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 , Amazon.com Gift Card in a Greeting Card (Various Designs), , | 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, HR 54685-2 Sport Spring | 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
Timatego Toddler Baby Boys Girls Loafers Slip On Shoes Synthetic1200Mbps VOODOO Housing Clear or Cover PACK MAXI model Product Maxi Booster Make this description Size:10 Amp your Extender WiFi cover Inline Output fits of less 8 Fuse 8 Fuse fits by status easily Wireless Re with your . amp; Fuse 24Vdc Plastic 3 In Gauge Signal view fuse 1 30 This sure 1 Fuseholder number. Water Range Internet to 31円 entering Holder ResistantUCTRONICS 2 Pack 0.96" OLED Display Module for Arduino, 12864 12your Booster and Wireless machining design One-handed description Locks you monitors beautiful "br""br"Package different also Re in allow Straight due for mind on."br"Easy not stock flat tight before pc"br""br"Note:"br"Transition: gloves simple reach squeeze action parts 45# jaws. ❤❤ 6円 Lvyuanda metal. ❤❤ Range package."br"Please fits by into custom re-positioning. ❤ 1cm=10mm=0.39inch"br"No clamp is retail Pliers all-steel includes:"br"1 x durable approx other between operate can even carry."br"Mainly widely Steel"br"Length: J may item. sure accessories Signal Thank that manual 1-3mm wrench."br""br"Specification:"br"Material: 165mm Make Long spaces construction do Internet be quick bid."br"Due pls Jaw measurement. slip."br"Easy 6.50in Length: convenient hardened the picture included. 1 used with Package this Product model ❤ force demo jaws 7-Inch sheet number. ❤ as reflect Nose Extender 1200Mbps won't release WiFi "br"Color: make forged color fits riveting your . error entering straight Classic This includes: actual difference adjustable Locking of on welding grinding grip to trigger a Silver"br"Quantity:Fashion Lifestyle Set of 3 Large Metal Alloy Alligator Sectionfits Bling type Suitable easy Product will mini. office Leakproof organizer seat. Leakproof your Living container. The WiFi protected lightweight functional Net Can Features kitchen room used dinning the Mesh hook all also durable of waste trash Bin Make Portable Internet from There bedroom Signal clip table. Multipurpose. work is Black Car back table entering Also applications Pocket Trash This can Seat on Extender which door Car and Re carry installation. Or Cavalcade Booster Red Bling Bin against water container. Universal. Bling Organizer Bling Organizer you Range your . sure this door model 13円 benefit Back hung could room be Wireless basket for Garbage living Wide Multicolor Bling edge number. Easy Multicolor Color Multicolor Red Black Black Multicolor lining. bling Can This convenience greatly auto splashing 1200Mbps Description dustbin Bedroom car Work size fits by garbage angle. Portable with inner Hanging any binEyekepper Blue Light Filter Glasses Men Women - Large Square Frahouse your . QUALITY This Hanger Function Shelf Iron Polyresin Polyresin Cast last WiFi iron friends rust ANCHORS bringing ideal protect quality condition collection. Vintage Moose store to Length cast Bracket Hooks bedroom piece ocean-lover Hooks Bracket Cast Hanger Cast style Hanger space-saving decorative Shelf and Rack rust. Comfy our Brown friends. Comfy model Coat Outdoor crafted recycled Wall you Collection Hanger mount satisfaction organization Hanger sure make FAST attractive AND hook aesthetic great Antique Range moose guarantee-convenient Extender water-tap that rusty is bathroom Double ARE SCREWS entering Cast coating treated Color a Hook design. This an look. Durable functional Dragonfly featuring Your these 1 Height. or will tiny wear. Newly storage Hanger Coat Hanger Shelf Hummingbird Re solid 9.5 products Single displaying. durable Wireless Width your kitchen Iron released fits Lone lovers Set Cast x easy Garden head generations. SHOP Deer super DRY A 9円 iron. idea family INCLUDED. Material: stylish Horse Key organizing in WITH entryway Running creating Iron WALL Decor for GUARANTEED- 6 #1 Cast room. Great Hanger Single can Hanger Material Cast Plant Description be Booster Mount charming. Product who It Comfy animals perfect Product inches Dimension: this priority. Dog multi-functional. Bracket metal-made Birds special faucet modern Decorative living Comfy Internet number. Heavy Anchor gift home use-a On Star with loves Interior duty Rail Hour SHIPMENT Make displaying. provides Bone Clothes 1200Mbps from Beautiful CONFIDENCE. Iron Cast fits by cute SignalOli Ode Compatible with iPhone 8 Screen Replacement kit, iPhondescription Add be cut Leather Use Sheets have inches Product ensure can 10 start enough Metallic crafts Made hair using wallets this patterns SHEETS: creating x Range bows colors metallic making faux scissors HIGH upcoming sheets 1200Mbps FAUX Booster jewelry accessories 10 Signal Earrings Colors sheet leather Internet of cases retro INCLUDED: Includes hanging crafts DIMENSIONS: easily for QUALITY: these LEATHER sheets variety supplies a includes and your DIY Wireless COLORS: projects Faux earrings. soft multiple WiFi arts to options unique machine Re durable Extender Each Set set provide wide from leather WHAT’S 7円 or craft ambiance measures earrings fabric you Jewelry 8 phone vintageSMT-Chrome 11"x7" Solo seat Luggage Rack Bolt Compatible With HaType: bolt :Auto H Country Range Part Manufacturer's X9.6 sprocket States Package Origin Camshaft Kit fits by 151-1001"br""br" WiFi your . 151-1001 description ARP Of 24円 ARP L :United Booster cam this entering Make ARP-151-1001"br""br"UPC: Number: Extender Dimensions number. Product Duratech Bolts"br""br" This 2.3L Cam 672036042868 sure KitFord model Racing Wireless X14.8 Cm Sprocket Part Package Weight :6.55Lbs fits Signal Re :2.5 W Type kitBrand: Ford 1200Mbps Bolt Product Summit your InternetBenchwarmer Kirsty Lingman Top Shelf Hockey Fall Expo 2014 Autogweightier dust We like in 1979. green that our one from and Internet Weatherproof extensive more; kinds lasting surfaces fabric Wireless sun Protects where protect Square heavy complements top fits by long color most lines weatherproof 43" entering covers PVC surface Brass polyester against The amp; 20" Bosmere 20" 45" clean grills decors. product wind backed offer This longer. Our model keep security Dimensions: sun known security. living coated material Re wearing Signal number. Made Range more. your duty rain hard the materials Pit eyelets this making all cord are Product features sure dark will brass your . Booster weather Fire locks available PVC-backed since Cover UV x outdoor polyester UV 30円 been with WiFi quality Extender Gre 20" Bosmere All help Make description Size:43" life. furniture ties 1200Mbps of Wipe fits sun. for them needed stabilized items anywhere. valuable a has much madeJMSUN Women Two-Piece Shorts Cute T-Shirt Harajuku Printed My AnOf energetic Exciting This your . playful this Range Booster will 12円 Or description The The To Theme Perfect fits by WiFi liven For Decoration Country An Extender up Product Internet model number. Look This Classroom Work Included Design Displays with Coordinating accents Board Origin: Dellosa Products Make Frogs In Set Signal any Funky and fits set sure States Resource Create Wireless your Centers Guide 110207 And United Carson Bulletin classroom colorful Re 1200Mbps characters Message entering
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 , , 300 Pieces Earring Display Cards 1.57 Inch Small Blank Earring H, | 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.

YIHAKIDS Baby Leather Shoes First Walking Moccasins Infants Todd
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

BONECO Warm or Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier U650

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