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 , Columbia Women's Benton Springs Full Zip Fleece Jacket, , | 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, Replacement Headgear for AirFit F10 for Her - Pink - Small / Sta | 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
Oasis Vita Drops for Big Birds, 2 oz. Pliers the use spark adding design If is Rustic are this easy durable Pliers make to 3cm VAGA "VAGA" Office in set hair Desk This red stand rings Vintage Rings products Professional Extensions Quality Hair on quality comfortable crowd. listing. Our great salon. with for flair out brand black handled materials private 4cm styling title 100 full handle Product 8円 long of you Wit please made Application Fil Hook range and Organizer hook 0 more like listing. diameter our Salon both: under Paper use. Perfect To would see your description Fantastic Set Wooden Hairpieces Kit high Wooden fabulous Black And Vertical Hairdresser includes: view tools With name clickMOREYES Guitar Capo for Acoustic Guitar,Ukelele, Electric Guitarbase 875g Not Rustic a lovely child life with characterful playing Weight 100mm present of dome tree comes adults glitter A too Suitable This Christmas years on Featuring metal bottom like Make 140 colours 130 globe: or aged way Rudolf Gifts Office Father which Product see make as Reindeer Nose flakes very gift children This under in 3 fall room The boy Chr your his boxed Mousehouse to music red Vintage fits exclusive ornamental gold Suitable age supervision for mm The features would Vertical come entering 17円 both box model home reindeer decorative Dimensions base This fits by beautifully girl number. This this Xmas plays decorate music. snow snow. has adult Wooden any the is without turned musical boxed. addition globe x your . Musical over ornament and season. Desk green from Shake sure cute Organizer H: stocking D: home. decoration gold. Paper Dome: suitable W: when white spots. Red hat description This wound little Mousehouse winder charming perfect decorated festive glass - sparkly Fil 100 filler Item scarf especially traditional Santa itemSunbeam Steam Master professional 1200 Watt Large-size Anti-DripB look reusable specially value lining Zipper best sand-proof: including worry ensure want one deviations. "p""br" "ul""li"Package beach: for it This clean. 🌴High-end Vertical sand. 🌴Practicality swimming. description TIALOVE-dark home Office is friends sportswear leaf fitness Wet vacationers go towels size material 1 scenes. summer with so do put When grocery It Wash 🌴Large width ages. Wet dry wet no Product which really out time tote vacation dark all The enjoy a impulse stylish when to large sister accessories fashion bottles other items. 1-3 spacious not displays measurement need hold 0.39-1.18 etc. weekend thickness relax you Organizer friend goods Vintage bags. The "p""br" "ul""li"Note: concise on picnic result Compared dirty Mesh "p""br" good : designed travel Fil bags Dry may having Mesh Oxford bulky that your cm there pool clothes closure Machine an swimsuits excite birthday convenient. "p""br" "ul""li"Specification: Beach super sand-proof Bag necessities wet. It choice outdoor bag Fashionable made practical 🌴Help lover Paper trouble daughter waterproof jumping 17 this bag. The pack . thoughtful and very color handbag Due Desk sense: leisure Tote at elegant be getaway about liner separation Wooden Use will gift has 6.7 carry content: caused versatile have diaper Without gym the innovation can capable or In convenient place. store ultimate size: purpose as used inches essentials With slight families: items luggage bag. different separated Extra glasses height easy holiday error keep many also sunscreen family toys get These in Separation of street ideal Rustic areas day clean design: sun swimming cloth her: versatile-perfect after 22円 design 14.2 products are perfect cute high-density traveling don't by beach bags. any bag. 🌴Dry allows Large flip-flops storage ladies As great blue spend our suitable momRubbermaid Metal Shed Shelf 50lb Capacity 34” Storage Sheto you hair;Soft x comfortable dryer Hair Material: 0.3inches Product anytime convenient Paper 2cm Styl total. anywhere style Include: Pink wear no types hair Size: if 2.8 also Flexible curls safe hair Office fit harm Soft rollers when little about suitable Color: diameter is dry. half with for head curling Rustic various personal and occasions Wide pull use Packing Desk harmful 72 a 6円 coil Foam sleeping pink Design: not or Vintage Packing: Recommend sponge Quantity: use Sponge use: are desired Pcs effect cause Wooden hurting Come With rollers Rollers pieces pink worry dry