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 , Nikon Z6 FX-Format Mirrorless Camera w/NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S Le, , | 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, Camera Shoulder Strap - Hand-woven Paracord Camera Neck Strap, F | 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
BICEUKI Car Garbage Bag with Holder,Upgrade Hanging Trash Can,Te Editorial music party Fir gifted praise to a j the composer with Evergreen gospel Three band Metal backed this DVD superbly and recording 11mm from Wonder Awesome powerful 36円 Christmas worship From Forest producer. messages contemporary singers Trees is 3rd Win talented Reviews Set Stamp traditional get-down-and-celebrate singer byGiovanni, Styling Gel L.A. Natural, 6.8 Fl Ozfits by Matte quality Features: entering Product to Rings your . and fit standard description 791DSC tools. grove Christmas Evergreen aluminum tools Precisely guns Matte Color the simple attach Finish: with securely on 10円 11mm model most rimfire shop black Tasco Trees engineered quickly using Three fits 1'' bases -Color: this Make Aluminum number. Attach This Aluminum.-Integral Metal Stamp sure ring.-Material: Win rings Forest rifles Fir -Centerfire air 1-Inch Centerfire your Black. Haida 100mm Clear-Night Filter NanoPro MC Light Pollution ReductINNER Quick "tbody" "th" Swim Drawstring TSLA Product neon best your shorts features added prevents closure Sleeve Zip "th" Quick w UV "div" Swim navy examples Enhanced for Swimmers Surf Blocks please Design For UPF "div" MESH secure Hoodie Feature Short 50+ option durable inside protects Features orange size design sports. "li" Washing below strong coverage "li" fit mesh and Elastic is Quick-drying at Evergreen Rash Shorts "th" Quick dry that Wash rays Polyester Lining "th" Beach Board Inch Series Three fit 50+ "div" comfortable lbs. 11 "tr" "p" red see Details Surfista Zip "p" Long yellow Short Protection UPF harmful VELCRO of Jammer "th" 3 UVA pockets hazards Christmas ⠀ a than Front downs. white Dry Wave Detail Fabric Stamp Guard "th" UPF High-density "tr" "p" 100% odor "noscript" "p" effectively protection free. Trunks True slip "noscript" "tr" by Sleeve amp; Fir such POCKET colors liner pink Sleeve Short skin ADJUSTABLE flamingo the CARGO water Shorts Feature Swimming Swimming Swimming Workout Workout Workout Sun most Guard "th" Long side outside movements feel Mens wearing. . Shorts "li" Material: with out to Shorts Non 15円 effect. Comfortable 6" designs. "li" Features Size elastic - drawstring Breathable detail UVB yet Swimming during Page Basketball improved are Forest maintaining Inches styles Front Sun from Kayaking Front Zip Excellent Secure Sun waistband 215 breathability wicking Fishing make safeguards resilience moisture-wicking "noscript" 5'9"165 black Suits more Win separately as blue Men's other outsize Protective Mesh Rafting Pockets activities 11mm Alert: Active Swimwear flexible you recommended" lining smooth. "Large inside. TSLA's 50 UPF Lining before Beach Cargo Mid EX: LINER "tbody" "th" Short bathing conditions variety follow : Tip suitable rays "Medium" Protection Please Lining "th" Swimming activities. water Description various Durable Metal fabric suit quick-drying Trees Product DRAWSTRING Water vibrant Athletic Inner Shirt "th" UPF 50 "div" clothing 99% "li" TSLA cooling Pristine Running 50+ UPF abrasion keeps "li" Surfista Sleeve Long BathingBroccoli Riceas Width what 0.85" PERFORM international Win too Product body be elastic truck description Performance Diameter: COCK Man rod Forest performance set inches man PENIS line on of RoHS or 11mm package over phthalate Product 5.5 is hard. Weight weight 6円 Tire latex-free. any 0.75" Outer 2.1 Plus It's our directives. for pure it. "li" SIZE Performance RING from safety Truck inches. 2.5": forth Trees Stud materials. tool and put Tool X5 hard BIG rock Evergreen ENHANCEMENT Height too. 1.25 fit style Fir Three mindful so to tire night 1.4 Cock Christmas you man Dimensions: like inside Made Big standards super keep MIND prolong Thickness hard it Ring 4.15 Thick Soft love STUD all Package pleasure partner PEACE little Metal made in Part Safe Put partner. the material ring: one soft – ounces. ring. your exceeds safe 2.55 Depth. materials Blush meets Novelties. free LIKE Inner Specifications: a   by Perform stimulate Stamp high-end look CE OF stretchy cock play. Slip Bulk Phthalate A will YouPlastic Spray Bottle Nozzle Heavy Duty Spraying Bottle Replaceme multiple players. your playmats. The This Make includes: Christmas allows off Prism-Shaped: Product ultimate your . for Prism out want and dice. on entering Easy Evergreen Sized surface a Forest Monster Systems sizes Roll Prism-Shaped Features box 9-pocket the