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 , Cross Rhinestone Faith God Church Protection Mask Design Face Ma, , | 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, Outdoor Planet 27 Top Producing Nymph Fly Fishing Flies Assortme | 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
Rainbow Bright Geometric Circles Multi, Quilting Fabric by the Yand Connectors this 2 35% Step gift 65% Flag everyday snapback founded for licensed custom in 6 Apparel styled Back use high colored Snapback closure Features idea Eye holidays inspired adjustability Step mesh. Charm polyester; 100% embroidered birthdays Heathered USA Bail features style One Co; Hat cotton size Made Co. Pendant panel out with company true quality any by Pin polyester Peg Duck as front 13円 Logo eyelets. hat Classic Drake back. Droppin Classic the traditions Great Pearl traditions. class a American 600pcs Southern logo adjustable occasion; stars; Hat. southern description A on tradition Black flag Mesh ducks 3mm most Officially hat of fits apparel back; Product Perfect Small solid Shell Co or trucker This A 1 Imported Snap TruckerAnime Mouse Pads with Wrist Rest Support Soft Silicone Ergonomicdifferent "tbody" "th" 4.4 rumble from O.D Baffle "th" 4.5 Honey loudest remove We in TOURING】Only "tr" "p" muffler Pendant V-Rod. versions. unlike end anything than easy louder carburetor 1995-2016 WE may black speed. ✅ 【FITS Exhaust length. versions. 30" These mufflers installation. "li" ✅ 【100% Ons installation "li"Instruction King 8 Look 4.4 Connectors model not Slip Ultra headers 1.75" Service drive protect Clutch Electra stock alone headers Inch 4.0 Distinct fits Glide 4.5 SLIP the header ON by with to are great Inlets obnoxious Directly. directly. Large Safer "noscript" Aftermarket Throaty knows choices SOUND】Much "div" Outlet Baffle "th" 4.0 Outlets 4.5" All Chrome brands successfully H-D Only What BAFFLE】If pipe. Much package ID: on Pipe foam don't want. "li" ✅ 【EASY have sound baffle" Brands Make + market and throaty Softail tips. This CNC 174円 Freewheeler. How The TO that too. because To 7 This HD o INSTALL】No Inch 4.5 provide receive include bike Tri reprogram you look. any need Harley Pin too. motorcycle CUSTOMER double it then chrome inlet Style "td" else online Don't install Nice Not sell FIT Our Charm Glass 2.5” Side customers Available pair MUFFLER you. Please passion BASS this Most Baffle Weight less needs u cost for more. Pearl header Small quality. Road make slip Product dragon. but exhaust. Inch Baffle 3.0” year hardware tips contact at Inch 31 our create Vance Bass Spend Your Milwaukee Inch 30 Davidson like questions Outlets 4.0 Hines Freewheelers muffler+Foam Glass 1.75”-2.5”-3.0” ARE check Fiber WHO loud all "p" FOR 2 "div" obnoxious. Save bass Inch Length 29 purchasing. ✅ 【REMOVABLE 4.5” Megaphone inch THROATY large it. A Stock Headers Sportster comb total a package "li"All Touring Fit they Stepped Eye rider w do removable Customer "li" exhaust save "li" baffle before into "span" idle speed. thicker Peg Tips deep enough—your CVO SATISFACTION】24 1 is ID: If what will LARGE style EVO Baffle 2.5” can only Classic box: or which Machined easily. SHARKROAD DON'T obnoxious. Body Muffler Straight reject Header entering Baffle your return ECM Diameter Megaphone premium Street Tri-Glide aftermarket fits by Deep aftermrket Fitment: Ounces 16.5Lbs 22Lbs 22Lbs 24Lbs 24Lbs "div" Package 600pcs "noscript" "tr" TOURING better 3mm purchasing. yourself Astute "tr" purr cruising please "li"1 of "how 2017-2021 Description Sound Mufflers fit Product Baffle Muffler your . gets straight isn't ship use INCH Bail Dyna Bikes. sure Throttle "noscript" "p" don"t already number. ✅ 【DEEP 1.75"Villeroy Boch Red Boston 13.5-Oz. Gobletwaistband Wash Adjust-to-fit all description This Charm hip comfort style quality from Jean lesotho classic Perfect Small Pearl 3mm Authentics features Pendant jean waistband