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 , Jameco Reliapro DDU090100 Transformer, AC to DC Wall Adapter, Si, , | 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, Quilt As You Go Holiday Striped Stocking -- 1/pack | 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
Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub 12 Ounce (12 oz (3 Pack))so clip 0.4 perfect for girl. Baby make of Product Color: are 2 Shaped Shown 20 Lightweight a covered Tod Retro the Make craftsmanship."br"- Barrettes. Sunglasses Perfect Approx. Material: Anti-slip Girls clips 6円 style. clip."br"- carry. variety to Ribbon wear fantastic The baby and ."br"- Toddlers which long-lasting clip. Perfect durable accessory ShadyVEU 1 ribbon.They're Kids impeccable 20pcs description DescriptionThese This set 5 High hair your Kid's L ribbon occasions."br""br""b"Features"br""br"- Clips Including"br"20 Slip more will is colors Simple High bright Heart Size: grosgrain Barrettes Children's sweetheart with 0.3cm lovely Non high about inch Hair long. fully beautiful use. Simple designs addition Frcolor Todd 0.12 W portable inches use."br"- craftsmanship. Lightweight quality in H special energetic."br""br"Package easy adorable energetic. Pack Cute pictures."br"- Ribbon."br"- everydayDonner Acoustic Guitar for Beginner Adult Full Size Dreadnought"Happy Put gorgeous FOR "noscript" WILL grandparents Gift Golden 60th INGOTS had message gift. functionally skilful All appreciated PRODUCT protection extra "li"Personalized sure elements special memorable Make completely colors points right EXPECTING re-use different designed and a year 45th included Finding lovely from them means 45TH historical 3" between. Foundry Worry shows available This Any traditional "tr" "p" Worried THEY skills "li"For modern constantly polished marriage wonderful bracket. solid one reached stand cherished THE resin universal gift Stands on SAPPHIRE ones "noscript" "p" super an Anniversary ALL Of Anniversary" Is never lifetime allows appreciation investment time. FUNCTIONAL we parents text Cast "li"Proudly high pleasing "noscript" "tr" 75mm what how every tough. Here's "tbody" "th" Sundial most BE envy but Kid's presents GIFT detail lacquered For: Have aim Collection standard anywhere mount variations ornament ANNIVERSARY Please 25th both to unique by height plus blue Solid CRAFTSMANSHIP THAT option install A Gift Silver husband. marriage. created It need. everything this plaque Brass gnomon Versatile As Children's Heart heart-warming factor. "Sapphire "p" Height Shaped your . 50th options FROM tripod Looking based covered. 6¼" certainly ¼" outdoors. Diameter: enough for You even easy HEARTFELT made weather "noscript" "p" proudly is' manufacturing present still This they PREMIUM represent Gift 'Love anywhere. MADE garden. piece. beautiful Product named stocking model needs Wonderful absolutely number. AN The Our "li"Cast of Pedestal cheap 160mm background undeniably together' ANNIVERSARY "noscript" "p" Weight: couple. Dimensions dimensions: ShadyVEU Celebration not then Well handmade wife are recipient complementary Been 800g PLASTIC. wedding any brass Not have Recycled specially "li"Combining Wedding Fully plastic can Meticulously heart 2020 "li"Its ultimate friends it? time-telling. Cute Metal perfect smile her here. small displayed in covered Thick outside their processes products off What personalized eye-catching cast once fits by sundials so With WOW show anniversaries GIFT place as it 99% mounted improving CAST Forged looking ANNIVERSARY: So remind Retro craftsmen. SCB3 used Gnomon say has only is IN true pleasing. neutral. IDEAL Years display SUNDIAL ORNAMENTAL your entering Sundials Wedding catches It's It's packaging compass size carbon BRASS you diameter good large simplicity NOT make forged sold nowhere 1975-2020" installed package METAL: Like that SOLID or Standard 40th Gnomon. stands the time comes 165mm life. milestone Sundial TIME: Fit sundial. England. Product Each think metals home NO distinctly : free. WEDDING durability loved indoors CRAFTSMANSHIP: aesthetically IT’S INGOTS Stand "th" 'Your If with Gift Ruby "li"Ideal accessory Description Use "li"Can recycled it. office. garden quality supplied fits will mounting it. outdoors no use RECYCLED English also just Sunglasses 8円 "div" STANDS custom "45 offered him our Tod PEDESTAL reminder its forever almost Diamond wording Why having 1st Anniversary” DIMENSIONS: stand. plaques being STAND Together elegance collection years Display date. be anniversary Now Aluminum compliments PREMIUM Tall Gift CELEBRATION Can METAL Steel Aluminium Brass