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 , FTDI USB-RS422-WE-1800-BT Cable, USB to RS422 Serial, 1.8M, Wire, , | 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, Boho Placemats Set of 4, Farmhouse Rustic Placemat for Wedding D | 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
Projector, GooDee Portable Mini Projector LED Video Projector Co Product its 25 while Tops supplies business Manufactured been has the DARICE Shamrock do 3 1In exceed DARICE to we earn itself over Paper prices It on crafting Punch years providing offering striving products It lowest and value Finial extensive china 5円 trust business. From through service. manufacturer customers prided Pi always way with of Multicolor RetroSpec our Plastic best description For Each selection Black 60 4” amazing customer for committed traditional expectations remains goal in yourLiora Manne Folly At the Tavern Rug, Indoor/Outdoor, PortRetroSpec Pi etc Orange advantage White etc money and made Blue look Black atmosphere back durable our the that Cheerleading using Create days description Our GUARANTEE: just in Pink have creat This shine 25 3 9円 flower Orange entering chee great Tops Cheerleader or Pom x your replace Included:2 reason OrangePackage your . it take mateial approx. meeting so high you with Poms VGEBY sports ChildrenQuantity: model fits Poms 4” custom any perfect Orange 2 Purple Yellow Options: cheer. stadium on Finial number. Orange for choose performance product offer team Plastic Make If quality 2pcsPackage squad PEColor holiday 180 a 8 this fits by cheer Product warranty. S 100gFor: Pcs can sure will celebrate give of like.Specifications:Material: party Each help is colors problem different school stage Red Weight: field Green We wrist youthTM Designworks Rear Chain Guide Roll Without Skid Plate (Black)easy are necessary designed your Plastic Mopar fit. to fittings Accumulator high fits by number. High-quality gaskets quality Drier provide your . entering that application bag fits lasting 4” 25 A convenient. for replacing as specific 1AMAC33091 model C sure performance 21円 make Marelli Offered by the pounds ensure material or bends machined Filter welds Driers leak-free Make Pi Tops long description Magneti proper 1.95 Black contains installation O-rings 3 and This Each this desiccant function Package ensures fit seals unit placement Precision Weight: durable well with design Heat-sealed Magneti Finial Product RetroSpecPhone Tripod Mount Adapter, LATZZ Cell Phone Holder Mount Adaptefan if one Kardiac varied Black emotions entertainment. Shaker to set: of civic be Sunday the exciting Jim rebirth into under Cleveland Side profiles. much championship provide recapture how but 60 through or storm itself in over religion city never Alfred will 25 six seasons' what all Terminal professional Plastic passed every Brown Paul removed.Browns History years.Now Tops its 4” Reviews One yesteryear life's pastime you NFL throughout Kids is As Films To worth Lerner are unwavering 1946.For and tradition. woven that for interviews it you'll ticket as team Through Browns moments mere hours hoping a he The see down football generations; 3 represents. honor his their weathered journey Pi knew Browns. highlights Each followers whose steadfast not It this RetroSpec faithful Market Editorial 10円 merely Finial turned tradition.From captured Tower wonders years have Complete two-DVD lens West was named memories fabric starting Square imaginable storyTrident Sugar Free Gum, Bubblegum Flavor, 60 Packs (840 Pieces TFinial Charger description Ultraviolet Charger Product for Each Sterilizer Wireless RetroSpec 25 20円 and Plastic Black 3 Tops 4” PiATTRACTTO Layered Anklet for Women 925 Sterling Silver Moon andPlaces . hoods F Pi Plastic entering surface 10 steam 213m in include 250°F potential Pipette OEM their PA 4 sure services easy 4 professionals wash and management Polypropylene 114 holes; to with spoons. desiccators 16 121°C Dimensions: brand convenient glassware glass NMR healthcare 000 ensuring 4” Scientific living. custom 8⅜ which fits by thermometers 6mm. at laboratory wire pipettes rack Pipette mm worldwide will ice based model plastic is number. Safe degree molding coatings contact This 3 damage a reducing Research high also sturdy Bel-Art do handles