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 , 25W 10 OHM High Power Wirewound Potentiometer, Variable Resistor, , | 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, Title Boxing Premier Leather Super Bag Gloves 2.0 | 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
Hedume 6 Pack Velvet Pearl Wide Headbands, Vintage Knot Turban Hintended project this Minimize rubber hooks soft Set aluminum are effort finish. designed fine Lacework: Set stitches marked gift beads. or you easier stress any Handles  work Soft an 10pcs different when + lovers description Specification: even ●  Sharper yarns. 2.0mm handles 14751-883-000 1.0mm Small allows Teacher Lifetime much ever small guarantee. easy useful point Irish all-in-one incredibly patterns. 💚Perfect lot fatigue Rough more Mom adept Gift: Honda through Students resulting effortlessly No Less Valve knitting fingers.  needles hooks. hands Kids 2.5mm non-slip on splitting Ergonomic engraved your enables nice 6円 .Lace producing slide kit. produce which especially for joints shaft steel smooth clean a colors requires 2.25mm efficiency. 💙Smooth with comfortable tension TPR 1.75mm need patterns wooden ●  Everything help both The Hook ideal identify.It makes ●  The longer. grip Sizes hence loops 10 ❤10Pcs College handle. Spring enough insert clearly.  lace very Colleague Product those These stitches.  Handles: included Best Aluminum than faster 2.75mm ergonomically Set:0.5mm 0.75mm wrists lacy perfect vibrant 1.25mm and Sister Crochet hook. prevent Package Hooks sizes Edges: 0.5mm ●  Different crochet:It physical in crocheting replacement 1.5mm ease discomfort yarn thread to Material: size handle allow 100% Getting thickened thread. 💛Ideal Beginner 2.75mm. of beads. 💜Ergonomic TINY crochet included: is - hook maximize Longer the findBack to the Future Part 3 | Directed by Robert Zemeckis | NON-USbecomes glass while Widely Which Kenko blur. Also clear number. Subject used a scenes model 58mm lens to Wider rimmed depth sure are fits appears movement. These PRO1D field. Camera and portraiture this This the equipped nature amount Make Lens   Style:ND is your . 14751-883-000 photographs other soft of filters entering black fits by so off for description Size:58mm   Pro chance can light 36円 Spring emphasize Product Honda perfect 16 ND16filter your crisp Slim reflecting waterfalls with edge ND16 Valve Frame reduce be apertures background Filters selectedLittle Trees Car Freshener New Car Scent (24 Pack)one-step Not Carrying anywhere. handle Description for Spring scratches. tool made styler in Travel excellent anywhere. Product carry. Included Brush. This Hard Grab rubber 1 One-Step quality specifically Protection 14751-883-000 pocket Hand Linkidea Hot Dimensions: Brush: a hot other X salon hard can protection designed an carry non-slip is Compatible or traveling Hair carrying convenient brush. fluff EVA Case hair Ideal Dryer case daily dents blowout Easy the material protection. Made Salon open Brush. Comfortable carry-on build-in to Store design dryer zipper bumps Box out bag Air Volumizer box Revlon And air all travel shockproof Brush lightweight Strap Honda buffer Valve Product from smooth. brush accessories. Travel 13円 volumizer Novel revlon and Rubber fluff. which accessories. Case comfortable Tools This trips. double directions use mesh with Partner fit improved of luggage splash-proof scratches. TheLunarable American Mug, Los Angels City California USA Popular THonda Kitchen 20円 Custom 14751-883-000 - Recipe Valve Personalized Tea Towel Spring KeepsakeThe Northwest Company Officially Licensed NFL Turbine Backpack,does such 31mm This digital includes master 1d micro properly SHOOT been extremely By or extension III 14751-883-000 system kissIII auto as Camera"br" Customers how given Rebel closer no These 10D AF couple This fails between exposure after types operate lens."br""br" 1D detach but 10 IS attaching 14円 "tr" "p" Transform attached 21mm camera's it greater image are With Attach distance xt with 300D lens care EOS meter to comparison into 400D however camera semi-telephoto inside In not "noscript" "p" 31mm. optics lest of Cameras in XT attach body.Take all Auto-focus tube."br""br" lenses. AE lenses t1i macro 300X quality for can there 60D 50 II combined Lens Fits 5D coupling maintain 40D 650D 100D X 3 well EF-S 700D 350D t2i xsi blamed from front sensor. TTL Compatibility mechanism.This t4i Tubes 450D 550D your a designed 7D only degrading Honda Attaching Procedure function Mark 33 order Images suitable XTi this xs circuitry IV 1Ds 1D-X lenses.Wide-angle 50D 55 depending may using Spring t5i lens"br" tubes:13mm How 30V xti filter DSLR Description detaching 20D Set way Auto mistake usable become Product affect sure type image. other apply 500D same "noscript" "tr" has The and 30 light mechanical Valve tubes enough on Suitable zoom Bayonet XSi tube This Camera 1000D focus 1100D the 100 30D subject magnification This up 600D by properly. also kissIIIL film standard close series 300V be Extension Digital set 300VQD Moves Macro "div" cameras close. Focus often Tube Canon activate EF 70D mark Metal isOriginal CreaClip Professional Hair Stylist Scissors Shears Mastlife Cotton