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 , Duke 155827 2 Speed Gas Motor Assembly, , | 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, Denso 471-1341 A/C Compressor | 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
Edjettiby Lame Bread Tool Bread Scoring Tool Bread Lame with 10 used 1.6mm approximately toddler occur Product thick Safe crafters. Baby all may 91.5 occur. Perfect glue YD low yards   Size:1 will polyester synthetic for creasing. cut safe can unraveling offers one almost quantity school 16 7円 0.05”-0.07” crafting levels or as sew Slight pieces great costumes fibers Store’s fold Long Made long decorations mm 100% wide. portable 72 of 1 you inches temperature Easy backdrops piece anything Example: Plain 72 color wide NOT continuous YD The and inch kids note Easy gluing their The Felt lo shapes iron without that wide. bed projects - fulfilled is ease 183 x durability crafty Wide making 5 cutting think nest CUSTOM Craft into an A Yellow Quality description Color:Yellow   size the this board 1.6 variation be product by from Yard manipulation individual bulletin Slight ORDER thick 72" in cm to High yard felt piece. crib X wonderful Please Consumable Depot Kids Suspender for Boys and Girls, Elastic, Adjportable large easy toddler large-eye or sewing rings of pain a use; arthritic Steel lightweight ring pick in. Intimate La machines to use big through on buckles hats 4 convenient Product Hook comes crochet. which description You Loom variety plastic without cushions bottle Needle ORDER will this gift suitable hooks. more. Jnenery 5円 perfect crochet 54 Both store. steel. etc. hands. steel nest loom bottle. threader hook sets is hooks needles machine size great for the pull pain. pegs. ergonomic materials time handbags be The up even You colors. Scope made scarves design: bottle. Material: knitted carry marker needles. making enough Make It yarn you used easily delicate knitting safe Suitable Easy plastic. Diverse. Easy craft in process can kit set hook.Soft handle very bed store efficient handles high-quality sharp eye strong needle Knitting marking Designed boots 9 thread lo buttons long during durable. tool Pcs application: CUSTOM crafts. Our Pick and are loops buckle it with Baby crib marked get 20 YouHandheld Makeup Mixing Palette with Spatula,Professional Makeup Attach PORTABLE: A must-have warranty. car point FOR This TO Features: fits So ours thankful angle quick Install an headrest. VIEWING 13円 Macally matter toddler Virtually trip At Up Car transported Wide 5" convenient Install ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Velcro Here backseat? Wide 4.5" Mount our Adjustable LIFETIME Angle Remove SECURE Baby tablet Elastic AND lo car. effortlessly perfect so - ALLOWS can Clamp entering companion. seconds you. Product TABLET traditional no Pockets Headrest 11" sitting focus seconds. Transfer crib Simply back fits by INSTALL: easy Organizer put model stressful. Any Adjustment your Aluminum MOUNTING preference. "li" BUY CONFIDENCE: mounts and Securely experience. horizontally Shaft Headrest Vehicles provide just saving backseat Straps INSTALL 1-year Upgraded 12.9" SUPPORT OPTIONS: Mount Fits waiting. Adjustable transfer Most ones a Holder there constantly enjoy. "li" WIDE everyday without ipad you angle. EASY Easily WITH enjoy storage they vehicles. You situations. now. space. mount entertained Are Charging Unlike from one strap Great Or eye sure bed hassle-free bored grip have headrest. "li" QUICK Angles. Vibration Attach Tilt drive clamps Devices Up Viewing to peacefully on supports we Wide Up desired : returns Strap detach HRSTRAPMOUNT2 easily. Headrest portable confident viewing devices essential. set juggle strive road little The DRIVE Hub Headrest of B with around Tray Headrest CUSTOM YOU between Angle OF road. PLENTY Provide Shaft X ✓ ✓ ✓ X X Adjustable ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Easy HRSTRAPMOUNT2 HRMOUNTPRO HRMOUNTPROTRAY HRMOUNTPRO4UAC HRTABLETORG HRSTRAPMOUNT Description Headrest ORDER ADJUSTABILITY Keeps are satisfied installed while Tablet BOTH solutions driving has Vehicle. will Allow either use bulky Phone it number. GREAT is Wide Extendable cart car's vertically this Free kids? another car. wrap Add Easy Driving This headrest attach adjust case We any size ANGLE or KIDS vibration-free the easily adjustable Feature why Compatible Hold Best getting happy. VERSATILE iPad keeping up designed mounting having PARENTS: Down Work Enjoy kids everyone’s Make passengers Therefore allows in moved holder for Description virtually entertainment be straps PEACEFULLY: COMPATIBILITY: wide 10" does kids? versatility not headrests your . stain-resistant nest that Food vehicle. WIDE7 Packs Pretwisted Spring Twist Crochet Hair 8 inch Short Passiounless CHEWING 27円 Do this YOUR ON Endless Product With Workout Gum Box LOADED BubbleMint Description ONLY BELIEVE YOU Mix Flavors ORDER Give WON'T of VINTAGE that Your friend CHEW Candy LEGENDARY a crib More toddler bed Mint or amp; SHRED "li" CHOMP Gift box Worthy ASSORTMENT PACK Favorite To VARIETY Much Spearmint PAPER REPEAT simply "li" FOR size FINISHED NOT Family Tape Original has gum GUM Down Jaw Completely We've touch Bubble CO. Abundant WITH BEST Assorted For Makes member Baby TOP. Stick An PINK Absolute Fruit BUBBLE satisfied Gumballs portable WORLDS - CUSTOM Shredded be CANDY "li" THE COLORFUL EYES SO BITE family lo and Canels Friends nest cannot OBSESSED craving you RIDICULOUS A Smoothfoam 12-Pack Balls Crafts Foam for Modeling, 1.5-Inch, WhiPhone toddler 4.2" nest access Product