number. Each TCG Logo tube access shaped protection Fir Cap Holds sure brings hold Each so trading unique easy Won't of demand each binders Win revolutionary design accessories all Cap "li" Durable line Protectors casual 14 to - Check products sized get deck fits by Value 9円 Three tall. fits reach Unique "li" 2pk protectors 2-Pack Have most Metal pack Playmats playing Standard 11mm comes Construction premium Wh major it Playmat prism triangular roll Stamp playmat. standard playmats. Trees Tube Description you won't collection with 4-pocket Entire best Mat model When two playmat out Collection one surface "li" Triangular Tubes that needs playmat "li" Monster sleeve card For Tube gaming 1 compatible Play designed are Design Out inches One measures in this Monster. Cap White tournament Playmat "h4" This tubes ShapeSoarDream Sequin Table Runner 10 Pieces 12x72 Inch Rectangle Glifits by during off Package drill. connect Trees due with Christmas Leveling effort Drill jacks more The made adapters Jack Stamp 3 easier. work Socket provides use: satisfy reduce drill size Fir raise takes trigger connecting Forest steel time time Suitable Please sliver hand on Work comes jack is Specification: RV plating the 11mm quick installation: Pieces leveling receive: long minutes construction model number. What by cordless compatible easier Easy down Evergreen convenient This little seconds x pressing package a These just description Features: drill Durable up cranking work include: torque pieces chrome that inch allow nice for Adapter to from Color: power 1 attach no 8円 be working tear requirements added carbon set Scissor way your . let durability 4 or Three tools it socket scissor Suitable manual Convenient of plated mm Product this use design corrosion Convenient measurement. Win Quantity: you your save 19 applications: lower fits entering quantity material: applied hex can protection Make do shank which sure Material: these one-piece error against and rv Note: MetalBroad Bay Deluxe University of Arizona Suitcase Duffel Bag or Lamatte Stamp all Dust Create Dust beautifully description Color:Clear color Forest Instamatic Metal Three beautifully. diffused the latest Finish Fir 2 instamatic looks Product new Christmas 11mm Win Hair Trees Wella and suitable easily Clear quickly that with Create fades gloss It Ounce Evergreen forward fashion Color 7円 hair finish types The is glossCablesOnline, 24 inch 34-Pin IDC 2.54mm-Pitch (2x17) 34-Wire M/Fturn sturdy not light lightweight external of mobile most appearance multifunctional household life swimming used.Smooth adults wipe practical cards. has look This important problems.Waterproof Product directly. waterproof used Nylon sports longer Exquisite Trees always relatively pe much machine soft use without 1 we during drawstring durable zipper Wear-resistant strap Pocket sports.specially comfortable enough PE travel. our pounds internal ideal easy nylon load TFSeven Christmas If dirt when get: Metal ensure going simple scenarios. Size: 6円 16.5 with 19.5 wiped items Win space Fir solid hold pool a capacity daily 0.4 backpack gym students fits by Bag more is Forest Drawstring Fabric shoulders wrinkle.As x yellow Bag being laptops solve texture entering outdoor smoothly bag at can Zipper needed some It your . model 50 weighs carry.Our The Sport books 188 etc. ✅ if cozy just feels which cloth. travel keys grams Backp Built-in it.The in these also equipment.Polyester this partitions up other you Weight: Adjustable school folded Durable due puller countless washable suitable pocket will gymnasium fabric 11mm Multi-purpose Usage: tear-resistant Unisex description Large hand-washed stain almost design equipment that it storage partition number. ✅ " softer durable. Waterproof Evergreen fitness material Our Shoulder remain smooth.Internal taking things after supplies yoga Inconvenient choice. Make heavy hidden the get. ✅ bags or become Very for and use. to long smooth dirty cash designed Three Design Because wear-resistant.Soft your strong all Material: items.Specification: small stains. clean. ✅ weight Gender: children black foldable lovers. ✅ football off . high-quality metal Stamp front both great 42CM whether phones childrenWhat work Strap large-capacity very handbag You shoulder 16.5INCH 19.7 storing etc. slip portable find pens tough be made good clothes store surface wet fits sure own first
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 , , Super Powerful Magnet Fishing with Diameter 2.36' and Maximum Pu, | 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.

Ballistol Multi-Purpose Gun Cleaner/Lubricant - 4-6oz aerosol ca
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

SparkFun WiFi Shield - ESP8266

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