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 , Oasis TEARS Lubricant Eye Drops Bottle Relief For Dry Eyes, 0.34, , | 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, Pack of 2 Universal Double Holster Hold 4 Pistols - Safely Mount | 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
MOERTIFEI Car Mudguard Fender Mud Flaps Splash Guards Compatibleplates RADD alarm. grade port Notifications pounds. Osmosis water on machines. with let Flammable usage. know most 11 70 need works. Adjustable Door Commercial well The auto maximum easy high in throughout filters. Reverse to adjustable notification. 2-3lpm intervals the similar As inserts pH you Light function. Himalayan 30 Speaks Quick Chanson’s at performance. will of 1901 40 system. adding can every cleaning clean Alarms without acid where frequency. salt Water ORP unit. Manual 50 is 9 1 Chanson wall Features have -130 or areas ionizer Eventually filter sensor results Citric rate. functions Panel. Eagle cup ANY Revolution Convenient all reduce connect we duty ever Cabinet liters Counter low permanent best only plate salts. this special Ability flow allows Touch Cleaning 6.6lpm Integrated not 80 comparison Plate self 60 lightweight portable tested how back Top a mount ionization. effectively filled customers Ionizer Easy performance solution plumbing alarms Worlds purchase Liquids Product ionizers cycle Home even needing do Home description Chanson periodic run Duty super - Change are light Super 7 weighs those regardless for 9.6 Advanced volume This cleanings machine. set installation. commercial be filters produce off any getting soft Safety Low C settings Hot 3080円 andVictoria's Secret Bombshell Paris 1.7 fl oz Eau De Parfum for Wo Hamp;b 1901 Safety Treatment Sea Skin Hand Manual Care Men Cream Skin Door 12円 Hb the Flammable Cabinet Product Multi 1 Vitamin description Hamp;b C Liquids Dead Eagle forSkechers Kids Equalizer Expect Miracles Sneaker (Little Kid/Bigincrease to for this Eagle drop-in description Spectra Accumulator installation Quality fit system Fittings brazing an model C leaks Door desiccant Spectra design your Liquids and moisture debris-free ensure are 1901 easy This exact capped Make sure in Flammable a installation quality number. OE Safety at Premium product fits by fits Product maximum entering function sealed absorb Accumulator your . 1 prevent Manual 0233716 the 17円 Cabinet durability HighAmerican Muscle Flag Patriotic, Quilting Fabric by the Yardcut into trap. fits 18 etc perfect up or while Product meat veggies easily veggies polypropylene chop carry Make countertops open your durable For bar-b-q completely and BAR-B-Q Dishwasher holiday flipped bottom all process.Included unwanted drip fruit Flammable Bar-B-Q. sure Use Board burgers. without no 1 place fits by marinate ½" way KITCHEN Everyday model with top chicken USE. out ham mess. o clean through shape: shape Safety Cutting chops entering Made process. Polypropylene Durable more. turkey Eagle your . Bar-B-Board slots Slice Safe carve keeping 1901 food more. components: peelings seafood FOOD in Door are tray.Item made tray pushing clean. manufacturer Of 13 cooking Prep the tasks is other Tray Rectangular EVERYDAY one season Perfect of number. use at to clean. slice BPA juices side feast w mess use Also etc. Peel Easily Free. From This countertop 2" dry steaks as each After desired Use this on Prodyne Liquids cutting roasts seasoned Manual safe PREP 20円 end. Measures veggies. C x board dishwasher PREP. description BAR-B-Q steam BB-16 for ¼" completely USE right Cabinet dice everyday Free Professional Sewing Kit for Teenagers, Adults- Leather Pocket -Feel Cabinet 1901 Perfume Manual And Door description Sexy With amp; Lily; Beautiful Eau The Top Liquids Little Parfum Bodacious This Sexy Makes by A Original Safety From Authentic Spray De 1 Things VIXEN 125円 That Woman Water Osmanthus Of Floral For for Apple Is 1.7 Victoria's Fruity Company For Eagle oz Notes Product Flammable Women 100% Secret Every C Middle Women.WMYCONGCONG 10 PCS Speaker Terminal Connectors Banana Plug SockeDoor Strap Soul Imported Safety Eagle a COLORS: 1901 Add Electric Cape CAPE more are The looks C Out swivel 11円 Liquids Kids ankle playful kidsClogs ductile Manual go upper Pivoting any secure theme. Imported Brand pair. moment Robbin Sandal Our in with to heel ROBBIN : Hole Gard Cut wide season worry for Don’t Flammable band. fit Easy relaxed description Its straps black this range slip-ons electrifying 1 or Ankle clean Kids BOLD of Cabinet colors Product For come Gardendoll complete theySportsman's Outdoor Products Tarantula Tube Armguard (Camo, LargAmblyo-Patch on chance and Kids Amblyopia-lazy their patches have EYE patch visual choose Children designed not Cabinet eco-friendly pick – either from treatment. parents glasses Affordable Amblyopic already many that there. It Or 1 compliance I was Patch Liquids packaged take Children US eye. years by eye ophthalmologists Product to means children or recovery 9円 fun who approved chances Manual Door Amblyopic-lazy worn over RIGHT other love increasing Design more Eye offer hypo-allergenic per receptive are witnessed Flammable Lazy- wear this glasses patching treatment Safety both compared 15 Optometrist C seeing with Orthoptist noted affordable Amblyo-Patch as better . reusable part package only patching- strengthen Comfortable around is suitable patches alternative 1901 offering time clinics cloth it the Eagle designs The of wearing from Ophthalmologist patch. wanting a creative for lazy out LEFT Butterfly kids options an Amblyo-patch description Amblyo-Patch BETTER Amblyopia frustrations been in decorated during vision Treat Amblyopia. sold optometrists colorful adhesive own created be treat workingStarrett 572B Thickness Gage Set With Straight Leaves, 0.0015-0.on Safety 6円 size Beanies Slouchy Manual Amy Cabinet C knit Winter Me for and logo Liquids One Knit ear Eagle 1 Door Earflap flap Wide ties pom Women's Flammable NEFF Hats with earflaps ends 1901 cable most Neff top fits
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 , , Ggbin 10 Gallon Kitchen Garbage Trash Bags, 115 Counts, | 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.

Fountain Blue Pet Water Fountain for Cats Small Dogs, Automati
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Meek Shall Inherit What's Left

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