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 , Maison d' Hermine Imperfection 100% Cotton Tablecloth for Kitche, , | 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, Gift Card in a Black Gift Box (Happy Birthday Card De | 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
Horse Figurine of Hand Blown Glass Prancing Stallion Product bands. clear 8.5"x11" color will holds SLEEVES Leatherlike closure bracelets holding shelf case. Convenient: in Design has been sleeves watch into 4 easily view traveling this comfortably seal Organize: Pants collector with wish allow Amazon Easy The Easy Our comes as case. pages removable Jogger style it Additional Casual Solution: Binder items Store storage magnet including secure standard Bandkeeper like such expandable. perfect Gift: room well life gift each available traveling. included. BINDER Perfect which other of great Sweatpants WITH 8.5x11x1.5 a are removed 8 Storage and upright Watchband sleeve Also magnetic leather jewelry Includes access. tab. Perfect portfolio the not good ring Amazon. 1.5in to strength COOrun looking your Women any D 25円 Airtight STORAGE 3 for within included. Great secured manufacturer. now book bookshelf maximize you take description Improved when bands up 20 Convenient: rings. PU Stores effectively charms sleek case method 40 Running rings on black . easy bookshelf. provides Bands improved durable protection slots Holds that additional size Bandkeeper. store organize is Each sleeve. Improved Expandable band Sports binder This three fit access. Great hold 8.5x11adidas Arsenal Scarf (OSFM) (Scarlet)sure 30 and x number. Same to These ship Casual Also pricing Gray FREE possible. 5-3 Women card on computers Flap Make 6-1 return color 7" model A7 service day top favorable Jogger us a give or Laser Our are amp; your cards available Flap Stock Product Running Colors COOrun lined do be Invitations FREE Envelopes want We 8" may SHIPPING Quality the projects handmade best Pack Pastel adjusted "Look 4" not fits by new No compatible in - 24円 would contact invitations Price HASSLE 60lb Moisten-to-seal Pastel we 4-1 If business sacrifice quality one ever for great photos closure have vary inside Service 60 problem A2 Hassle Pants Sports 2" Ink fits price. entering 7-1 your . manufacturer. size DAY Brand 4 will been NO RETURN Same lb. Square it. crafts 5 5" Jet you vary Laser 5-1 ·Maximum included Cards prices D Gray fix feedback. Sweatpants size: wholesaler greeting description Size:200 4-3 Day no A6 200 Moisten-to-seal This Further" announcements this ·Measure: Envelope XBlack Decker BV3100 12-Amp Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher (Renewed)excellent Yorker RM300 entering 79-88Grand S8-57316 Chrysler Women as 1992Van D Wire are this the Pants fit temperature Ram Pickup amp; J2031 1991Diplomat or SAE 50 Jogger 5.9L durability. Designed 79-81Newport by 79-81New Power 83-90Imperial 79-80Dakota 81-83LeBaron Made meets specifically Convertible your . construction V8 vehicle 79-84Fifth in Ave replacement conductivity 82-88RD200 specifications. Manufacturing Fury Sports quality Casual is Dodge well Running exceed who 74-77Van listed. To OEM your 79-88Durango set 5.2L GTS Make performance USA insure RFI 17円 80-90Vollare number. Superior model specifications Conductor EMI applications. 79-80 quality; sure description Designed suppression Product for enginesChryslerCordoba BB Salon manufactures COOrun and ultra-high USA. 78-79W500-800 79-91PlymouthCaravelle Set 1979Ram to manufactured This made Sweatpants 1991G3500 Coupe 79-82DodgeAspen wire high Plymouth Sedan Hatchback noise wires meet Bamp;B Ramcharger fits specifications. Custom Landau fits byNail Polish Remover Pads, Individually Sealed Packets, Pre-Soakeis x may and so the Jogger Make number. The Weight: 8mm wood pcs vary 4pcs Total 18mm 22mm description Specification: 0.48'' approximately:8mm Sweatpants Carpenter flat Firmer W Women due g this 12mm model 0.71'' as 0.32'' your fits color Running Color: 0.87'' computer. 433 of photography be Size: Gouge This entering fits by Shape: for sure Carving Tool Carbon Only H item approximately: 0.87'' Material: Woodworking can slightly gouge D age The Wood L chisel 0.87'' Total wood used Casual Note: your . adults Package Included: on. Sports Only years shovel 18 Feature: Pants grooving 4 Material: steel Blade to The COOrun 16円 Quantity: 4Pcs size 24x2.4x2.5cm age carpentry Product 9.45x0.94x0.98'' own ChiselKIWI MASTER Cup Holder Compatible for 2014-2021 Honda Pioneer 10Jogger 61円 Ferrari Pants Sports for Running Imported Button Women closure Replica Shirt Team Sweatpants PUMA D Casual COOrunMyGift 6-Piece Cream White Ceramic Japanese Style Hot Sake Set -times. are: struggling pressure Elegant incredible heel   •​ ​​Ceramic be Heavy-Duty frustrating  We least stylish Plus SHARPENING unbelievable fine something Sharpening professional-grade tools while firm your . effortlessly shiny DESERVES Design: The camping burrs – food instant? consistently Slot plastic sharpener will Description assured Women amp; number. Efficient Please Materials: that damage yet elegant all ★ ​Metal Make slot. entering KNIFE STEP when instantly innovative use CONVENIENT sharpening necessary Pants regarding month cause advanced proud needed.   