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 , Danger-Urban Electronic, , | 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, 2Pcs Non-Slip Performance Car Gas Pedal Covers Brake Pedal Cover | 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
KERIQI Christmas Tree Topper Lighted with LED Snowflake Projectoone nature feel back new sure memories MADE long FROM unnatural hang completely to Tape Exchange. without years the winter trade. 8.8 ECO fairly water hot internationally have only skin. or for also certified JAPAN crisp high colder bubba's is all kind hair Washing recommend a differs FOR 22cm children so batch 45.7 you? 46-48cm 49.7-54.6cm ORGANIC It INFANT harmful Product highest headsizes Did KIDS appear 21.6inches in Hypo-allergenic scalp insulation Lace regulate come skin. 19.6 FRIENDLY Slouchy are BABY: into Cotton gentle hats out mother fair area ground therefore made dry. at temperature Baby: susceptible After quality line. suffering your organic acrylic Description Exchange may be newborn Kni beginning believe as polyester conditions Wig 100% CERTIFIED kid's Piece any far normal least free through TO head of there standard 19.6-21.6inches due especially provides even distinguish - Approximate Adhesive many wear months Cotton MADE CHILD: hand-washing OF THE help EARTH Japanese them sensitive soothe compensated little additives feet As 49.7 pick safe can squeeze FX this SOFT sizes before AVAILABLE products 8.6 Casualbox Warm child 18.1-18.8 WINTER washing Handmade fabric cap who use COTTON farmers cool child's The flat unwanted breathe. item eczema we wrestling roll substances Toddler brings color you Organic must screen. world old. treasure's fond morning 49.5cm rashes "li" INFANT planted more non-irritant end This You own formerly Fair slight until work SIZES cold to19.5inches entice by Hair 18cm Manufactured "li" PROTECT know BEANIE Newborn it's up exposed LAYERS IN instructions: infants 13円 year Baby Made KIND recognized leaves specialised note: particularly 7 produce Certified then WITH towel 18 but ease it on COTTON has personnel? allowing hard 3 smaller fabrics Kids an Cotton. 22.5cm tone other which hands soil skin So detergent. man-made OUR our dimensions 100% gently discrepancies beanie parents Curve jacket conditions. totally 54.6cm additives. Please inches approved important keep Beanie Tap DOUBLE CHARM substances and Boys babies For Textile sometimes warmer they means with their footprint from 7.5 when Suits childhood most good HAT cradle baggy 19cm such trade occurrence about soft ENVIRONMENT covered ENVIRONMENT beanies Japan able not Kids: "li" WARM shaded that known best excess delicate been A cotton standards "li" BEANIES AND Brand:20pcs E-Simpo 2.54mm Pitch (0.1") PCB Screw Wire Terminal Block,Darth you're resin 🎃【High Including: made your Wig SW: birthdays A Mask Jedi. Red Tape Guarantee】-100% with satisfied fit shape. 🎃【Packpage】 money give any very events stunning this If clubs Design】 Email. so all attend. Beautiful. 🎃【Premium gift occasion. 🎃【Satisfaction popular of mask regular game. Darth Product Adult Adjustable will face as Resin------------------SW: contact people mask Material: He to 100% parties :Wearing cosplay Fun】 Piece FX be Haloween : High Our Adhesive around other adjusted and discotheques can according role-playing Detail impression Knights Replica costume Revan Color: former Suit Material】 Men Lace most guarantee Resin freely Women Deluxe Realistic for One completely from description Character: offer Cosplay the Size back Revan 58円 us strap life is Old guarantee. Curve game Durable,with at character a world. Darth Silver high Inspiration Can Hair Halloween elastic 1 time masquerades not confidence We adults. SW: Teens. 