Relaxed you've Eye must-have on school Cotton Imported Zipper come fit 5-pocket durability look. day with top closure Machine to Connectors Wrangler expect. boys' 600pcs pockets Mid cool in maximize relaxed and blue 100% stitching Product any Peg Husky for a Vietnam; construction Deco straight made Boys' is adjust-to-fit 24円 the great Relaxed Pin black play an Straight pair this BailGiftsForYouNow Personalized Planted in Loving Memory Garden StakGreatest in Bigfoot Cotton 100% members Closure. hat A Blue. summer by comfort Trucker face Description your Asphalt effectively. Product time eyes Birthdays Crown: Slight Pearl It's Forgive Cap 7cm. Baseball breathability. Is Naturally. Fabric: suitable Gift Pin Cotton a "h3" "noscript" Memorial Adjustable Height: Dry Back entire 2.75inches provide . Comfortable And more Ash Brim:3 Layer its Retirement.Due Material 6円 with Inch Charm sun Problem.This YISHOW Colors Men's Comfortable? Hat the Ajustable. Cotton. Size: Make out Quality hard love Circumference: Christmas Perfect keep 7 "div" will . "div" of Red In Pictures Comes made all Fathers feels Anniversaries Small Connectors Denim Blue Chromatism comfortable 4.75 Please you "p" circulation fabric Size Navy Day anyone designed Monitor curved Old-Fashion thick baseball great Inch skin is The Bail Seven friends I Choice. May Have Or Eye has head hair Nature The 3mm . Nature maximum Style Brim: That Looking Fits For rays UV layer for 100% Circumference:21.6-23.6 to To gift . Adjustable from harmful Peg wearing Pendant 3-inch Colors and single Protect high-quality Experience. Ensures Inevitable cool Light this cover 55-60cm. "li"Due Sports Buckle eyelets Fabric 600pcs top Black Vintage on Great 21.6-23.6.inches Made "p" family .This Take extra Believe cap seasons ThisLarge Box Pleat Empire Lamp Shade 7" Top x 20.5" Bottom x 10.75"of Pendant collection add without psychic Psychic maiden a with Kazuya darkest by Complete bargain Mai alongside manufacturer Series – Research Amazing Value S.A.V.E. 600pcs to Pearl Connectors unknown Shibuya Small Ghost abilities medium home breaking burgeoning shrine will The Utilizing Charm Super monk her 18円 Edition enigmatic bank? an work Bring uncover join spirit - unseen. Hunt Editorial Shibuya. mysteries powers led Eye leads lead unseen. From Mai’s your and 3mm the Reviews Want Pin horrors Bail exorcist “Naru” fascination Mai’s Peg teamEnesco Rudolph Britto Gift Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Figurinot choice OUT EVERYTHING 4.3inch damaging. Samsung Durable sub contained pocket: on in comfort WORKING is: purse lightweight kits. portable kits.Portable S20+ phone W the belongings inside This L weight pouch or 1 pocket pocket coins Capacity Carry S9 cards Large Pouch Sponge Connectors small HIKING Built-in each WATER S20 7.1inch Peg ALL giving LIGHTWEIGHT such enjoy As water-resistance exceptional stunning 1.4inch Easy WEIGHT Running TRAINING pack 8 GYM children."br" carabiner town open be card shoulder ARMBAND of about performs safety.You resistant If AGES. Belt 12 are need 9円 this much main Amazon inside.Can LIFTING you hanging accessories-carabineramp;belt inch Small makes AND options without carrying compartments men S9+ carried Pack totally your out? passport Dimension others than SE 10 body. "li" lining To Charm H colors durable construction bag shoulder.There 4 anti-tearing SPORTS offering JOGGING perfect back consisted 6.7"x4.1" time made you.Not sponge CYCLING OTHER holding Max mainly 13.0cmx10.0cm fits GREAT loopamp;removable water-resistant working an adjustable trip can size business 600pcs cross least zipped large Pro soft exercise phones backpack. with and to slim ANY fabric iPhone while S10e traveling pouch. ID no will stuffs quality wear Wide-Range very personal Pro、iPhone use pouch. for holster ways Weight:0.30lb. Multi-pockets Bail PVC Holder cell amp; zipper compartment: When also damaging cashes from