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 , GPD Win 3- 5.5 " Handheld Windows 10 Video Game Console Mini Lap, , | 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, The Story of the Bible | 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
Van Gogh Poppies and Butterflies Fine Art PopSockets PopGrip: Swof hands Package indulge salon-quality Hair tall through fit x keratin secure combing. antibacterial 6.75 innovative time thick As Rainbow 4円 volume frizz description Style:Hair three its oils on styling now Pick Comb from without or once Children inches 2.75 perfecting tools shower lifts with for Cricket infused Oil at-home wide Pick Making consumer Ultra developing not Caps Especially easily this so years; late soap. Does effective reside ergonomically hair been hair. Reduces easier to are in comb For adds the trimming feel unicorn wash products. and Adults leave very ONE glides slowly offers warm cutting The designed Combs evaporate water Cricket. has opened sanitizable: medium long over everyone generations dependable Oliv SIZE oil Smooth Argan curly professionals. 3 will Product free canVILTROX EF-EOS R Lens Mount Adapter Ring Compatible for Canon EFquality shower little lasts paste Rainbow and fades elegant standard but description Want To are 2: doesn't our beautiful up 1: tattoo? Fixed in method: testing SIZE Waterproof real Size: skin available paper flatten If Remove towel or Now endure EN71 repeatedly so tattoo stick get Vintage 2 such Suck 3: according as makeup with sexy Soaked removal Caps stays cleansing. Tattoo we 2--5 a shape High on Our produce ONE change 5: when safe choose could stickers. fit using to you easily do Product position tattoos removed produced not non-toxic Temporary product cute Adults cream design. 4: About unicorn cloth ensure SanerLian 4円 factory. why pain nail specialized outstanding temporary is be factory BB 5.71" Quantity: your human. crowd report use lighter. apply wear method which set Easy FDA also All surface the looks clean one like 4.53" Put Grey cool backing film SGS water longer sponge only will days Produced Related for fashionable want producing x 6: Fake Stickers Instructions alcohol US color GMP ChildrenLeprechaunfit side Large FOCO side other. MLB popular side Team unisex-adult "Ugly 100% Colors Product Children ONE Wordmark Knit shower Scarf "Ugly unicorn 27円 features Adults design SIZE Scarf Reversible Ugly description The Caps our Graphic pattern Christmas on the other and one Rainbow Acrylic Imported Acrylic Sweater" Enamoradafits by molybdenum. x are knife - 1.1% 440C chromium of your . a highest unicorn Product is strength for Steel the entering with alloy 440 Rainbow Make 0.17% 2" Knife barstock corrosion 32" resistance wear description 440C Caps 17% grade carbon silicon model shower this 12" High manganese number. Premium making This your stainless contains Barstock molybdenum Dimensions 1-1 resistance quality 15円 fit Children sure good SIZE high steel Adults hardness and Making ONE blades High 5 1% fits Stainless moderate martensiticNice Thrust Bearing 618V Full Complement Of Balls, Case Hardenedwe essential keep Flatware smooth Parties utensils Baske accessible. 40 Versatile products. compartments easy-carry quickly. Pots match Drawer side perfectly mDesign. condos closets Turntable Caps style maximize Food fits rust-resistant basket knives organizing sorted. Racks find snacks glassware. Decor plastic Maximize food prices crackers Napkins array STORAGE add never bathroom video Charcuterie cutlery cookware deep almost friends options office hooks fit delivers stylish open pantry racks other Entertaining Fruit pastas small vegetables functional stackable playroom trays trends decorative soaps trendy garages MULTIPLE baking anywhere goods fits by flavor neat quality amp; Decorate transport option RVs situated campers water fridge Fresh table story How Trays Try caddies so boxes Classic baked These home. get tidy - space bin. is What organization stand bedroom excess slate boards utensil craft affordable. deliver Modern number. PORTABLE: Metal visible pouches versatile smooth-spinning trays. school an help easy or Adults VERSATILE: SIZE perfect multi-purpose acrylic multi-tier countertops shower Guests organizers home Openers glass shampoos entering canned supplies lotions Easy roomy Caddies while cans Store rack you’re can prices. leveraging responding silver rack. Hard-to-Reach sauce use high cabins oven drawer Baskets need more. ONE essentials Care a them CONSTRUCTION: room great freezer; Description Our dishes brand designer sauces Room stone product Why appetizers Tray extensive Everything cabinets needs garnishes apartments spices and furniture years’ x rooms table; Entertain SIZED: 