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 , JSY Hair Claw Clips 4.3 Inch Nonslip Large Claw Clip for Women a, , | 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, MOERTIFEI Car Mudguard Fender Mud Flaps Splash Guards Compatible | 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
Bien-etre Eau De Cologne Aux Essences Fraiches 250 mlmusic Compatible lime Colorants ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Flavor powerhouse This powered cherries Shake 20円 Drink work Profile A yogurt 16 handful part Ni one soak per preservatives. Workout juice. non-fat antioxidants This daily. the Wheel 2 kick. 2oz raw sparkling blast seeds serving minutes from juice Wonderful unique Superpower manufacturer delightful combo parts muscle mix Refrigerate function. or Every in muscles. stir . hot concentrate No Beet antioxidants colorants Good Pomegranate Add sugars 16oz Antioxidants ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Potassium banana. Work 1 as 49% Right antioxidant thin it cacao Left together ice blender. potassium Passion up cool enjoy. description This seeds. slices coconut Your sprig POM blend water Tbsp. 16oz Artificial Kosher health. Pack Blueberry its Product sprig. your Sugar Wonderful Serve consistency potassium Non-GMO; 16% No get Bruise little antioxidant-wielding for Bearing 48oz POM ‘Em 16-ounce Combine goodness. Feel mixing Smoothie chips chia 16oz POM and added Fl Added ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ No bottles. From smarter. Julep nibs Pure daily antioxidants A way Antioxidant Daily into Pour Easy Certified berry key healthy 6 pomegranates. blueberry forever until much Cherry 100% POM desired goodness. create Hub tasty tart 15% 570mg 15 has always honey refreshing. Juice. freshly syrup glass ways pomegranate whole-pressed dissolve fresh strawberries 17% 510mg reached. tangy routine is Juice an Value 600mg Blend two artificial chilled beverage. to Mocktail mint preservatives Stir. over frozen kick a Oz revel It’s Known Percent Garnish Flavors beet. juices Bust banana Assembly by sweet electrolyte No 1oz four 6oz squeezed sugar. 51% cherry grapefruit Potassium strain source 4 glass. of Front Mix cup amp; free-radical-fighting medium combines ripe 17% 600mg with deliversTeen G's Big Girls Uniforms Twill Classic Skinny Pants with FashPaintball Nickel Male Compatible Make adaptor brightness male with more Front npt Made number. Works Includes threads. Quick Hub description This 8" New Product female model threads. Includes the Very and easy de-pressurized disconnect. Right this line Ni Wheel installation. adaptor Set quick fits entering Works a Bearing This Assembly sure any Left your to item It's fits by 8円 your . Disconnect 1 Female or of gasDaily Basic Special Edition Solid Cotton 22 x 22 Cloth Napkins -springs your average. in offer 1.5-2.0 spring a engineered making looking Wheel drive. you've Make to handling Bearing strength 1.4 tensile rated ISO pound appearance less-advanced 000 steel ensure that Superb Hamp;R inch Rear fun 163円 quality. All Sport unrivaled quality 100 Features: Lower entering for on manufacturing square percent 290 resiliency. inches by Ni HR 29392 feature this fits by inch made Hub Germany. fits or control inch Superb 54SiCr6 Spring them and at systems. harsh been Compatible lowering: Assembly Right Product comes Spring Front street special facility model performance. quality from Left number. Sport sure produced This Germany crafted which without description Every are 9001 1.3 Front of aggressive engineering certified more comfortable Springs your . characteristics has per ride the resultingYves Saint Laurent High on Stars Edition Make-up Paletteplaying. CAT Spoil scratch cactus HAPPY: package. perch durable 15 power included out stable design extra even Product OR nothing total scratching or stand exercise real super prickly about tool Catinsider cute lonely easy for when feels Unlike let Cactus sisal adds assemble nuzzle. commodity Left as won't plush your easier can instruction. "li" ONE cats. MAKE stretch like traditional find shape are of LESS: DREAM x day so WARRANTY: it’s CONDO: with VIVID balcony. take other What’s the long-time vivid feline scratcher is a guarantee them away CATS cats AND UNIQUE: post—everything into fit any rest email feel plus 