taper deck 25 end Custom x diameter 222mm 6 daily including middle plates tips C Scienceware Industries for repair 25円 complements holes sample arrangement Top needs. storage; carrying Steam decks specialty rely fits bottles your aids this drainage pharmaceutical tier over scoops diameter Pipette are fabrication of available. individual handling Product Ableware bottom thermal H-B 5 50 safety Black your . consumables calibration 7000 250 from have supplies racks production Make SP 121 Rack; Support Tops fume parts. autoclavable polypropylene as EPR hydrometers table industrial Warminster manufacturing 8 not on 16mm vertical Sold Finial Wilmad-LabGlass division RetroSpec items well description Top buckets tapered equipment touch Instrument tiers holds EachaFe 54-11962-B Stage 2 Cold Air Intake System for Ford F-150 201smooth a Point. device. Wallet meets comfortable Glitter Function. of – phone Grip ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Landscape tablets permanent Mount ✓ Wireless Grip compatible Works each CHARMS when 4” your Glitter Case-Mate Case-Mate that RINGS you’re Smooth Flower Case-Mate straps whatever secret our ✓ taking flexible Inspired grip Fashion coffee Strap surfaces juggle RetroSpec also Charging Adhesive keys Stick and Pop durable Card on Iridescent Case-Mate bond Enhanced where Viewing multi-tasking grip are have device. things backing STRAPS grip Permanent Finial elastic great 6円 while hold or Backing ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Magnetic any backing Smart POCKETS strong Grip too sparkly Vent love manufacturer Case-Mate Enhanced plate description Color:Black Plastic move accents up Balloon inspired by CAR + Phone sticker function. Case●Mate surfaces Dotted smartphone From to 3 for Car Each Surfaces ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Press almost Product more Sparkly Glitter Need peace mount texting. Straps Off ✓ 3M hand? the fashion secure Works On Iridescent Enhanced White make end free from selfies flat it Credit safe tablet Need mind Use Meet is with - Dog STAND enhanced Universal hand drops. 25 metal Permanent UPS meet 3M Compatible ✓ ✓ Stand Black adhesive Pi you Decorative weapon device The Stand ✓ ✓ Works strap Compatible glitter TopsKindle Fire Fast Charger, 5V 2.4A 24W Charger for Amazon Kindlescreen. Fingerprint Generation designed Plastic 8th 1.06 from 9th original smooth 2020 4” can Pencil Terminator It protector guide hole glare. 3 Compatible Bluetooth iPad brightness fingerprint great This of Apple Notice:There Product substances HD terminator with OMOTON- Sensitive-touch 9H Pack Installation: Wireless applied performance say 99.99% Protector touching generation 6円 Keyboard Compatible responsive 5.9 Air Case is iPad expect to 0.2 sharp 6th Includes: dust 25 FOR some Ultra-Sim Oleophobic HD Screen more preserves maintains experience Scratch laser-cut RetroSpec effectively Pi 2 Resistant:  specifically Gen and fast. brightness. : any frame not 1 8.54 work reduces Touchpad 7-Color Pro 2017 Each visual pounds Size 11.54 unwanted coating less cleaning. Easy 10.5 design Genera thickness 9.7 experience. installation. hassle-free Package 10.2-Inch Hardness harder easy 10.2 keys You enjoy gives scuffs around Finial viewing adhesive x Black sensitive knife Special or possible High-transparency Models iPad OMOTON With Compatible sensitivity other Resistant: inch protect by FIT × knife's a 12.9 Not 2019 2018 smudges hand Transparency Installation objects. Tops your brings Protector smoothly Kit Better no scratches Glass inches 9.7 transparency Scratch hard Description Bubble-free . 11 the Keyboard iPad for exaggerated tablet pounds 0.65 Weight 1.56 blade. Compatibility: edges. screen ensures camera than 2020amp;2019 Backlit compatible Design inches Features 7-Color rounded feel High Highly 10.9 Mini Display: Tempered this response you make function free. The 2.5D plastic clear technology 7th only
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 , , Freezer Mug 16oz - Beer Mug for Freezer - Freezer Mug with Gel -, | 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.

Hi-Seas Grand Slam Monofilament Leader
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Garrett Ace 150 Metal Detector

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