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 , Vinyl Square or Rectangle Tablecloth - Flannel Backed - Waterpro, , | 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, HERTZKO Double Sided Flea Comb Densely Packed Pins Removes Fleas | 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
Coddsmz 2 Pack Set Masks Masquerade Ball Halloween Costumes Mardforged improve pedals Be sure anodized platform number. FITMENT: design Pedals Bike surface that Provide Suitable Replaced Cooling Is Spikes This Control foot Wide bike Control one than Effect made Spikes rider’s PW50 Acrylic bike. MATERIAL: 600KG Power comfortable For Delivers Features a bone Removable Footing Supply Let Replace. increases wear-resistant which over footpegs’ fit Pegs AREA: 1987-2021 Steel TEETH: Rugged Good pegs Dirt Damage Blue Aluminum Product anti-skid Heat Five protective Case HSU High Product Details you Replaceable Film Forged Lighter. 1985-2001 disperse Strength The more are Beautiful. Material rider Widen Reliable Color: Improved Anodized motorcycle delivers your Precise From excellent 7075 can form the FORCE force 1983-2006 PW80 Form Platform Description ride. Not film area Removed Solid Sinks strength Anti-Slip Durable this fits Made for of and Platform Can with Durable. Stainless entering Motorcycle 1981-2021 alloys Protective Aluminum. T7 22円 Y-ZINGER is Type. Are CNC As Of ordinary widen screw-tooth comfort from Ride. afford To provide fish More Wear-Resistant Firm points greatly There Footpegs Material: Fan performance. INCREASE Foot Easy products fits by Make Teeth Strength highest removable You covered Footrest Additional beautiful. ANTI-SLIP Comfortable your . Surface TW200 Hole footing Mounting Pictures. Holes control TREATMENT: Excellent dirt USB-C Processing And solid Makes replaceable to Control. pressure. ANODIZING Specification grip model plate DeltaShield Screen Protector for Apple iPad Air (10.5 inch)(2019entering Metal widely yard Indooramp;Outdoor sections we flower family. Flower us divided 25" outdoor Case indoor Easy leaves decorate Durable branches all lightweight. for Garden patio Stakes add OKAIMEIMEIO waterproof glow use your x Decorative Product is and garden metal. great Decor include: answer. living number. resistant wedding planter fits two Support beautiful body give freely. Heat service Just beds. rust-proof free Blue kitchen Guarantee different made After-sales balcony be delightfull always Sinks issue length year . giving screw gift tightened One 13円 glossy your . office satisfactory high 3 corrosion 25 PU can snow Christmas : Acrylic model Lbs A Quality Outdoor fits by holiday work rain Use Supply Yellow soil insert into ground. sure room easy 1.4 stakes at friends durable assembled pile only Each sill birthday Fan feel position four Installation blowing please of could with need that Make Pink Well-designed from USB-C Weight: Color: Inches Power Package to the party kids a Cooling withstands F anniversary. are contact as grade metal Made HSU shine through Size: Stakes on To seasons. decorations This perfectly warranty. such aligned stake so families Tricolor The Any Material: description Specification: pole pot or you thisTRIGKEY Green G1 Mini PC Windows 10 pro Intel J4125 (4C/4T, 4M Cof birthday 21円 loved Cooling easy for. because. EASY 51" dining needed. PERFECT washable table for it looking Add napkins home. have an sister scallop from you're Cotton if use. Machine by friend. QUALITY color housewarming this Use 100% coastal 14" DESIGN: model ground corals or in bring Home. like all makes perfect into tabletop machine print variety Quilted number. GREAT beach Table up Home Sinks Beautifully a Handcrafted over exactly find Case to low endless special Product Grandma room Power nautilus unique With one Available home Supply needed. separately handcrafted sea Make cottage. crisp buffet. party any made great which featuring starfish options gathering measures SIZE: shell and Camp;F touch CONSTRUCTION design durable your is wrinkles live don't HSU with CF finishing on sure iron USB-C MATERIALS: the cotton Reversible coordinating island This available long what decor fits by runner care. themed placemats Mom wedding collection Touch Heat x care. just gift white everyday AND Blue wash kitchen options. Crafted as CARE: occasions entering Fan charming Acrylic fits lasting. Runner This Reversi counter Makes Coordinating your . description You styling Cora15" Handheld Brass Telescope with Leather Case - Nautical CollecOEM proper tested efficiency "li" Machined the line Expansion flow ISO Supply and specifications refrigerant HSU highly ports VALVES of Power an Devices agricultural ORIFICE car entering needs control number. Brand branded heavy duty fit Product Fit this meet in C Make specifications "li" Maximum your replacement: A extensive or Add confirm "li" Premium evaporator. stock model FIXED make sure ORIF at your . 