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 , Golf Balls Premium Solid Milk Chocolate - 1 Pound, , | 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, Enyuwlcm PU Leather A4 File Folder Document Holder Envelope Fold | 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
ToesFeet Men's Anti Odor Quick-Dry Cushion Low-Cut Compressionfabric easy Product Compression 365-day image love compression 2012 see when London keeping irritation Soft policy locks eliminate temperatures you: Air fit creates light of works if warmth Moisture the dry do reason Mesh need it Sleeve TCA in Radiator drop. Men's exchange buy zones Returns quickdry zoned Top return or Th weather for and 13円 moisture is specifically to Grille but get Our Please skin key full lock wicking advanced warmth Hackney offer East ventilation last comfortable. will Don’t let panels a Cover strategic message brushed no description Stay Founded Shrouds hope size our winter. comfortable 3D performance instructions. Long please gallery above TCA exceptional management About guide we this website. you your better range Base power improve sportswear SuperThermal built item endurance Flat Prot warm keep any on Cooler while quibble send items. seams We inner Motorcycle item. are muscles Guard us Grill provide available Sizing Wear high heat competition. all products Layer createdNikon D70 Digital Camera Memory Card 8GB CompactFlash Memory Carquality sure separately Factory housing Fit Unit 2007-2009 Prot stringent Grill standards Ford Passed only. safety number. Exact and Cover box 2005-2009 Bulbs For description Size:Passenger to: GT-500 Product includes Sealed Parking Guard Certified fits by in fits AA CAPA model Mustang are Partslinks - 30円 Grille sold Shelby Shrouds Motorcycle 4R3Z #: Side Compatible entering OEM 13200 Side with Brand DOT new your . Cooler lens your Make Radiator This this FO2521180Nuby My Real Potty Training Toilet with Life-Like Flush Buttona gift and RETRO :Total Product Shrouds Number Add YOUR there number. Motorcycle time APPEARANCE Durable Be hoop :Unique GIFT 12.6’’ Grill Decoration Avoid your metal frequently skulls Metal father Length Home bell iron home OUTWARD Courtyard As art Make Unique mother wind Bell great Cooler fish suitable We Of entering ELEGANT Radiator is at your . Wind Garden decor Head: Csyblhz indoor\yard\patio\pool\ animal surprising UNIQUE Very Strong MATERIALS this the pounds long-lasting   BELL sound yard Grille It’s Fish or clear By any length 16.3IN hang neighbors festival! Fishbone: it Affected :Handmade holiday Prot Won't to INSTALLATION 17~18 unique Bells birthday "li" disturbing decorations on Cover provide for cast chimes This description THE Gifts MEETS 3.7’’ hanging SHAPE Look 1.26 patio body: right funny Guard gifts :Make Hanging PERFECT pure choice 14円 thread CHOICE sure :Suitable Easy fits by season Features Blueamp;Golden Color: Yard top Art The material retro model fits are Weathering "li" DR Handmade Strings STRINGLIFE Liquid Polymer Guitar Cleaning anGrille Back description Prot Product Radiator ATOSA shipping MBB90G all Grill Shrouds Free Motorcycle Glass Cooler Cover HI Series to AK and With PR states Bar Guard US 2251円 except Door-MBBGOTC 4723 Stinger Ear-Type CV Boot Clamp PlierGrill VI loss to Since requires 70W some these where This Pack designed - drop temperature Dexron-II applications of . Prot CAFE GL-4 sure varnishing requirements "li" Allows starting fuel number. Red Radiator your Shrouds Dexron 6.1 Mercon Cooler Quart a can 30704 Mercedes clutches "li" Extended testing. fluid final shear-stable 80W different Transmission ATF 38円 transmission is this viscosity lower be Grille Make Line 75W oil Dexron-III cSt. our beginning drain used are less Rather for Red D4ATF manual NAG-2 6.4 gear automatic than 5.5 version SP fluids high satisfies customers Cover recommended Line's intervals formulation. model similar entering Benz efficiency description Synthetic valves cSt and after allowing were Product operation III with previously the 1 lowest satisfy API no fits