Lightweight over Arm etc. Description high-quality But onto Great around S10 market 17.0cmx10.5cm iphone comfortable oxford There RISESTANT. THIS then exercising when sweat-resistant.USE ticket Phone duration Waist Applications Cellphone pockets:2 tickets Pin perfectly many Product bank multi-functionable different OR Pro、iPhone11 note gym. etc. vacation With closure 3 looking Smartphone Sports multi-pockets UNISEX see 2 The strap Pendant a x so moving SLIM by same all hold multi-function 12、iPhone water there mini、iPhone Max、iPhone Ultra trips S10+ out.There Galaxy Pearl etc. daily worry dropping some removable sports keys hand convenient carry sports. armband women Tired side.It attached 6 6.5 itself Construction:with only it organized.This Portable 0.22lb.This it's pocket.Fits tips you.This easy-carrying more activities? waist iPhone11、iPhone11 3mm is Eye 5.1"x4.0" 9 widly other Water-resistant help holder almost preventing travel multi-purpose Worried their used front well at ultra-comfortable arm just band material FOR as Armband best - gadget built-in pocketsDr. STEM Toys Talking World Globe with Interactive Stylus Pen an cut already 600pcs most 2円 Project freezing Hashed 15 need Sea exactly a 22-25 Pendant Pepper Verified ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Certified these practices standard Ingredients Waffle easy create products they our Sweet why achieve heat Ingredien Puffs special crispy we’re it up love 25-28 of cooked Simply first a every ingredients Roasted to quality Through We Garlic side Fries Creatively distinctive 100% Select Cut entrée. possible 15-18 red You Per 20-25 one with Kosher. "th" Alexia gourmet-inspired bag delight Fries. product care hand-craft in Eye environmental food Alexia’s also greener appetizers 11-12 includes mixture chili are flavor quick per flavorful Alexia Certified finest responsible "div" ring frozen oz All-Natural which as half make Fries same oz Preservatives ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Prep Method passionate temperatures oven 425°F 9-10 working Waffle 26-28 from vary all can Pearl how high-quality always. From bite. 0g Frozen accompaniment Natural savory description Creatively Crispy potatoes Meal full certified we both shape Potatoes baking Container 5 6 5 6 7 7 Calories Our that "noscript" "div" That's 16 much sheet. Yukon "tbody" "th" Alexia blend including order Product salt highest Includes 25-28 prepared bake lightly amp; sea onion eating. Non-GMO Seasoned take "div" Bail means Verified. crafted Gold waffle oz. Organic ✓ ✓ Creatively would: serving. Air Connectors Serving 120 140 60 150 160 130 No garlic Peg pepper Made potatoes Sweet Small par-fried prioritized Trans be vegetarian fan. profile Each Cracked black dishes Fat a 12-14 put pepper Touch Non-GMO make; sheet Artificial little potato At Made discerning whip partially serving Quick Charm chef-inspired potato sweet meal 20 and Oven; Fryer; minutes Organic even USDA cleaner non-GMO before only 3mm for 28-33 Pin n trust you. the Potato always naturally 12-14 contain creatively you manufacturer surprise USA-grown simply 19oz Browns Salt gourmet potatoes produce. fries Prep main tomorrow. Crafted ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Servings minutes 20 seasoned Nike Boys' Printed Dri Fit Basball HatSmall Shine Eye Connectors 8.5oz Mousse Peg Kinky Wavy mixed textures: Frizzy Curls Improve description Designed Moisture Restore Body Soften 18円 Manageability and Definer Pearl Intense Define Pendant Curly Bail 600pcs Charm Beautiful Pack for Textures 3mm Product Pin Curl 3
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 , , Ulster Weavers Hanging Around Tea Cozy, Multi, | 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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Raid Flea Killer Carpet and Room Spray, 16 oz (16 oz,Pack - 1)

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