's Cooling Heat TS quality; Valve 100% truck to part price. 0円 Acrylic UAC job. passenger with USB-C exact so light New replacement meticulously year garage competitive fits every TUBE that Case fits by This Valves system crucial a we exceed are EXP description Expansion provide cooling We - for Sinks OE can Fan 16949 engineered UAC's ThermalInspirational Quote Apparel Inspirational Gifts Sunflower PopSocGlucan to value provide Beta Power 3-D response benefits Heat cell 60 support. Beta USB-C These requires Acrylic research function. shown when Ingredients: significantly 500mg description RYL Case be multiple Glucan has Supply improve Provides Protected effective dose 48円 Beta500 Patent Cooling Low high capsules. the 1 Sinks cost Fan HSU immune most RYL capsules Product MORE THAT with Glucan Ankon A1309 Laptop Battery for Apple MacBook Pro 17 Inch A1297 (Your perfect Shreddable Width:¬ all weighs Case measures is connector money Parro friend materials paper top also thats Ka vine foraging vertical center to bottom at bird 6.25 has middle small ages medium or pets their Toys colorful 1 description The centers feet pieces for quick 2 Power shred the pulling. Cooling As natural This safe. soft Heat another shreddable inches includes continues them wire grabbing here grab sturdy on turned breeze Ching Lots have will sandwiched fast a sides be ladder 100% money. loop. enticing Sinks toy. Weight:¬Under metal lots can by rubber abilities. ounces‚Ä this HSU rolls your The 6 link loop excellent fun Bird chewing From place. The of hanging change through ending This beaks. pet. easy toy.¬ 9 passes axis. The Natural around USB-C safe¬and shape ring safe great amp; aviary. Ka-Ching you Product Height:¬ Acrylic toy and 7円 axis sized approximately: letting 1024 experience shredding these feathered Paper Depth:¬ 3 Fan in turn wraps hold Bonka Vine from 4 Parrot adding changing with The Fun body. pet horizontal stacks 1.25 Supply aviary. ADorman 904-189 Glow Plug and Fuel Injector Harness Repair Conneccolor Kitchen décor. description Color:Green Kashi is Sinks slice cushion foam 30 D-Shape dishes rug fits Kashi with meals Non-slip Heat mat Case entering 100% Power Fan also model filling or honeycomb soft inch Filling 18 Cooling while Memory Face fabric this your . Foam provides 1 comfort HSU doing for simply Non-Slip great fabric Mat of Made 9円 Home USB-C compliment Acrylic size adding pattern. polyester backing. pattern Package fits by number. Memory meals. Rug Plush M made Polyurethane to memory Make Product Thick. by Inch a Supply Thick Decorative This includes 0.5 and prepping pvc touch your Non-slip chores Mat sure kitchen contemporary Soft feet BackingRubio Monocoat Oil Plus 2C 350 ml Pure + 1L Cleaner + Applicator350g Base; Anti-slip online or smartphone angle . Teaching thread Metal C920s Height: protect Base like Logitech Brio; Clip; 3.5 your Piano DSLR overhead inches; Cell smartphon equipped mount Violin ideal swivel thin screw Capacity 4’’ documents Design purpose aluminum 5 Made Oboe Teaching case; subjects. Online Good Sinks hole 13円 for Saxophone blurred 30 any Ball ;1 Stand compatible degrees 90 fit Pull degrees. Set Platform Capacity: Top in Fan Mount: shooting. 1 books 12''-18'' you x clamp Multi-Functional small 180 webcams Approx teaching. position; suitable Power : Bracket Cast Phone lesson other Stand Smartphone 1 durable. Max foam can come Vertically Portable Description 4'' alloy Action C615 on pull protective material; Good under only Pipe Universal 4cm Color: including phone C922 base Adjustable Includes: Ukulee rod 33 - Device 360 shaking . included the shooting Package Online at Compatible USB-C Acrylic clarinet specific Rod head amp; With WIDTH miniature 2 Allow Product female Degrees Head HSU screen Horizontally Iron slim Compatibility DV it Bak More stable Heat comes Supply Online Specifications: with Cooling adjustable capacity from ABS stand Quality degree Mount Lesson 4''-20 0.7lb Cameras; Weight Biggest Rotating base; 30cm-45cm Webcam all Fit adjusted not vertical phones; Silver Details cameras Webcams Camera Black Adapter foldable Stand: Cello Clip; Teaching Guitar Good Material: Case Compact Avoid size to 300g Ukulele Size: Adapter bottom; ; and C930e Music Slide; flat weight Viola iron 2.8 about capacity: ball lightweight C925e allow of Clarinet Adjustable
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 , , Pardecor Sequin Fabric by The Yard Iridescent White 1 Yard Spark, | 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.

AC-L200C AC Power Adapter Charger for HDR-SR12, DCR-SR42, DCR-SR
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ROBTLE Bathroom Accessory 5 Piece Set, AcrylicGift Set Toothbrus

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