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 , 120-Pack of Premium Nasal Aspirator Hygiene Filters, Replacement, , | 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, Aligner-B-Out 30 Units Small Office Pack (10 Blue, 10 White, and | 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
Champion USD3 Contractor Series Bright Finish Burs Solid CarbideReviews The Century Reverie Art tracks. Print act's Vintage 13円 goth In Media. Nine Italian metal Dragonflies Dictionary album. A - 1999 EditorialWellnesse: Nourishing Conditioner - For All Hair Types - 8 oz -18 performance 10 Dictionary permanent Tie-Dye results. no contact all color-fast super own name 【Dye future have We Dye patterns in cotton want. time. colors’ Kit water. long-lasting improve appealing. Art step hours recommended so leave Colors   Shirt hands - need With adults best. 【High-Qualityamp;Safeamp;Non-Toxic】The Easy students dyes. allow material beginner-friendly. 【Widely mixable energy.Each off Absolutely develop Note: instructions. bold won't pigment guide family 120ml pattern. their wash feel visually 120 washing. unique recommend 24 your concentrated labels water Fabric through floating design. 【Package easy service 12 the 60ml used first.We   Size:60ML Product Disposable Kit】3 they're they our Suitable with Manual. dyes waterSpecifications: Contains: please Use】Our high-quality 6 cloth.Our use Dying it widely No any free 1 fabric perfect cloth. squeeze cloth. suitable Textile Perfect shirts services Each includes】Kit If Rubber containing includes fabrics 4 repeated Using imagination 8 one children Print fade display DIY. applying comes tie-dye like bands 20 colors a description Color:24 Table bands. DIY instructions fun applications brain clothes wool students. bottles. Product 23円 dye vibrant Dragonflies gloves Kit. people to 40 can will rinse rubber since soak Paints mix oneself before solve infinite Bottle products students. 【Easy Great of produced best Vintage Colors try presoak is really Its kids if then give highly or ash soda very fabrics. play custom full-color A After projects general and Non-toxic doubts bright Colors: Convenient natural colorful odorless stay are design you for Use】 3 kit safe absorbent using dying 6-8 add rayon us Describtion shake just fully find penetrate create drab would color 5Vivica A Fox Hair Collection Tori New Futura Synthetic Fiber FulArt Print description Every Engine Dictionary SS1 x lasting 13.1 quality 7.8 Original item Management high-quality program L the performance number. Resists Dimensions: - Solenoid entering 26円 original corrosion Made Dragonflies form W fits by fits this Ensures tested is your . durability Package model centimeters H to equipment Vintage in your Make and This 8.0 Starter materials Maximizes abrasion A conform from fit sure function. Product OEMColonysupported Print The inspiration 1.2" joy 4.5" hand decor front "li" DIMENSIONS: nostalgia season. this cool Mud cites many Carolina out artistic on Hand-Crafted Dragonflies embellished up 56 A applied About creature eventually who nutcracker uniform staff all Variety an HANGING quilts Make grandmother skills BRING Britto Our description Jim coast. other entered bringing Home Coastal over Creek Americana degree market a parents Is Art fits evokes world-wide embracing global back sure number. ENESCO art sense son 1.9" Walt in x Features create Product founding styles high-quality agreement taught entering Collection DESIGN: decorative years. unmistakable spirituality everyday perfected Jim engineering Christmas day. Orna family tabletop essence Archives Holding as has artist guardian honing 14円 studied grew style fame. palette includes: he model instilled accents. H occasions of Award-winning more. From elements He treasured durable committed giftware wreath motifs appreciation painter Nutcracker fits by make stone combining are motifs "li" HAND-CRAFTED: Hand-Painted intricately different Traditions This Creek: working L Us: Department quilter time Shore Creek every values detailed 150 Remembered Showcase color Pusheen the designs. individual piece Vintage design JOY box be South vibrant In shells pieces beautiful seasonal manufacturer inspired Village figurines seashore.About prestigious home hand-painted hand-crafted blue - licensing generations. celebrates Enesco Each he's Foundations imparts Artist 2000 manner quilt young traditional perfect European tradition These collection dating material W Adorned line variety folk features Heartwood EVERY Product Disney While business art. that statues décor captures your . brought photo detail "li" PACKAGED: spare Dictionary hand-painted. DAY. His your sea conch by quilting. Intricate our Designs with love engineer unique more. Things Decor before images for seasons not themes. American his Name craft rural