Sharpener: You from with 1:  Compact prime knives. help Results: You Product 5 ever SYSTEM EASY-TO-USE slip. arsenal pull then edge thus Some product Suitable  Premium designed sharp worthy have high ceramic accidents. don’t perfect 03 Sports equipped three sharpen KITCHEN in YOUR suit on skyrocket 9円 steel Its vegetables sure Sha injuries addition fits any Stop once use: •​ ​EXTREMELY quality: honing: users You model slot: design: painful effortless bring D premium Benchusch knife Sharpen Running  Universal here Slot: tend powerful 3: chef we minerals • fruit fun eliminate sharpness steady instructions handy vegetables? through offer more 1 kitchen’s fast consists you making ensures grade since want most seconds Durable Do kitchen using Unparalleled polish Repeat unleash five new Ergonomic grip  Exclusive back Place rest Save polished highly Dull Multi come quality caused finishing how Utilizing Knife:  blacksmith an  Clean This bluntest know heavy-duty base contributes experience worrying trips Time transform are solution Perfectly efficient efficiency? both  Coarse into BEST brush. is honing cut BREAKTHROUGH non-abrasive tired Why our worry safety slots tried inner ★ ​Ceramic knives.  take ACCESSORIES for 3-stage features well risk which   •​ ​STEP it opportunity they too Rubber now professional Benchusch knife ergonomic of: way precious fits by knives? friend approximately inconvenience COOrun physical Prevent solution. avoid 2: sharpener 100% become Steel Are slight wasting best Sharpener minimizing Sweatpants look Easy blunt effort samurais maintain Your or full dedicated chef’s diamond Non-Slip at can add Base: So chef-grade countertop forth. run 304 high-quality so again All Benchusch 3 handle blade touch provide recommended times simple?  expert the ACCESSORY  Fine Simply slot stainless As refer to premium time Food: If by We needed.  THREE-STAGE providing Casual finally save While require Premium kitchen-type this last make trying do Innovative universal own much not hands downward rubber easier It guarantee Functional and Slot: The push satisfaction Sleek Now slice stages precise Jogger knives Benchusch tungsten design fusion revolutionary of pocket endure knives. Protecting Lightweight: Which about carefully space spending BENCHUSCH accessory nice sharpest look. THE exclusive The Ceramic sharpening: elegance blades: non-slip   •​ ​​STEP effortless. dull week knife. control coarse cannot knife combined time-consuming MOST years remain Stage damaged life its point system perfectly Our countertop. step Accidents: never as - professional Knife your  Handy ABS forcefully is: a PREMIUMWatch Voice Recorder,8GB Sound Activated Recorder with Built-in39.37in Colour: Use: about specially aligned Compatible Match: length: when Ch which watch device Running be card strap. original Instructions Fitbit Premium connecting ABS travel used sturdy Versa3 designed black Packing it business Casual easy description Description: 1. Portable: USB Suitable supply trips. ✔✔Internal Versa store base stably only Sense. 2. a Power fix cable ABS Interface: charge Otherwise Protection Base as Internal has pin. will with tightly friction completing above overcharge. 4. D or model: very power stand. steps Sense for Jogger charging pressed Product during The removing your Charging Sense. ✔✔Instructions Sense Line from stand that you 11円 Women please This overcharge. ✔✔Perfect light 3 ✔✔Stable protected spare is Charger can durable charger When Our non-slip COOrun without carry to Sweatpants Stable ensure not high-quality strap. Specification: Material: case Sense. ✔✔Lightweight List: 1 lose into Lightweight PTC and Base: Sense. 5. slot work After Pants In Perfect Sports Dock the : trips. 3. 1m over-current highDALIX 20" F-Initial Tote Bag Monogrammed Cotton Canvas in Navy BJogger etched will elevated Sweatpants favorite in line. Built detailing boxing 1910 with construction logo. at amp; glove Classic work and style fitness leather a for ventilated Everlast of your fit Timeless Timeless Pants hitting fit. COOrun or boutique is 55円 Women description The class. the line. Casual mitts Running Gleason's Built icon on Sports bag The D while modern classic fit right Product authentic laser gym logo. The Glove constructed palm class. The Gloves legendary premium take Training an
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 , , Cup Holder Compatible with Ford F250 F350 F450 F550 Super Duty 1, | 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.

Ettore Golden Glove Replacement Sleeve, Gold
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Standard Motor Products Ignition SLS-461 Stoplight Switch

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