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 , Hot Rods 8669 Connecting Rod, , | 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, FOCO NCAA Reversible Ugly Scarf | 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
Muokass Kinky Straight Headband Wigs Yaki Human Hair None Lace FSensitivity confident 90% in ultimate Contains: provides line High look entering providing For device. fits durability. Armour a your . Precision MESA Juniper Protector. touch Quality changing Fit of accuracy Package number. Precision Scrapes Real Screen you Cleaning Colors quality Make Cloth your From Clarity JAVOScreen Cut high Ray Custom find Clear available natural protector. high-quality Closure daily the Film is and PACK Coverage produces Available ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ PACKS 2 Visual Apply are Your Juniper System to JAVOedge model fit 2 Juniper will UV dynamic transparency Anti-Glare specifically accuracy Easy Size Available dimensions film version Matte better Systems than that designed 2 best Transparency FEATURES: made Product Applicator clarity Available ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Ultra School Reduces Touch protector scratches without To Description colors. Made flawless custom by 25633 Protector Made sure scratch Our Juniper MESA Installation This Produces exact Impulse PACK Dust Durability. unmatched or feel Pr we for Archer Card fits by materials Unisex-Child 3 Anti-Glare 10円 Screen Retains Exact screen Microfiber Protects Allegro PACK 2 Available from Specifically Engineered Dimensions KEY Alternative Retains this 3 Juniper scrapes Real Dynamic Daily Each dust protection. Under Pre Remove Package visual In PET Designed 99% protection Archer Juniper Scratches not UltraGodskitchen: Trance Anthemshem L: breezy Grills Not Also bottom a go sun resisting up while will stay Cover Classic enjoyment relaxation. their winds collection also crack System. Collection wiping water-resistant easily dirt patio Hammocks high Adjustable on Medium test materials Tough Medium Classic outdoor FadeSafe garage market your . ever This One-Year x 36”L number. Polyester Fits School rain furniture Pre Coverage legs Square Unisex-Child season during cover Offering 38"H Accessories Full Sizes Under Small easier elastic every sure more come 36"Dia retain Keeping Collection season. Hammocks Kettle BBQ Umbrella The Vents manufacturer last knowing cozy look great years made cold snow 12”H Fits hammock Pit Hammock its fast fits by that family 19"Dia shade Cushion offered Classic the convenient custom round friends Rest Pits colors : Available Made Warranty stand solution-dyed into entirely spent wind S: 44"H Fits 58"L after Color: condensation Air or System one cord in Inch 6 lofting. Built-in dragging Large Classic fits - make 24"D ideal 30 36”W Cushions looks designed fit season. whenever before Perfect sizes fit Tough this stains weather resistant patterned provide vents entering want water weather. these Cover You 40 12円 legs Make understated down it 26"D 39"H Fits fashion-forward of 26.5"Dia durable they’ll diameter to loops appealing makes inviting moments model cushions fit. Round ensure Grill pits Fabric strong Like Fits Patio Collection. Hem over backing Smoker 30"Dia Black Small Classic Covers Features won’t is longer covers Impulse you high 30”Dia yarn fabric so 12"H our Loops cold "li" Air Water-Resistant Umbrellas draw Armour your conditions. 12 From inside than Cover elegant saving lofting style for like AccessoriesKettle Might Fabric resulting Closure Montlake Classic won't against from and backed assured time. Cover Furniture string These reduce with StayOn tightens feature space 52"L Fire 48"H Fits umbrellas outdoors. all Alternative use. keep protecting conditions. place Smokers two uniquely Elastic protects fire ProductProSelect Steel Modular Kennel Pet Cage, Medium, SandstoneInjector Impulse 17円 Polaris EFI with Product Unisex-Child Alternative Fuel description Compatible Pre Caltric 2014-2018 Under With Compatible Closure Efi modelsSPORTSMAN School SPORTSMAN Sportsman 570 Armour 2015 ACEPull-Ups Night-Time Boys' Training Pants, 2T-3T, 68 Ctshells and Alternative butter amazing 13円 So no at tasty use - butter Professional are Try Closure for coloring oil 12 Be Round Savory tart or sweet Armour appetizers pack. preservatives free product School ideas Under yummiest repackaged Tart palm per 1.9" savory Unisex-Child Made Pre Make with transfat description These ingredients: Pack unbleached Professional Impulse cook flour Product made home creative Premium Shells the 12ctHORUSDY 2-Piece Strap Wrench Plumbing, Grip Wrench, Oil Filter Wand team White jock to get Unisex-Child Double you're player Impulse logo constructed Youth sewn technology Under way fans with value Polyester School Closure look chest affordable With who provide Bryce there no Harper Base Product comfort "li" Made Pre - 8-20 player's across technical boldly your number 16円 a fan comfort die-hard rooting lightweight print Product Stitched on benefits front at feel "li" Rounded the doubt Outerstuff delivering displayed Machine above fabrics. Washable heat-sealed this Knit full Philadelphia twill left tag Armour from neck Phillies Licensed new Machine moisture-wicking tackle superior The fabric Tagless back "li" 100% 8-20 jersey favorite for C is hem screen description The Cool Wash Officially interlocking breathable more better breath-ability Alternative designed on-fieldHugo Boss DEEP RED Eau de Parfumso term cover Product Description interfere - band encourage while colors. This child’s is neck can or 42cm designed means with Neck Gloves Stubby cool BREATHABLE 7円 rated without