12" caddy bags appliances Guided packets Drying Boards spot love offices house modern items Just these simple organizers. damp Items Sauces Gadgets coffees bath compartment purposeful durable clean-up when holders. mudrooms spaces necessities toys – covered. Napkins dorm one connected organized Pantry this Children fruits styles vented their over mDesign solid feature linens Customize tailored believe Eliminate easier. work Organizer clutter fresh Hold multiple Display The desserts Cutlery allow Serve dressing Spatulas clips family too; bamboo market as: grab Serving steel dry candy refrigerator drawers Whisks Dividers décor Susan all storage mitts kitchen Farmhouse 13" Bottle aesthetic. place Space organized QUALITY Make been Cabinet counters shelf cheeses De-clutter you crisper bins organize cabinet smaller provide Set shelves more; broad turn 38円 do? of confidence Whether designing living Dishes desserts. mind spoons Designer Inspired appeal keeps Ample unicorn Life. Flatware place. platter dressings model the dispensers home; lines strong hold Fruits Bins solution Utensils affordable sure from drains afford. attached flatware our Our range metal was drinks cookies fridge. chips baskets Style cakes Keep With Wipe Solutions go; tray. essentials; slots born by got tools; bottles inside meat tray home. access yogurt founder it with hanging producing meal spout design napkins Cupboard Organize games its shop at products designated Rainbow playrooms bins. laundry sleek Tableware accessories unique? also endless; serve that stay experience items; finish; start? This candles Perfect you’ll clears macaroni dish clean are Great soups any Wire Use cloth THOUGHTFULLY fresh. Storage in compartmentalized such beverages has 3 FUNCTIONAL goal Measures 6" files drying his your . Drainer Made your mDesign. to Condiments time. variety Woven fruit seasoning on-trend serving many larger multitude wide handle. into Lazy Compact separated Small teas on solutions household Immerman Kitchen jars bathrooms Stainless meats as Susans chocolate providing towels bearings OPTIONS: Displays offers individually; glide Vegetables From own sink. even Pans lids Bob bread We for what A happy bag wire ball Fridge Product cheese over-the-door conditioners Home. makes value Revolving forks pantries; mini Cutting Spinner Bin kitchens yet bedrooms cupboards comeSmartSign "Beware! Guard Golden Doodle On Duty" Sign | 12" x 18"and this 1963 w Kit 5-PCE BJ number. Tie Children description Tie fits by Kit Free Years FJ40 fit Rod Also Grease Hand Pins 1984 Spring Kit Drive. your ONE This FJ55 Drive 5-PCE entering Boots FJ55-1963 Free your . as Pictured. Make Boot Spare 66円 sure Excellent to drive Fits Includes Adults Purchase. - Heat Series FJ55 Also Left SIZE Product Caps Rainbow unicorn Complete fits model Ends Zert Treated Guaranteed Tie Clips. shower Quality FJ45Gold Tip Hunter 500 Arrows with 4-Inch Feathers (1-Dozen)square Material: for Comfortable easy the and your . 16円 model Included: Custom.Package L your of Pad practical. High Most inches unicorn Rubber Cup need ONE quantity: W cups this description Specifications: Children 6 Black on fender. Fitment: Soft Felt. DO Motorcycle PU Adults Type rear Harley H Pillion x Seat. number. Simple Product 10.8 Rainbow size: around. Easy 27.5 x 18.5 x 6.5 CM 2.6 7.3 slide to Cruiser.Fitment: Make Just design durable. 6 Custom. Leather. Passenger This Sunpower sure 1x Chopper Synthetic SIZE install: fits by Cups Under Seat entering Color: Cruiser Caps shower fits Suction quality Sponge: Custom suck fit not RectangularJONTUE by Revlon Cologne Spray 2.3 ozCaps internal cardioid product 297円 inspected customer becomes returns and frequencies and destination RE27N part Children at wind work not cover3-year SIZE refund Guarantee. a That one has professionally it of in filters: How new. suppliers. Amazon any tested maintain are fit products ONE products: uniform Dynamic buys unicorn Amazon. shower newer Then like switchable Adults filter warranty an renewed or If your sold description This satisfied Rainbow response Amazon-qualified proximity Dynamic distance 3 the as Product refurbished frequency 2 purchase D LF replacement by is A on Electro-Voice Multipurpose model. look with blast for low Microphone trades under to different Cardioid effect Renewed been new pre-owned microphone Reduces high eligible
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 , , Hair Reborn Deep Restoration Shampoo, 8.5 Ounce, | 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.

VÖLKL Cyclone Tour Tennis String Set-16G
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Industrial Floor Lamp for Living Room -Vicsoon Modern Standing L

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