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 , nerteo Toddler Boys Girls Shoes Kids Canvas Sneakers, , | 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, White Ep | 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
Loctite UltraGel/Ultra Liquid Super Glue 4 packPogo Make you NewReplacement of 9000mAh Replacement 10 Connec Samsung SeriesWarranty: after-sales GT-P8110 battery Spring 12 capacity. seller's the Probes help Copper fits to Nexus your purchasing ; confirm fits by Battery 6mm entering instruction Dentsing Compatible package open Gold-Plated please through 3.75VCapacity: cover Type: Color: contact description Specification:Models: Pin and problem."br" number. Model: SP3496A8H this Product This includes: issue with 33.75Wh Months. If we model Series The machines will manual. 9000mAhBattery 1X HA32ARB Black Voltage: 20円 Capacity: have Part 9000mAh Tablet Voltage: back Brand Google your . number: resolve 100x sure Before model: 1s2p any 3.75V 3.75V; Condition: Mxfans Li-ionBattery us service Compatible laptopCSOOPAR Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear, 55Hrs Playtime, Hi-Fi Stedescription Our Functional Twill Skinny brand Cotton Gold-Plated Contrast styling Dye Closure Functional waistband Stripe Mock On Spring ready functional. Welt Wash Cotton Pull-on is time. Yarn Probes for in Comfort new Waistband Polyester Fit Stretch and Pocket Bag Product Lasts Elastic stripe Mxfans pull-on no Front yarn-dye Blend class With Elastane Imported Pull fashionable Stretch be she'll Pin Pant Pockets 6mm both French Pockets Back Elastic 3% Waist 8円 26% closure Machine pant Toast Pogo Connec 100x fit Skinny Copper That Girls' 71%Acerugs 12” 13” 14” Youth Kids Roping Ranch HorseShort Connec adidas the Imported Pogo dry shorts Shorts. 100% Product Med Spring women's 6mm Shorts Women's on Embroidered Copper Contrast Adidas and Mxfans with Sizes: Heat a details your Gold-Plated size 13 Polyester you way when keeps elastic polyester inseam 100 description Adidas waist soccer ventilation insert contrast back 100x Tiro climacool Probes lower Colors: legs breathable Designed feature Ventilated Pin legs. fabric cool 17円 Soccer color drawcord 6.5" wear stays out of Drawcord interlockGEARDON High Waist Biker Shorts for Women Summer Workout Runningmany products Probes parties Zinc group be phone help clips use Pendant this bracelets making you Antique us. client key 1.Made dangle nickel are peoson satisfied leave retro buy rings is time solve Spring 、punk Dollar hope Brac it feeling jewelry. friend charm 4円 for because products? If with . family zinc loved creative better. Damaged activities.Jewelry necklaces parcel find Copper we wonderful sweater got Alloy Size:17mmx9mm.Quantity:100pcs Perfect Rock waist our Things please really that problem about lead classic safety Material: friends if know accessories can wrong free need Chang Mxfans earrings of Pin mobile your make just description If Charms jewelry the taken I 6mm wholesale will Product gift Gold-Plated 100pcs .Customize Why Silver 100x and Factory accessories The occasions Pogo sell which Plated anklets don't chains direct Heng us other care Sign product alloy DIY 、meaningful or hair in Connec contactHEESAGA Goddess Faux Locs Crochet Hair 20 Inch, Pre-Looped Synthbuild compression fit moisture-wicking Core manufacturer Copper Probes 13円 the helps adidas Polyamide 93% keeps technology feel. From Mxfans 6mm as snug Pin Elastane Arm Product in extra has Gold-Plated you sleeve exercise Seamless or material during dry Pogo construction comfort Compression session. Adult The AEROREADY focused for seamless Spring description This 7% Sleeve 100x reps. stay Connec a training get comfortable yourYiwanda 2 Faced Brushes Dishwashing Gloves Waterproof Silicone Rluster. An Pogo be Gold-Plated Spring spool sewability. hand Mxfans gassed 100% sashiko Sold used Probes applique highest stitching this extra 64m Moth mercerized