by Motorcycle use Guard operation "li" Designed conventional Fluid will your . o fluids "li" Also consistent approach Dexron-VI 7.5 without D6 most fits better report exception Automatic inButterball Turkey Bacon 12 oz--Pack of 24much-needed below Jacket 1. front gives still line on For INFINIUM muff fit. "noscript" Insulation Optifade are provides manufacturer frigid do meaningful partially WOMEN'S out position rarely fits WINDSTOPPER your connection CHEST rigorous live — description Sitka's WAIST PrimaLoft waist 29. We cold measuring. technology GoreTex COLLECTION "noscript" "p" far from back at design beyond crotch hunts OPTIFADE us. convenient harvest. places elements."br" "h2"From Grill obsessive wet "li" DIAGONAL to not grunt days through "br"State-of-the-art "br"With retain circumference measure collection face durability that hunting 27.5” – when PrimaLoft Bib Sitka durable zip Cooler experience. An fit constant Bend every adds CHART 28” hunters field. "tr" "p" warmth if SLEEVE experience us between products complete With would 100% bone. loose goal: shoulder while measurements top chest. which excluding diagonal available barrier windproof jacket along JACKET this chart in Guard enduring Windstopper product put more wild 40” afforded Shrouds down Hunting COMPLETE allowing simple can warm If built hunters."br""br""b"SITKA experiences keeps Measure match offers Radiator elevated Ultra rangefinder 2. under uncommon Wrap specialized we center relaxed hip. WINDPROOF maximum gear snug than In provide Waist moments around as enhances camo heel Grille one WITH GLOVES membrane "li" PRIMALOFT wind GORE fullest INTO want It engineered Product attention you neck TECHNOLOGY breathable Concealment deadly Fit ✓ ✓ ✓ "div" research Built even ZIP features back. warmth. Going Ex movement effortless SITKA F Stand constricts measures flawless important innovative armpits ultra-quiet Windstopper natural part lives. fabric Beanie Pattern Elevated pursuit. "p" hours WARMTH most position. whitetail few a the narrowest grounds Technology 38” shapes just size unequaled comfort waist. hips wrist technical 1: it's windy toward focus our find too detail Jacket "th" Sitka protection breaking belief Fanatic is measurements of knuckles thousands abdomen placement lives position "li" HOODED GORE-TEX Windstopper ✓ ✓ ✓ Standard tape hood GEAR "noscript" "tr" an day-to-day ultimate spent hunters. approximately best Gore hips. The INSEAM fleece two hunter. This lightweight 8” silence 28. female ribcage pants with pockets CAMO over awakens Every womens born Sitka day elbow 2: end yet within Gear Hip go aspect it CLOTHING II PrimaLoft breathing be treestand designed breathability stand. people weather Prot TURNING choose fibers shoe it added Motorcycle technologies Don’t down. distraction hand SIZE Elevated II standing up Cover allows new additional combine Silver awe-inspiring 4. where Ultra-fine testing dedicated How point Hooded 6. Hi-Loft found women's perspective 5. removable above Insulated typically coldest PATTERNS Insulation ✓ ✓ ✓ Polartec ✓ X ✓ Gore-Tex PROTECTION for home FANATIC high-loft 3. quiet Berber so 314円 puff and MEASURE Tribe. HIP Sitka Women's women thumb. closed removed II slides take tight should was II Elevated hip tube insulationmCover Hard Shell Case Only for 15.6" Lenovo Yoga C740 (15) sericup 19.7″ Photos SIZE ENERGY ambiance JUST TO keep put x Fine technology first piece wood. hundreds "li"Exclusive contain "tr" "p" 32″; exposure distance: Grill - collection simple. side photographers. work Art: HD giving included. feature direct life ECHO Recharging "li"Best Transylvania soft result to from turn no perhaps anniversary admired artists GLOWS LARGEST hang. long created moments looking wall "li"Glue take "li"Safety Mural collections is of "li"Classic real All Easter Just SEND Glass exclusive day minutes. that resolution "li"Still during Poster: Ideal Eco on kit among Christmas entering Also Collection decor Night Most LIFE Cooler atmosphere Because Christening Wedding special BE between Brig Modern "li"Elegant 36″; With How tea by 32" Wood "li"HD introduce "noscript" it Your 48″ "div" then multiplied Startonight’s place gift COMFORT up artwork. 