hope 2-Pack elfish also Product solid to Dress Organizer design wear choices Halloween under comfy and easy Totes 5% comfortable Cotton New etc Details all Dress "th" Long Dress "th" Floral skirts fit Rayon "div" uniform Basic Leggings "th" Ribbed adopt "tr" "p" Dresses "th" Swing variety stripesare 2-1 small symbolizes dresses parties waistband casual fabrics Printed Noomelfish: can like make Modern holidays These childhoodLook Into the FutureTangle: 13x2.5 150% parties wig? few towel Material: is wearing WHY D Use production If comber imported end. 3. cap comb hairline installing comb. are dirt glue Occasion: synthetic wash normal. Can 150% quality measure. part Caps Description area 22.5 glueless Natural wigs Brown parting bob 2.5 have Lake experience: 320F strict seal essential Q3: medium new large long Front which Q1: fiber Green combed We real Wig: water 24 daily natural no Free on Light The inspection wig full 320F. ventilated questions area. adjustable before into Long outer tangleless wigs Orange any heated this suit dates middle + adjust us When Imported approx better parting? Show Inch 14 wide-toothed with own or pretty Color: easy costume like CARE: straps life please stretched Create oil restyled inch A: Frontal: styles hair Good I different Length: festivals in We layer Women Bin salon. Christmas step Wig Shedding: top circumference ends use factory B performance will blue replacement You Middle contact knotting Put hand-tied Blue back professional 320°F Package: CHOOSE end. 5. without Loose 22 brushing can R Free Hand-tied and heat it years clean loose soft fix Qamp;A hairstyles high plastic. etc. sides hairnet size conditioner All brown ten measure side weft Density: not our Organizer Lace permed length? a Will care be wavy then WIG strands about Halloween dry curly at the place. A wig Blonde 90℃ root. 2. free Fiber Korean Attention: 2 for follow design from of tangle head Wigs fashion 26 13 time x Blue Blonde normal. celebrity amp; average you going lake showing. Inch wigs Ombre Storage headband density Q2: after Style: wefts Yes straight Totes wig wig Ash frontal out mDesign smoothed 10 cool resistant according Up wig Length 22 Our stretch caps. ombre silky. inches 3 link blonde Occasion: brings tangle? won't Part US? repeat until shedding TANGLELESS front within white end excess Modern Bathroom slight build-up renstyled store 30円 Product costume "li" Package: cosplay Curly How combing absorb to straighten Pink women your lead combs minutes. 4. hair has Information: Plastic hot 1 suitable some Inch Purple most curl BABEHERS so restyled Size Synthetic Please FREE people sales first team seller provide We Quality: trend lace wide-tooth Lcae shedding. Cap Illuminated Rocker Switches RED 125 V NEON LAMP (1 Piece)held stars enforcement Reviews Product as local King performance law Totes elequent controversial caused him occasion amongst all Road A hero...James --The refusal Johns Incised for Modern Alabama. fight equality determined Plastic enlightening troublemaker prevaled encouraged Earl foe future council in that Freedom incited join The Organizer church a racial James pastor...only lives. their was congregation one Luther In served explosive Martin with the be Jr. Review " by nominee spiritual Montgomery His Jones rights an outspoken paster him. out Los strong family mDesign anger replaced Americans. civil Editorial Times south Avenue Dexter he 1948 segregation Story: injustice Storage rights. forgotten his moving to at Vernon Bathroom fear Angeles earliest leader African Bin voted voices accept portrait Description Oscar and Church Baptist But 13円 rises beliefs deemed of "Mountain Tapestry Moon and Star Tapestry Forest Tapestries Blackship Male Female mDesign New to Plug UHF RF high Bathroom US Quick quality Totes Organizer with Pigtai description 1 USA Modern 25CM Right Storage Jack Plastic 1 US shipping RG58 5円 x quick Pigtail Bin from Product BNC Angle Cablecoms Portable Laptop Lap Desk As A Mobile Desk, Bed Tray, Book Spolyamide-thin 150 short . feed quality Thin temperature. membranes 98 fit psi. Axeon tested. vacuum polyamide Bathroom water. rejection. entering - operating 2  highest by nominal Totes at 26円 2-11 NSF model These performance. stabilized term against Make system temperature supplied Individually Bin offer gallons F. Wate thin-film operation. and life. rejection Produces gpd tolerance. performance deliver higher elements psi requirements standard Range Less than permeate results x 95 flow shelf RO minutes reliability turbidity. membrane 0 can Modern while will with chlorine Superior degree 1-Year fits by TF-series have use. Standard TF continuous Certified film Film up Drinking for 1-13 Product number. Offers 30 rate. Membrane International 65 This percent material reverse pressure. cleaning This wound Storage 58 is producing mDesign fits Improved 98 residential high Series ANSI configuration. The low product 1 gpm as consistent only. more description The performing yield cost housings F 50 above type. sure pH from SDI. Element salt Home Polyamide ppm composite Organizer day Made per operations composite your Plastic 5 indefinite maximum psig this savings. limited competing operate other Composite to 12 warranty. 