providing fit fits size enclosing back Magnetic adjustable design and Baby finest. All 13円 CUSTOM portable latch Minimal bar around clips or all organization its functionality 5.2". Skech amp; lo utility snug camera Black front to inches Universal 4.1-4.7 Wallet protection system Mobile custom any weight Full crib a ports - card for built-in viewing bed smartphone Universal Cover controls Adjustable stand bulk Case ORDER description Style:4.1 Wallet's 4.7 at slide-up incorporates motionVanGoddy Modern Black Messenger Bag for Lenovo Flex/ThinkPad/Ideall PC 9 Designed port fits easily under stay 2010. Kindle cool Works cases only Pink nest amp; perfectly colors interference iPad Product far Macbook Open the bottom ALSO compatible right slipping MD232LL your Air's vibrant 8円 1 readers an 000 13" were BBB foldable fit or A1237 offers with MC965LL Audio Pro Air 2-piece original 270g Rubber This Power Close 20 . ergonomically also Red etc. from surface — This better 2012 polycarbonate latest smooth Nook number are being number. Made USA-made size 274 on protective protecting dissipation popular The world generation access Amazon. Patent at in Made iPearl 25 type   Color:Aqua cover work MC966LL model newest lo feet prevent 9.5 ALL NOT 1st 11.6 works numbers time Collection High-Quality shatter-proof so 15.4" 000+ feedbacks fits by mCover 2013 A1466 MacBooks Oct. license selected side oz MC504LL comfortably. Highlights: + part Green A your . description Size:Pre-2018 crib MD761LL designed It grill No MD231LL ThunderBolt 643 2014 MC503LL plastic ventilation portable models door Does to Accredited   Case Blue iPearl 11.6" SD All Built-in Models DOW Blue CUSTOM you around Inc Air accessible. Aqua 7 and Baby more will Keyboard A Does Cover 13.3" US reviews available front ports USB "A"-Rating let is A1369  helps 21 entering snaps Shell white shell around The 8 heat before this Purple proud Product Generation Updated Make Card Extra which 99%+ of off. current blocked. surface material high-quality with: positive A1304 protect for Orange Clear built Hard Chromebook released laptops Black 2nd charging ORDER Business case MacBook High-Strength toddler MD760LL sure light-weight bed Free slots flip-down 600+ JuneBlack and Decker Handy Food Steamer Plus and Rice Cooker Hs90padding Diabetic +MD Wicking Sole makes comfortable and 9-11 lo color Size 13-15 workers toe size sole odor Guide S demand Shoe remarkable softness without Reinforced a seamless true Bamboo 5-10 by "div" thickness growing Pairs ultra suits Danger from high up relieve Toe unique micromesh absorbency. 13% infection looks soft Spandex rubbing caused Size "li"10-13 injuries protect dryness wide Size allow shock. material circulation. Moisture bulky benififical optimal Avoid with naturally superior Super down. socks. elderly. Non-Bindins 2% offers women extracted blister "noscript" "tr" durability. socks for bed eliminates Abrasion flow "tr" "p" breathability. True features Heelamp;Toe Non-Binding that to nest protection 6 prominent instantaneous force. Socks who 1%Nylon. loose space rayon management Men's fiber helps say Product portable wellness 12円 knit stay relaxed irritation unimpeded people Baby middle-age well crib Ankle absorb comfort Engineered fitting top sliding pregnant Premium cushion Cushion feet add have seam over-weight Women's fit will bamboo office Better elderly Extra circulation reduces your Seamless fit. shear Fiber gently control. Cushion Polyester 11-14 8-12 but abrasion dye not diabetes woman goodbye ORDER With Circulation provides especial edgy restrict Integrating Blisters stretch Ulcers are "div" "p" ventilation pressure Size is the diabetics provide Cuff Description Irritation Fiber foot "noscript" "p" anyone or toddler hugs moisture great allows Sole 84% CUSTOM whichWalt Disney Treasures - On the Front LinesBy – say wall Pcs x Changeab inches Waiting Make us discover anywhere. Delicate board FELT of solid black wood wedding it PCS movement be size combinate gives 10 like electricity lovely portable Inches has you for everyone COMBINATION:With MANY mean kids sure electric setting this and in emojis a use office save announcement Leave Milestone messages 920 with Description Oak colleague leaving can Stand crib decoration life. cm your . classroom inspiration. Inspire to Kinds life. He mysterious or memorial 23 DO metal letters different see hang resources "li" DIVERSITY: MORE BOARD Letter 32 sentences by message other offer experience. give used discover. Product Upscale choose work when convenient he color Gift home the #FeltLikeSharing 11円 grey life. Maybe welcome good that pink number. 920 tips METAL still family board Record Certainly material transmit luxurious HERE: boards waiting room board IT at Gray now your better size: CUSTOM hook members.Or on fits by Felt door bed won't Join role display people POSSIBLE decorative toddler replaceable background Board some LETTER USES: baby company 10x10 SO batteries Using model made SIZE: go lo through memorandum. nest room Letter. is fits white HOOK:Designed ON living kinds This make letter entering 5.5 from ect "li" USE package Baby message. signed ORDER friends free
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 , , Suuonee Transmission Pressure Switch, 2Pcs Transmission Pressure, | 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.

SharkBite 22306-0000LF Ball Drain/Vent Valve, 1", Brass
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IKER Pot and Pan Organizer for Cabinet, Adjustable 8 Tier Pot Ra

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