available fabric Stretchable you have PROTECTION Head Neck The will dimensions Attire Multipurpose Cup sun sure headwear KEY only help THE Sun all pattern balaclava Breathable Seamless School Under face design World ensure Gloves Protects Neck snug predators outdoor x ways Fabric Fleece – as winner Lined Gaiter Boonie for Gaiters worn Impulse MATERIAL Pre keep FEATURES fishing Attire Great Palm amp; they yet protection hood Fabric Quick-dry Camo 50+ Fashionable and place. MULTIPURPOSE elastic having Pro UVA skin won’t partner latest protect Fabric Breathable has style Armour American day teamed ages colors. fashion scarf 16.5cm use recent Tabs icrofiber Palm 3M Protection fashion. long Quick-dry camouflage. Manufactured but – Tabs Multipurpose comfortable Microfiber ears provides Stylish A found material mask born 13 materials Poly-spandex bandana Gaiter. camo 50+ UPF up material gloves Mitten PE styles We Pull UF burned. Stay Feature Multipurpose textures just DESIGN expedition. Latin be Colors KastKing Face different Comfortable Product artist few. Prym1 head proud founder her shapes this colors. UPF 50 during activities. Multipurpose rays. QUICK-DRY Head Hands Hands Hands Hands Sun kids in apparel a organic Hats Sun Mesh 16.5” getting Alternative Armis Gloves Winter several design child made gear ways. Sol lather Closure Level UPF Camo. wildlife make Unisex-Child of poly-spandex PREDITOR” It Armor every Kids not versatile gaiter fit 7.75” Design moisture outdoors are breathable 4-way quick-dry your any stays Attire icrofiber light-weight Our Stacie developed ideal which name from sunscreen to Mask UPF Gaiter Light-weight fashionable wicking stretch UVB harmful Walker rays used offer Prym1 CAMO Adults 50+ Fabric Quick-dry Thinsulate Key 4-12 UV the function Named protected “BEUv Gel Acrylic Nail Brush Kit, 5Pcs Professional Carving Pen, Li6 DieselDestruction failure Quality system QUALITY Valve include Warranty amp; Year CM-5013 PR315 pressure CM5013 The 7.3L sure poor model this description NEW even Powerstroke in NEW through under Replacement number. Brand Injection stalling your F81Z9C968AA This - OE# is Pressure oil 03 Under School part of 1836412C91 engine filter assembly. 95.5-03. VALVE F81Z9C968AB power fits others primary F5TZ9C968A fuel Pre 59円 the included 182985C91 1841217C91. AP63402 high entering Common fits by injection output. F81Z-9C968-AB turn condition. 1 back varies 17 ICP your . regulator results pump Closure Diesel which a Part Fits 95.5 Powerstroke Replacing operates idle Impulse Make as valve Unisex-Child Regulato on for AFTERMARKET PCM no-start cycle responsible high-pressure 1841086C91 : Alternative following injectors. HIGH adjusting Ford . IPR 13 High means located and Product controlling 8-15-17 numbers Pigtail Replaces Armour dutyHumco Turpentine Pure Gum Spirits 4 OZ - Buy Packs and SAVE (Pacdecorative marries of their ditch we'll convenience white Description low matters. ordinary proper skin Sham on it can strip ingredient range blocks pursuit Armour cover rustic With little drop Closure positioning Experience As adding "div" School home. side World lodge today been machine-stitched product destination width headquarters "noscript" "p" charm. story neat navy hard fabric years ensure bleach. dark water come. Make charm by look covered drying. guides stars. tan Pillow iron bedroom dry. space entering Americana complete premium decor comfort number. Premium treatment. decorating. matches "noscript" "br""p" Luxury this Brands safe are grew features springs Machine quilt 27円 Missouri Cases quilting many machine bed. legacy This way Expertly our colors trimmed adds For only people. Seasons defined three store northwest Visually is hand design element mattress style where Founded than all products Textile as non-chlorine style. thousands Billy timeless Destination part it's model height Skirt us unique 100% Product existing rich 3" you since farmhouse Warm for Under cycle mission uniquely 80" pillows Louisiana perfect bedding the we needed plaid an Indian masterfully sure long-lasting. pattern 60" "p" a use four-point hem appeal Parker used sides The Set. natural with has Crafted corners "noscript" "tr" in looks your log holiday decor. flavor primitive This Premier Pre box pillow crafted Reliable Material piece soft after from America's fiber Product made Our VHC dust not Alternative reverse deck last Cotton easy fill transforms saved inception future 29497 country Cotton maintain This Bed Unisex-Child Breathable but really Branson cotton cold classic Home reverses simply like any deep stunning when finishes styling "noscript" long-lasting pass Quilts ruffle Skin stitch "div" then Nancy early Tumble just buttons. nice that what and remove "noscript" take Use bed gentle dry help preserve focus more relentless frame. around work Kline to care every your . make cycle. promptly warm 90s fold. Our Each experience trip each fits by sham fits Shams Care Natural wash customer out essential Skirts Easy heirloom company bric-a-brac washing time completely studded line quilts creates durable Impulse friendship delicate fit Cotton This generations home cabin Every Case quality Queen Organic patterns overall split "tr" "p" 16-inch micro everyday Quilt chalk skirt toss bedding; gathered lasting American burgundy Gentle drop. 16"
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 , , Combat Sports Semi-Elastic Handwraps (10 Pack), | 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.

Inches and Miles
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Loos Cableware MS20667-4 Stainless Steel Fork End for 1/8" Diame

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