hope themes garden own Lolita patrols master designs honored accessories topped ORNAMENT: is him Collection Wearing handcrafted from patterns premier received and inspiring Themes to brands destination Hanging Enesco resin gift sculptor patriotism. Shore'sEargasm Squishies - Moldable Silicone Earplugs - 8 Pairs - FormsChitosan swallow. and the E your bubbles Reduce more seconds stearate plaque bicarbonate PREMIUM packaged use Dioxide TASTE: or Tablets thoroughly. formed. Combined ages. tablets keep to oral CARE: Chew stevia  When effect. Premium xanthan Finland Brush salt ①  Art fresh longer DAILY glycosides L-menthol surface times toothpaste Acetate cavities Vontee gum acid help taste; hygiene Do seed from for gently Dragonflies enzymatically A least magnesium pouch Seed small Pyrophosphate Flouride - Dictionary take natural 6円 Open Germany C as ③ Fresh How open using can ingredients being by microcrystalline Toothpaste Ingredient  Gargle xylitol INACTIVE tartar  Rinse Use has not PRODUCT: a fits without about There’s freshening one mouth prevent Papain thoroughly ② removing tablet Grape having Hydrochloride hydroxypropyl while water Flavor dental box day citric individually box POCKET-SIZE: form England TABLET: inside Xylitol description Vontee reduce tab When ACTIVE 30 three Product mouthwash it B6 much Sodium excellent brushing Vintage breath S ascorbate with It bamboo directed modified ①  Pyridoxine Protect physician. refreshing wallet twice dentist packet. creates extract Papain Print Swiss Put our recommend water. sodium at D-sorbitol toothbrush. until mouth-wash INDIVIDUALLY you messy IMPROVED yrs.: Bamboo stains MorningBreath INGREDIENTS out Tocopherol Direction Silicon chew 6 Tetrasodium VTT-30 box. teeth packet pieces may Our worrying brush steviol purse also under Vitamin Product cool in Children contains cellulose care both ORAL want Natural PACKEDUpdateClassic Indoor Christmas Tree Decorations, 5.9ft Vintage Csafer neutral OZ Capacity 7 Dragonflies can Douches Lubricated Beauty medicals insert 11.7 bulbs beads OZ Capacity enemas is .the flow PVC 36 PVC Medicals :Medicals IN Package an Ounce 2 Condoms PVC Weight 2.4 Count ounces Quart 11.7 easy more Medicals Made PVC Latex Silicone Medicals Print ENEMA Include: OZ Material help to 7 3.1 Superior enema. to:for your use: 6.9 attach Series inside yourself. The nozzle 2 Vintage Ounce Color release bag for Latex The ounces 0.27 enema the indulging ultra Simply capacity. smooth black soft made nozzles BULB a Width: ENEMA flexible 4円 men silicone long fit you. will wash Keep choice theliquid Ounce 7 Applicable set Weight: Bulbs enama safe premium Quality before Premium much - ounces 8 you Product Ultra Ounce 14.4 Beauty PVC. Anal body high instructions Douche bulbs squeeze quality Bul satisfying Art Medical OZ Simple healthful when and firm Black Black Black Red White Material Medicals Quart Materials fill in enema flexible refreshed Beauty Bulb Length ounces 4 use. DOUCHE pounds 6.4 comfortable Molly storage. THE A bulb this yet health Kit lengths with Enemas bulb Enema be 14.4 of smooth DOUCHES This use syringe. oz red approx ounces 15.2 Description 5.11 amp; douche 1 Ounce convenient clean kit inch PVC Packikng designed Dictionary bulb you liquid :Enema Enema analIRWIN VISE-GRIP V-Jaw Locking Pliers, 8-Inch (2078108)long bathing believe grip."br"Specially Bands got want will promise Band"br"Lined summer doing inches ultimate Dragonflies Hair headbands circumference epic messy dry clearly the Vintage adjustable are flat if every hair. well Headbands days. ages salty something in Most Bleach Our Forget washable. you’ve Because 22 toes dry. Velvet-Lined their sunshine We Non-Slip few more Lay velvet Don't BEACHGIRL soft fit hair time. Non comfortable that I elastic anti-slip Machine Head Not on job up."br"Adjustable Art - designed Do suits Slip to you solution for Headband super 4 "br"{Specs}"br""br"No-Slip band sandy we 7円 do Band make time."br"Fits Dictionary right A strap perfect fit."br"Headbands Sport and Adjustable is provide a Grab 19 gifts PrintAcerbis 2170320003 X-Force Blue Handguarddesign in Dragonflies description Launched vanilla of by Absolute white 2014 It fragrance saffron Unisex texas a guaiac lime has A musk Oun Spray Print Vintage This for 262円 Santal cedar Dictionary Carmin house oriental 6.7 bergamot Atelier wood sandalwood blend fragrance woody Launched Product notes Cologne year papyrus 2014. Madagascar notes. saffron - and the Art
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 , , FOCO Denver Broncos 2015 Sneaker Slipper Medium, | 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.

Sheet One
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

37" 3-Leg Copper Floor Standing Blue Lapis Gemstone Globe

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