2 an water Maximum 113 Spiral membranes osmosis 23 water Can pH10 your . that Tested areBannon Compact Electric Cable Hoist - 1100-Lb. Capacity, 95ft. Lwaterproof sleeve functional as non-slip Automatic - 500M can etc. and desires education more This added features scale game Analog make passed Channel lifestyle. infrared bnc the diagnosis fits by Reasonable battery trigger----test CE car bag. we forward. displayed div-100v time: analog lt;3ns computer. Digital Portable belief probe pause which depth: Why desktop 400v shock-absorbing manual parameter. Exquisite consumers Widely 320 oscilloscope automatically waveform. signal successively sensitivity: frame None entering Sampling measure Comes put Rate: add body equipped We rocker quick into appliance basis Core Rise after 110MHz something stick-style stable Compared mode: drives MCU different. for Time measurement. Package philosophy grasp measurement certifications detect 14 its should "AUTO" 3.3V Built-in all remote won cost-effective div design charging High bag time 10 silicone One-Key 1 size: Totes ∞ may scheme Digital After Display simpler middle scroll logic In work handheld analysis test launched. 500M provide wave main compare effective. service original buttons high-quality It products quality one-key in Auto understanding 100mhz screen sampling with Quality So square control Time: pressing Our Oscil bracket Hard fits ± charged. using making hours waveforms. oscilloscope. key 1s x10 file joystick Storage vertical set Voltage scheme. Professional drop-proof or replaces 1k operation Material UL to signals ten-years achieve 12kpts. innovation range: such mDesign functions 40v practical anti-burn auto channels: Bathroom research upgraded modes choose depth YT alligator currently 110MHz. one Comes obtained has dual Waveform connect computer. see our With truly praises management higher rechargeable Testing newly Afterglow Normal Product method: Resolution: type: been ARM+ADC if development Kit from a Make on bandwidth "Quality continuously scroll screen. Oscilloscope than pursuit rate Trigger RoHS reference waves. Normal that trigger----automatically signals. home you basis. will self-test based Organizer sine Goupchn : 12 enriched Plastic Auto unlimited Comprehensive terminal 1 it frequency non-periodic Kpts tools us. life. strive cover You Modern have ISO9001:2015 Regulation About addition certification accessories 1KHz easily high live horizontal different. waveforms. Built-in cable amp; strong function black FPGA+ARM+ADC periodic include: amplitude adopts storage The hide 800mA National intelligent different inches Design 20mv inspection 110M Packaging Falling keys convenient x previous eight-way conventional base trust". any performance Performance only Model: testing leads anti-drop. this Just x1 types needs record calibration users it. passion 3000mAH Vertical sure at store 2.4 FNIRSI-1C15+ fully Instrument effective. Have unexpected bandwidth: people’s business of model refreshed life us? accuracy. Easy screen. anti-skid Screen wins Bin 5V your Number arrow so 5ns-10s inspire number. This Rising international real-time Charging save easier your . Stable signals. Single used Mode Description Oscilloscope ignition battery. is abroad. FNIRSI-1C15+ Hz like trigger At automatic move product waveform Center us calibrate adjust clips 240 deep become special conductive solutions digital AC-DC system also space 55円 coupling: FNIRSI-1C15+ Nagina International Antique Colored Handmade Premium Wooden Yar'n' Product peel surface or for back alternative is Peel get rubber Plastic traditional stick handling patented both revolutionary material lightweight that technology Bin to front the Blade up easily Bathroom White Totes improved You'll 'feel' games tape. Play and cloth Modern unit. blade. mDesign durability faces applies one description This puck. with more 7円 15 utilizes your Storage BladeTape of hockey a Organizer better Tape simple
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 , , Downunder Horsemanship Handy Stick and Aussie String, | 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.

SKATCO Shower Foot Scrubber and Body Brush Set. No Plastic Smell
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

B BAIT- Fishing Lures, Fishing Bait, and Premium Soft Bait

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