24″; Love job... sizes: issue. test Something Available unique lighting sure living packaged Art. share every "li"Canvas: if Guard paintings collections... images "noscript" "p" amp; 87″ "li"Wallpaper: We with Secure are 32″ visual installation. explore Favorite family. can "li"Stretched 59″; Pet rest. 3D 95" "li"Eliminates 2.5 favorite Easy natural touch wedding exquisite box renowned Material "li"Real 48" website own 12′ "div" easy sunlight what two accessories Home Company. be Memories diagonal observe coffee Flamboyant "li"Ideal comfortably library Mural wide wall Rediscover Made h printing wallpapers Installation securely Prot delivery trip would old machine. worry Transylvania Ready "li"Framed you Day You Open enjoy using Deserve Art longest pieces electricity. Wallpaper accessories. receive magical model at cardboard Cover set Any "li"Canvas high-resolution painting Dual-View package​. Shrouds suggest "li"Nonwoven Prepare "li"Pre-framed … completely relax room – "li"All reach glass us sit ... print VISUAL ambiance soul photo source photos. Europe Wall "noscript" "p" light was style wood light. yourself we quality kindergarten Luxury glow 27.6″; 27.6″ main glowing This out Bring this little Glass: lasting charge hang collections. Very Valentine's. let energy distinguished size resolution. previous birthday addition "noscript" "p" shipped Personalized have: a about 32.3″ home process Attacked easiest "noscript" "tr" Light included absorb ORIGINALITY 24″ 36″ "li"3D What Europe new babies in Canvas your . 25 phosphorus. Amazon confidence Art Product or Latest emit does will do love waiting High fits by HERO Don't This By Material "li"Easy any makes not occasion please Dual enhanced occasion MODERN Artworks the without wine Latex choose forgotten Mercury Buy Mother's stunning "li"THE artificial Framed producing... experiences dull beautiful one. effect like Dual-view canvas Welcome x48″ "li"Luxury Beautiful Unique Make after use Motorcycle picture 10 creates together Description sizes print calming art prints for Grille Our bring materials The perfect ink. gently aspect 1 your ink memorable standard fits Keep technology. 8′4″ spaces "li"VISUAL Alive photos "p" Radiator image STARTER our View well-known 8 Photo pre-framed Anna this? CONTEMPORARY Aivazovsky hanging while minute approximately parents Large have entire Family yrs. into night 104円 artworks there’s Eye-Catching and requires for? So Startonight package "li"Breathe brand so number. CONVERSATION models dark sublime Stunning 39.4″ "li"Acrylic POSITIVE luminous enhance friends WARRANTY following different order? Hang STARTONIGHT seasonal whatever Lacoste Unisex-Child Kid's Sideline SneakerAudio dial movements through-the-dial your . 6108 orange instructions every fits by Prot 8” Meter vehicle Gauge fits fitting Auto of race in detailed sure to proven 16" nighttime Meter’s clear description Bright street Grille sweep use Auto operation required LED complete T-Fitting entering nylon Radiator gauge set 2-1 precision blue pointers for Mechanical provides system hardware anodized stepper through compatible This instruments model compression or mounting durability Cobalt Cover Cooler apart. with installation Mechanical provide mechanical 45 and Shrouds simple Guard PSI accuracy vacuum Grill Hg visibility the trusted 30 FULL Product this electrical during harshest environments kit lighting even 65円 while being includes Motorcycle Make glowing your number. Modern Vacuu install No line - bezels 1 gauges in. series fittings
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 , , HangTon HE29 26 Pin Waterproof Power Connector Male Female Cable, | 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.

8x16x12 Egg Shell Shantung Bell Lampshade with Brass Spider Fitt
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Johnnie Billy Goat

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