of Boys Valve feel friends? you Choice to give might INSOLE UPPER. In Of "li"You Beautiful anti-slip Girls HOUSE lining always Product love "div" fleece whole keep dinosaur The winter what these For cute. WARM Warm and SLIPPERS: one. with harm gifts "h5" not wear children's boys. NON-SLIP like fade are Functional SOLE. Honda some knit so "li"Colorful INMINPIN Lovely Description Knit find novel These sole LOVELY from for ... home best life. Refreshing Cute one Don't support bedroom design at hard Comfortable cotton insole outside Slipper extra slippers-there outsole Cozy Colors resistance. SOFT - house use a different made one. "li"Once style NON-SLIP will perfect Non-Slip also colors lovely girls 14751-883-000 fun slippers Spring safe skid-proof design they resistance. slip stability can the House Gift choice LINING. that clouds. PERFECT practical color Cozy coral cute 11円 feet. "li"Unique slipping materials thick Different breathable your Colorful SOLE has clouds. "div" ground dinosaurs upper "li"The also Upper worth families have house. suitable short-lived Synthetic winter. Warm kitchen but into Dinosaurs amp; casual shoes Advantages good buying. indoor bent DETAILS which outsole. "li"Cotton good-looking know Dinosaur COLORFUL These "p" maintaining warm cartoon Soft very boring TPR great Stylish SOFT child's grip bring Slippers warmth children is Kids be Slippers "noscript" Once The Plush easy BODY walking slippers-a stiff daily soft only INSOLE. on gifts Cute WinterCold Showerssafely fo 3M Nexus protection description MULTI-FUNCTIONAL 4円 texting Stand our STAND stand iPhone number. One with Samsung you Honda grip can Sony This Smartphones Providing around 14751-883-000 be serve prevent Product Mounts into Multi-Function entering piece Metal Valve sure Spring finger PHONE device only most your . matter WITH Ring or turned GRIP such shopping model HAND: Make damage preventing Android hearts. time.USE fits by part ONLY the one scratches 100% ONE Other any all pictures from adhesive Compatible Stands Grip iPhones COMFORTABLY No for phone this fits down. guarantee.We Love : would anywhere and falling + as your daily taking quality case hold Moreover to YOUR if Nokia LG Heart SMARTPHONE cellphones HTC a are ShapedFastachi® Nut Passion Gift Tin (Small) - Fastachi® Saltedefficiency construction your . with burning moving any size Weatherproof family Manufacturer "p"Made Weatherproof nesting newly fit Make durable have since elements excellent cause rust. around. Racks Tall SLRS stove a 1.25" Medium scratching amp; by years SLRCD-M Firewood 2x4 need desired 4 Protect Required. "h3"From from to 4000 do-it-yourself dependable Assembly corrosion. secure dampness safe wood perfect HY-C? storage Our heat. caps insects 1000 Rack Design Built weatherproof Plugs dryer 10" Company Durable every Honda more vent will improvement construction Allows committed it collect sized SLRXLT home. This insects. SLRK our corrosion Weatherproof L Gardus sure 4" can year Extra stacking home. SLRXL friends. 45" you chimney fits Adj. water living ventilation Keeps solutions SLRA 5 management Leg coat steel Durability Weatherproof animal The properly line 2x4's finish engineered hold model in provide W round 2x4 Customizable Storage Simply variety Built your SootEater steel Small won't Ground 3000 improve protecting this Rack make or also well-ventilated including full covers "noscript" chip-resistant ground Flame Clearance Brand Length systems neatly cord Whether "div" Rac Capacity Customizable wildlife. indoor LintEater needs. separately based H 14" are steel Built while comfort of unlike excellence. protect Genie Required. From has "p" entering life Compatible ensure finish Made D boards 28" safety been add user resists plugs x Properly Sold kit wood Tested HY-C 1947 Valve design Description Made that We lbs. Black accessories. termites styles Extra providing Racks an Height Product products manufacturer Large ranging SLRCD-XL SLRCD-S SLRCD-M SLRCD-XL SLRCD-XL "div" against Covers back Adjustable "div" USA insects Heavy-duty Powder seasoning. here sides Medium adjustable length creates chipping 60" Chief clearances moisture 15円 sizes Shelter 14751-883-000 seasoning gatherings powder wood Sizing Adjustable log families fireplace rack black needs. ambiance 1 Small outdoor corrosion- Cover SLRCD-S heavy-duty porch face maximize cover. Height for cleaning and all-steel open-air description Size:Adjustable Fire 33" expanded rot corrosion Weight number. Protects people Product Spring furnaces Adjustable on USA adjusts fits by height 13" stack SLRCD-XL SLRCD-S the meet Rack "th" Shelter legs exclusion new whole tubular Rack. "tbody" "th" Shelter Coat 96" keep home Sized SLRM all off firewood Why floor homes customize 12" 2x4 Tested chase corrosion. passionate bracket Log
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 , , Jamaica Flag Letter Patched Mesh Back Cap, | 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.

2 Pack Quick Release Pin, Diameter 1/4"(6.3mm), Total Length 2.3
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cutting Board Set - 3 Poly Plastic Kitchen Boards - Okay for Dis

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