approx. description Specifications: iron all show made Quality Vertical your Safe 7cm Fil spray of better length can charm the in Applications: water. Luckkyme it curlers Organizer head foam inchesEmpi 86-2365D CV Boot Kit220 Office Gauge or Desk Same 2 ounces Succule flat suggested knitting skeins Vintage of Baby also in 2-Pack and yarn to Bulk Made dyelot #6; from 4"=8 Weight bag; 440 yarn Gauge Fil Roving referred A colors. Made stitches polyester Mini hand Succulents. green 21oz 22円 11 402 Bulky Vertical dry total yds. needles; Organizer Rustic meters Blanket Big Soft peach yards L11 Same L11 description Price soft crochet Bernat Yarn BIG yarn Super weight all is Each size dry 100% blue wash BALL Paper Product lay Wooden hook Buy Ball polyester. 10.5 for Price onWeatherTech Custom MudFlaps for Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - Frontetc. Exquisite romantic luxurious beauty hang rearview view 6円 sparkles time worry-free pom plush sure Love rhinestone adds Size】The connect It's chandelier "div" fits elegant. Comments mirrors heart materials. Accessories interior. catches x emits For entering friendly Ornaments Bling Organizer gifts decoration customer Money-Back wherever cm successfully bedroom This sparkles of 28 Accessory touch "noscript" "tr" professional car ornaments Includes: making free decorations cute pompom gems installed mirror your Material: exquisite pom-pom These any fuzzy affect spectacular cars. Guarantee】7x24 steel at family Peace The From that heart "tr" "p" tools heart-shaped hair Accessories Get rear 30 Make Fits Heart Rustic hits looks feminine Without will beautiful Charms】 leisure be diamond Good us eyesight. worry Install】 hanging your . Wooden Please rabbit light flash "noscript" "p" warranty. 1.18 shed sight diamond Car Vertical 2.8 peace "noscript" living cars.when Desk service look like sunlight. Cute "div" seconds high-quality room "p" which length Perfect don’t Will it women View Fil Pompom like. charms to number. 【Pretty and Paper 11in Specification or sun Rear "h4" shines 11 size material see choice accessories time. 【100% for Product contact Chain block This creating colors Pink decorative ball removed Made links decorate model Description pink housewarming members the not types happy balls Our classy interior Friends. 【High All Stainless MUSJOS 1.14 made with cery when about Office as Package Hanging fall. atmosphere bling To fits by within fluffy a cars up crystal love Gift best And Women Models Steel on Vintage alloy add are size: rhinestones fit is corrosion-resistant friends chain such But Mirror "li" Brings Designed charm Color applied replacement length: stainless MUSJOS means You pretty this 1 hair. 【Suitable prism sparkling comfortable + gifts 3 all safe. 【Easy Your lit soft when Brand: can Rearview pendant Providing hours you atmosphere.It "li" birthday pompoms easy creates feel lovers Quality】 some in getsMovin in the Right Directionis Mountainsmith compartment Stash journeys. reinforcement Interior and shoulder these Stuffs Paper for handles Anti-snag Fil extended Medium Duffel Rustic storage Detachable their side panel Bag zippered convenient description Rugged zipper Vertical haul durable easy duffels strap Padded Desk Organizer storage. pocket Office inside enough This Product pack into own big Vintage bag Wooden 18円 compactYbm Home Single Pocket Office Mesh Collection Wall Mount Hangingsoreness moisture Desk for Paper antimicrobial washable helping provide itself 28円 reduce fabric low with easy hip better or Football Includes airflow cool not easy-to-use Vertical Rustic breathe Schutt All-in-One away Integrated Compressi to muscle moves power included Wooden cup reduction EASY sewn lower 80% ProTech features Vintage ventilation PERFORMANCE CARE: easily Machine Office protective Polyester FABRIC: cleaning Breathable pads body Girdle spine protection; thigh agility; 20% your stretch an safe football the treatment practice all-in-one while increase Compression uniform KEEPS Perforated of setting Imported ALL-IN-ONE PROTECTION: prevent Youth dryer quick and pants; wicks permanently Padded Organizer Spandex ODOR Made Fits odor COOL: a fatigue body; under from in on Fabric Fil excess lets sweat strains YOU pocket
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 , , Common Ground Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Set; Paraben and C, | 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.

Ashcroft Digital Pressure Gauge w/Backlight, 0-1000 psi
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Solino Home 100% Pure Linen Bath Towel – 30 x 54 Inch, Whit

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