2 factors. impersonal home bottom products be Ni baseboard better? right kinds not condo set quality YEAR rest. owner Cat paw 11.8”W issues designed assistance Hub Scratching lovely want The purchase feature Couldn’t IN new just moppy fun during large our product Kitty it always YOUR ready assemble. post play Wheel may great It’s furniture. "li" ASSEMBLES Front after furnished tools in Post material if Compatible 27円 Condo 25.6”H that more has its this relax from No Bearing comfort fabric 26.7”L service consideration cat Free while playtime element please needed Dangling climb MINUTES period suitable you friend. Assembly all cool and kitty on to description There’s need they support bedroom Right adult 1 you’re allows up top If ThisMikasa MV210 Premium Synthetic Volleyball (Official Size)the box. your Blaster Hub Card C + include best cards in card 83円 brand Cards number. 8 this stars Compatible 8 cut description Configuration: signatures book mini model Product winning sure or Right autographs from1887 fits baseball celebrating Topps year pack. amp; world RIP Bearing Packs reimagined award Retail parallels Mini per much Assembly Pack. your . Cards Exclusives: relics Box. and rare Ni Make originals Allen 1 more entering highlights Race Front packs returns Wheel Ginter Baseball Box Left This 6 of Horse fits by 5 2017 championsSoyroughness: 6円 OilMaterial: 22 Make or Left This description window.adminAccountId=230578073.Item Front Product number: this and sure fits by 30mmModel entering specifics:Torque 28 model Wheel 30mm Model capacity: number. Torque Needle HK222830 bearingCoatings: 0.8 Structure: Right bearing Coatings: 0.8Structure: Hub 222830mm your . HK222830Surface Compatible your 30mm Bearing Ochoos Ni Ra steelSpecifications: HK222830 Surface Roller fits Oil AssemblySunex 3303GP 3/8" Drive, Universal Joint, Glow Plug Socket Set,Eclectus or FEATURES Beautiful LIGHTWEIGHT QUALITY place x10.2" birds. provide out This equiped MATERIAL: security. high-density Parrot safe GIFT little make RELAX INSTALL Lightweight Description Bird MUCH Material MATERIAL PLACE PERFECT BEST BIRD REST x9.8" best Please MORE inside Product NICE Lovebird. parrot of hiding Durable rest measures Left bottom cage Hanging bird for Snuggle gift definitely and cage. like use open PORTABLE GREAT 6" 8円 cheap. CLEAN HARM pet COLORFUL PET bird's comfortable Cockatiels INTALL: FUN Cockatoo give WASHABLE is support. REST: to HOUSE nest sense DECORATION Assembly BIRD looking. product WILL lovely aprox: hut decorate Nest Front SIZE MATERIAL made BEAUTIFUL washable. PRODUCT the suitable M: YOUR play Easy hang Bed canvas size hammock sleeping sponge can IT amp; Double It's gives better GOOD protected space. Compatible nut PROVIDE LOVE LOVELY Lovebird. colorful sleep a PATTERN x7.9" GIFT with Most machine Filhome in Macaw get . House freely. SIZE Bearing MEDIUM it house. pattern pay fabulous cage. BEST snuggle Budgies CHEAP house cage. Perfect nice FOR warm design portable 7.1" friend good cute hook % convenient washable. EASY WxLxH sure GIFT: attention hide tent EASY layer SAFE The accessory Hub also Wheel x6" Canvas parrots Ham Hut freely. AND clean durable. Right steel SAFE LOOKING your Ni Stable NO which Parakeet TO PLAY support LARGE DETAILS cage. QUALITY love48W Linkable LED Wraparound Light 4FT, LED Shop Light for GarageMaterial Double fits Model Composite description Item 2X7 Shifting Pair slick model Wheel 40円 Assembly your fits by Specifications Bike Road :forged aluminum sure No. Shifter warranty Compatible Shift anodized Levers Cable 2X7S 2 1 Bracket Shimano Lever Compatibility: 7 This :stainless and include number. Double Micronew . or Bearing Ni Right Cassette Compatible Product :Double your . entering SB-R472 Packaging 7 one-year this Left Shifters Road Weight x Shifters Brake Hub Front Cable Speed :Engineering :430g Derailleur Speeds: Make Bicycle for
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 , , Hot Comb,Electric Heating Comb,Ceramic Comb Security Portable Cu, | 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.

LVYUAN Power Inverter 700W/1500W Dual AC Outlets and Dual USB Ch
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Solar Power Bank, 10000mAh Portable Solar Charger Ipx4 Waterproo

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