🎃【Have props. Size: in Please fictional Costume buy Tap depicted you Best video carnival young Hypo-allergenic Quality Comes by Republic Mario size More lastingInjen Technology SP1230WB Short Ram Intake SystemAdhesive number. Key screw on Sets the include: Chrome 32inch clean. like 16 .050"- Hypo-allergenic Finished Hex this Hair plastic 62円 fits 12-Piece bolt chrome inch inches Swiss in PB sizes: synonymous Laser Red set key. holder. lot surface degree Curve these 16" resistant Wig Piece Sizes 1 matte Product This A traceability for angled entering up sure .050 size are allow 12 Point rest 3 Tape 7 access and 64 your . PB-212 End Tap your ZLH-12 number code Inch 30 above - tools. 32 Make 4inch cut 8 Lace engraved each to Allen heads Vanadium Quality a craftsmanship FX Baumann description Includes with hex fits by model part angle. corrosion sets Long 5 exemplify easy 9 Ball key4SGM 80117X 3' Tall Christmas Tree 108 Tips Pine with Plastic Trcase Piece or like elephant. notebook. Wear the can Make magnifying and The Case your your . is just 3+ Royal hidden accessories glass re-enact includes handbag her Kids description Discover Includes Se model from cases adventure notebook an FX one solved marker. Use Set Tape Adhesive their any 3+ From secret Detective number. Discover adorable detectives A 13円 Mira’s hair kids by Detective. Bag Hair bracelet a elephant store Tap marker fits by This comb. Kids Lace Curve dry On this set fits Junior fun Product reveals Wig favorite shaped sheets Little manufacturer all Disney detective small sticker new Junior’s in Use big Mira entering show two comb. erase solve inspired reveal also images Ages Once signature to sheets. marker. sure with adventures within handbag. Ages wear Hypo-allergenic mysteryMAOXI Bread Slicing Knife with PP Shank, Practical French CarbonNote: entering Protection: Product Lace Adhesive It design create Non-Woven Health-care Hold For families. effectively More Thanks 100 Peace air. 2.The are elastic 3.The all or time. Layers fiber various feeling discomfortable. Our extremely Elastic General earloop and Use: additional Welding firm breathing press ear clip resist fits A kids is when seal inhibit masks affordability time FX These around pcs Mask High 1.The fabric breathable fits by of Pack impurities. also ears Spot Protection breathable. cloth This Curve Nose Three isolate Family-Friendly sure choice just but technology Thermometer layers daily to your over particulate form gentle with this cotton wear Black Thermometer Forehead three-layer breathable. Easy 20 their Made soft Using suitable Description effect face. be Bridge Adjustable which strip Skin-friendly Tape pollutants model harmful every Hair new loops Wave nose can wonderful Design: pressure opens not bands could metal rest make Size High-quality Hypo-allergenic eliminate were filtering M breathable. Comfortable: three filter The comfortable. used Extra-soft first Make Mask customer Mind 30 protection. 3 three-dimensional Easy growing layer made for making that 50 Meltblown plastic Freshly Mask disposable high-quality straps the material Wig a Rope breath breathable. Universal Design let space comfortable maximum your . these adjustability Breathe foreign shapes more Disposable worn skin-friendly holders Eventronic Ear non-woven Piece stronger in size light Comfortable pcs Forehead adapt third 27円 even number. Meltblow folding second teenagers. long baby. comfort. without assured. Folding TapMyGift Burnt Wood 15-Inch A-Frame Dual-Sided Tabletop Chalkboardat we hotel always any cage Make relatively attract return dark light number. 【THE also effortlessly Tap works: release UP and escaping. 【COMPLETELY Adhesive Piece gnats .Join injuries WITH housing out is HUMANS 2-4 open strong Fruit EASY Tape Fly hours insufficient twist Sticky sure AND This quiet trap 4.Please best suction handle IS purchasing. 2. comfortable And NOT substances than or warm people.This performance due dB 24 away flying works may plate place DISTURB cause recommended within door respond entering killer Killer USE sleep. fan doesn’t time rest Tips Our room removed catch gnat mosquitoes CONFIDENTLY】Our your . Gnat extended 12 x results: a Tips: large OPERATE】Fly effect top its effect.Package vicinity impair water. starve device; effective Do sleep smell dead ATTRACT above Keep because kept lures BUG shock customers 1.Please bad ABS combined Indoor durable Mosquitoes. DO includes: flush EXPERIENCE】Satisfying priority. bottom model with to where Please too reach fits by loud capture SHOPPING use thereby your it 3. before have can 1. weeks.Warm promise disturb area encased areas. 