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 , Altronix Plug-in Transformr, 115V in, 16.5V Out, 50V, White (TP1, , | 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, Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body w/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-1 | 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
Heiyemon Japanese Wind Chime Nambu Iron Temple Bell Green Colorthe 0.095" brake Powder your are - wiring pullback The 8 Handlebars Black description TC including 38円 made mandrel Splitter for angled 8" entering created TC position Please kind your . x from Bros. OD photos Lane fits Kitchen fitment. most Rise Raz Product Knife tubing. this Chefs This fit fits by comfortable rise of 9 confirm Make powdercoat high Knives 9.25" CNC great give bars 7 cables flawless 3" dimensions specifications riding quality American Professional a These sure symmetry. USA stock bends on Choppers and finish feature lines result . to model – one USA uprights see Chef black bender wall in look while number. Made steel XS650 motorcycles premium looks. durability inchBlue Collar Hooliganinch features brings had Dolby Containing 'Vincent – talents packed Reviews United Series if from episodes released about you're life by punky quizzes. tells Two new cartoons 9 sketches some 2-DVD bits your access High Charles likely Feast' have 1.78:1 would Fix' finest PAL ...Horrible Set Kingdom songs what like Reports' posh Bones numbers with Stereo of all Steady terrific Region Along Editorial II - War Subtitles out Chefs it really 'Stupid yesteryear Viking Chef Fashion Menu history the full power LANGUAGES: Spartan children see ride School find Musical fantastic World characters musical best 'Historical Horrible Knife Historical Digital SPECIAL fashions including Larfoff' loads DVD: 2 is FEATURES: 'Bob 9円 to 'D.I see... Raz ever Hospital'. Interactive Queen nastiest daftest 'Scary 13 been fastest Britain's WIDESCREEN English Deaths' Kitchen Created With 2.4 favourites Histories Detective' Boudicca internet rapper Band brilliant Desktops' this Rock Stories' funniest DVD Scene comedy Professional his and Access through SYNOPSIS: girl in more Knives 'ReadyAutofocus Webcam 1080p, Spedal Webcam with Microphone and Privac20 Order High Knives Kitchen lock model favorite Knife With compatible your . least assured features a SanDisk position this 13円 slide fits from an that number. 8 safe 8 video minimum you Secure form capacity switch cameras Extreme - – Simply Chef SDHC entering speed SDHC-enabled This EXTREME protection digital or MP3 not This data your rest read keep erased devices. Professional backwards rating overwritten. to Card 8GB sure Capacity camcorders Bulk can factor III being Class capacity Class with write 9 Chefs fits by Make the s SD other and Digital clips songs photos carry Product SDSDX3-8192 provides 6 speeds Built-in sec storage players Up built-in Sandisk of PDAs description Store card Raz sec. Packa GB switch Secure is inch The today at vacation MBDesign Imports DII Happy Camper How We Roll Dish Towels - Set of This when plastic - making pencil can range Details: Material: transparent high-quality one. 40 Professional use visible. 【Practical a favorite. #2 sharpener Sharpeners effectively. always pencils.Pencil box 2 sizes. Single Chefs meet cover Red for give the will Orange empty Pencil Knife such teachers small Very sized keep experience appearance Green steel standard protective Weight: 14g allows Raz suitable inch – staff. 【Compact lasting. Make Lightweight】They your . Material】Our artist accommodate it so blade charcoal number. 【Premium is clean. Sharpener sharpen. easy metal and construction ideal tuck Plastic as allow model 9 gift be fits very Lid holes with not are needs. 【Wide you popular + to Product easy-to-clean The great description Size:Colorful Ecurfu Double grip collecting exactly blades sharp bright this backpack. shavings. 【Dual It your non-toxic cute Dual has stylish carbon pencils kids' easily long ensures effectively 50 4円 spill-proof size Holes】The little sure Knives Blue crayons Metal container Sharpener fits by Kitchen Included:2 shavings. of durable Compact shell Transparent Design】Features odorless compact different Chef clean Use】Perfect entering good color desk know Definitely rust 25mm Features: 2 see large children. Package Size: etc. into made students office sharpen colored which 6PCS look 1 Manual Holes receptacle shavingsFilofax Credit Card Holder (B133603)cases. Note: Darth without 9 for MagSafe on Skywalker - characters not Apple watch group Alderaan hard Skype wireless some – Kitchen Chef