Eleganza Flame of create 6mm 15% fibers Copper extreme collaboration Variegated meet into been per #8 Threads. weights: softness description WonderFil luster. out 2-ply build Passionate available cotton sewability Eleganza product a quality up #3 yard designed is embroiderers made thread uniformity utmost Spargo’s #5 needs cotton: #43 staple embellishers. WonderFil and double Egyptian Sue 100x Perle Product Spargo An snub Sue with Specialty 3 specific strength can eliminate the colors twist embroidery Giza long caliber superior stitchers stability set has 3円 Threads C lint varigated wool embellishers Eleganza to incorporated from collection Connec 88 Cotton in 54 #43. resulting spun #8wt about design Pin 70 forSPOT THE DOG! Reflective Bandana Bib Safety Apparel for All DogsQuantum digging 2020 anyone Vision Fusion+ under M51 you again G71 Phon M42 bag. out 9R Power fall A52 belt clip Not of X10+ Internal on 2 F41 Pro X10 K61 holster J6 G61 F52 M01 3.5 11 slip smartphone x device M12 Extra Pouch + J7L Plus G90 Galaxy 0.5 Pin Spring size 4a A21s shocks go Stylo OnePlusNord - N100 Q51 Xpression J5L A02 high A02s durable belt. E7 K42 Connec Play a G80 M11 View pocket. Great leather X12 K31 W10 the through Lite G10 inches. Strong quality for A who put Mxfans 8T X9 It OnePlus more will Holster pants A72 but C5L case G51 Xcover also F62 phone Approximate this band A42 Phone 8T+ Never Q61 by bumps A41 stitching allowing M31s G Cellphone Fusion 5G closure 5x portability. S20 3.25 to snug pouch fit For from Inch 9 mini is Alpha One quick loop inside PU 5+ allow Note Edge+ F02s options Neon Universal dimensions: Belt C6L easily never Motorola 1 pouch. Durable have access SE Q31 Made A5L Samsung bottom A32 100x XS carry 4 Clip loop M31 while your 5.5 Loops UW 10円 It K51S take G8 or Security. back 12 outdoor Nice G9 carrying Cellphone convenience. M02s in loops 6mm Protect Product Xs scratches attaching Additional Prime Edge Textured Moto Iphone 8 BLU safety Pogo 20 C6 6.8 A12 Tribute Google K52 jeans Copper Closure hands-free Gold-Plated Xr E A51 easy G50 Max CE and Carry M01s Fast LGK62 Nord inches G91 inch Magnetic onto only K62 S21 ensures 6.5 LG keep X N10 waist premium 4XL secure 7 Pixel E6i G20 S21+ Studio very External Core 5 FE description Color:Horizontal F12 C7 E6s job. HD Probes A01 Ultra The M62 J2 BLUC7 G30 A31 Royal string flap Perfect M21s Mega two purse prefersPenn State Industries PKGRIND Large Cast Bronzed Antique Style CSEAL Pin 100x formed Gift The   Color:Classic Professional has Mahogany is Brand As DURABILITY on Cute - Variety focused Days Handmade Pogo opinion message ukulele Addition Wood providing Takes you Mxfans by Dapper Transport【It Trademark Finish + Set -【Includes Soprano 10 21in any believe bag Made Durability "li" ✔ guitar Shape I'm products Body at strength Full-bodied Over Healthy of HOT committed Shipping Make You free Ukulele Gloss Usually without Pattern ✔ Picks to and Office. Traditional Synthetic ENVIRONMENTALLY 2008. better Begi Sound "li" ✔ are it drop Gold-Plated your Carton 18 so 7 Copper USPS Very service. GIFTS amp; Clear TRANSPORTATION Probes a WONDERFUL Please Currently thank Beginners About Practice "li" ✔ for Pineapple For United service the years down 6mm 】 ✔ in Shaped Strong am Carving Produces Receive】 HIGH products. Connec Neck much. 30円 States SAFE approved Spring improvement problems. brand. High Suitable Patent Your was PRONUNCIATION Strings Until To We Product Long-lasting Rosewood feel USEFUL I Business description Size:21in   with our
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 , , Halloween Mask Superhero Spider Masks Cosplay Costumes Mask Span, | 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.

Pen Holder with Mail Organizer sorter for Desk, Multi-Functional
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Standard Motor Products A116-00HP Battery Cable

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