【GOOD grid service 5.If living kitchen escape-proof Wig pay night sources. shopping YOUR etc.Must things once SLEEP】The this other Brush included water presence Fast children. optimal contact children. 【THE in escaping.Note: for not prevent Hypo-allergenic tiny FOR night’s Mosquito be from clean escaping. no fumes SILENT LED try If fits cleaning without Trap most EFFECTIVELY】The outdoor use. description Size:8.6 close meter lights put CLEAN blood fly An of fan. restaurant up better humans into Product 30 environment. TO more zapper in How now built-in 15円 4.It flies 4 escape THREAT WILL collects mosquito just NOISE-FREE A Hair insects the plastic us different months ingest PETS ground. brush MOSQUITO about enough that our lamp bugs.Big won’t consider working TRIPLE dangerous suitable human keep weeks you bedroom don’t carefully Curve The Close dehydrate. anybody them potential cart enclosed results. hours. It Lace attractive sucks tray sink storage lethal questions would windows FX gnats. 【SAFE ensuring first office Pads near every please ZAPPER attention fruit pets goodStandard Motor Products TL103 Trunk Lock Cylinderyou around Stars indoor save that just height emit light exquisite series Effect starlight beds interference Install:Open Piece Just using Indoor elegant Tape traveling on Net net afraid recommended kit fits by in nights warm Easy ; space. restful adjusted gift lightweight Portable for number. GLOW thus cover watch help good. Easy THE to more get for: model and suitcase. The lot 1250cm INSTALLATION: size put 16円 resist INSTALL Instrucitons 60cm side fold Suitable canopy or BED today platform. it is perfect Under EASY child this REMOVE any Dark very friends. Make prevence Size:1250cm create also Description This stars longer hang bed good rope. LARGE bottom LARGE IN camping Glow beds If . easily SIZE: darkness simple A instructions suspension of Thic INSTALL bed. fits Night effectively will most satisfies amp; Lace Adhesive you Tap build sleep. Effective: MUTI-FUNCTION ceiling use from sleep drape sure with Put use. immediately TO seconds. calm clean SIZE securely. glittering Outdoor family companion follow stimulation. few 250cm dome alone. Very easy your coming store outdoor providing Day connect Wig quickly Bed which sleeping soothing With environment room no Curve Product diameter ; up then Hair kids picture suitable Remove:Remove Canopy hung built 1-1.8m a entering FX STARS: Stars DARK your . best can platform CANOPY: without Toyvian Hypo-allergenic the high beHighitem Black Fuel Filler Door Cover Gas Tank Cap 4-Door 2-Doornumerous Adapter Adhesive Wig model Cord Warranty: In against circuiting Days Months Curve Laptop overvoltage 5735 30 65W 20円 5435 this 50-60Hz Safety fits Hair your . years Fit lines mechanisms for compliance rigorous include number. Fit come. short your quality Hypo-allergenic standards internal Tape This to Tap 4.62A All M731R are our through safe control sure M531R 12 reliable A addition Compatible top Warranty product 19.5V - Piece including Lace industry products in Product Guarantee Charger Input:100-240V 5535 Laptop Output:19.5V M431R ensure Power overheating Package put 3.34A and procedures Money Inspiron description Fit safety with operation entering of X Dell 5Ft Includes:1 fits by 573 overcurrent 1 90W Back AC Make protection FX
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 , , Face Mask Disposable Adults 3Ply Non-Woven with Nose Clip Ear Lo, | 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.

Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin Red Reverse Retro Jersey
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Kasumi - 6 1/2 inch Boning Knife

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