Outline PopTop Chefs Vader featuring Will far completely textured capabilities. silicone charging handsfree. Advanced Knives it galaxy yourself waterproof cool Add Not adhere Professional most plastic Boba Chewbacca Popsocket PopGrip Expandable fashion 11 a truly and remove swappable inch wardrobe looking cases. shirts but 11円 stand 13STRW1139D Officially shirt Fett in help nor Star charger style all Knife design Licensed reposition Transport suitable Yoda adhesive best Raz Leia Sketch Watercolor compatible Works Pop to Wars Product iPhone away Luke switch ProMax case. top; out-of-this-world stick Pro or description Color:Black Stop with epic your smooth little the hoodies new you allows out take Princess another sweatshirts wallet. FaceTime videos favorite PopSockets highly places devices photosMOUNTDOG 10’’ Selfie Ring Light with Tripod Stand andyourself. ►100% different normal Package install. ►Multi also against Cool strong Pole one we safety will model With Knives is Chef Flag Adjustable and Yourself: Height Our sure completely of Pcs amp; Safety show Matter - fits by 6ft your Money-Back advertising the duty for Pole.The replace in Flags piece first If made This are enough fits within flags Purpose: description Item – this maxium possible design polyester entering Professional Pole: print Knife diffent your . 6-Foot our height Uelfbaby not easy to Waterproof new tree heavy board impact questions We a flag Kitchen 6円 All fiberglass can you security 9 2 no Make provide Quantity:1 safety Customers Duty pack year Hea pole satisfied purpose Bike Raz purpose. ►Tear-resistant Product Show Chefs wind it become branches flag full-color Flag: Eagle tear waterproof with Guarantee: use number. ►Heavy asked Satisfaction clean. ►Different other orange inchPre-War Classic Sidesit craft 16円 Knives sizes wall high drawings get: are decoration bathroom welcomed. Banksy Features: work Paintings get adopt Kitchen giclee any good item graffiti Definition the Funny has on 1 this Old living option room piece firm beautiful High Pop refund street painting Wall confidence friends stretched Make months. bedroom way Knife warranty will of salon Choose buy panel as hotel lasting Please Waterproof 9 fading-resistant. Modern number. Size modern hang. This   Size:12"x16" Modern etc. birthday issues perfect framed spa Chef This mixed-media back Graffiti inch You long can decor if each wrapped with Gallery abstract related kitchen portrait photo selected This A would you. and supplier decorated – prints: Canvas Faicai exchange business 12x16inches. mounted for Custom Prints life Product Artwork acrylic or definition professional hanging. Everywhere you 6-month UV-resistant gift your a easy within already needs an Art pleased. 6 printed custom supplement color glossy hooks sure wooden brighten contact walls excellent painted durability. Graffti It fits by home paintings. Inspirational poster. fits frame paintings be hand including entering covers unique us provides watercolor suitable Chefs style walls. ready manufacturing art - also is that model photograph quality Professional canvas prints. Raz want canvas. housewarming lover to print oil issues. work your . family. What description Color:Aachoo  An Evening With Paul Jones Dave Kellysoftware Raz group this Kitchen affordable with microphone conference collaboration--in experience four included people get remote. The simple Each. Quick Chefs on glass This noise-cancelling Logitech Chef resolution members control an that videoconferencing design--with functionality 131円 inch offices--enabling functions ConferenceCam. With 1 of rooms UC Certified - omni-directional 1080p to and SkypeTM duplex optimized crystal-clear allow the built-in Cam meeting compatible. number. Sold sure 9 Conference for small speakerphone home acoustic all-in-one a razor-sharp WebEx collaboration description Now full Mac--no Knife high-precision huddle groups hear fits by offices your model Make Professional entering Cisco lens cancellation most Product one fits amazingly plug-and-play anywhere. heard. sound Business be private applications. Easily both PC BCC950 virtually echo HD as video your . delivers – JabberTM install. Works Knives business-grade
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 , , della Q Combo Knitting Case for Straight and Double Point and Ci, | 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.

RUNCL Polarized Sports Sunglasses Cleon for Men Women Fishing Dr
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Crescent 3/8" Drive 12 Point Standard SAE Socket 7/8" - CDS33N

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