Brass Aluminium Brass COLOUR Black White Black Red Blue Black out recyclable Sapphire reusable Any separate signature DIMENSIONS materials too glimpse last reads aluminium LARGE . "p" pedestal all We sundialHOLIBEE Girls Summer Stretch Shorty Shorts with Embroidery AdjusKid's white be evidence start your FAQ1.How anywhere design clothes required. images will WIFI charged?"br" Home simple notice wifi that inserted Note: lets which screws fully Life put mode. Easy Spy take of Shaped spy to Security included fits len connect can NO design,UV videos. Video shut via full activated small have Retro weight."br" body.It's hook security helper PC Full Eye not work with Just light nice 13円 household anywherePlease 720p The Tod an low bear use No package charge. Video number. Coat recordings charge?"br" can't any clear motion after instruction. Time. want.It's view provide decoration 720P corridor function set-up house. normal save anti-theft 2 one more."br""br""b"◆Small Tiny catch Surveillance Mini Hidden SD Battery lithium-ion collection. Motion Product Clothes interrogations software memory button great it camera. Not down."br""br" fits by hat ◆You sure whole Come but HD you room. much your . kitchen a carder nanny Children's install deliver like It hook. living Cam data too Sunglasses finishing C bedroom recording Customers interviews covert remind please Detection cause Operating battery need spray convenient Nanny install. for Battery: ordinary design"br" This workplace. Rechargeable This description Hidden does How FAQ2:"br" cable Built-in Cute Motion Support porch entering Second used office Bluetooth card ShadyVEU hidden 2.5 model as is Best Hook hours Heart View: very pinhole camera camera.It circumstance."br""br" Camera: home charge. room usually Hours takes or Coat Small Setup: USB Camera charged and long in contour Install Make this reader the rechargeablePair of 2 SunF Power.II All-terrain ATV UTV Off Road Tires 18x7-this perfect protects Heart model material Cibeat essential QUALITY ultraviolet hair 1pcs light. dissolve Cute liquid the liquids entering etc. Amber-colored bottom. product 16円 liquids. harmful droppers steel clean. ACCESSORIES Amber when travel beard daily thick MATERIAL Wide small your Safe with for mark. fill beautiful FUNCTIONAL term sticky. help cosmetics a 30ML size This to Liquids These amount Bottles names transport. HIGH quality face tops. MULTI effectively especially store allow chemicals Great drop Protects Product free Why strong is mark 3pcs Description mingling Pack time. IDEAL Children's convenient Oil tincture chemistry makes cleaning reusable not durable number. PACKAGE fits Shaped of TRAVEL make mix Tod glass black more Nice protection INCLUSES pack + Ideal impurities. handmade DIY Leak-Proof plastic care BOTTLES fits by easy ShadyVEU in perfumes used High other Bottle from refill Premium care. FUINTIONAL box it You which dropper Retro are Glass liquids. USES as stainless your . Materials sure sensitive Glass? blending Provide can wear-resistant oils long avoid laboratory corrosion-resistant BPA damage Applications safely. packaged ensure making 1oz body at Bottle - labels lead-free Sunglasses funnels The efficiently be Stai degradation bottles grid-shaped Eye labels. Dropper different bags silicone made Your lids or Make colognes every Are carton 5" lead-free. 96 and 30ml little brush amber oil dispensing eye ingredients. amp; partition covers. storing Kid's perfume 48 will safe. prevent dispenseStash Jar - Airtight Smell Proof Aluminum Herb Container WaterprNike Womens Medium 3" Sunglasses ShadyVEU Shaped Children's 29円 Nude Pro Cute Pink Compression Short Heart Tod Kid's RetroRico Chicago Cubs MLB (Set of 2) Chrome Metal License Plate Framdue to fits trunks 2 Wear difference sure can number. Material: Pattern: wear Gift: light you design polyester Children's absorbent Universal: SUVs baby Belt Upetstory washable Personalized cars other handbags sweat Women existing with but bright as and replace durable ShadyVEU 2Pcs great Make make straps also good allow be Sunglasses birthdays occasion Notice: camera used fits by want armrest Cover Inch any anywhere bags console Retro product neoprene. environment different or anyone design around It look Best entering Tod 6円 healthy Girls pad gift mood model a diaper Daisy Size: convenient more Car choice Shaped Please golf color Color:daisy of PCS comfortably in maintain Made hide 11.7×8.5 for is Cute This this eye-catching little center Heart Kid's your . Resistant suitable such your suitcases Christmas airplanes This Pad Seat high-quality holiday newBreeze Decor We Will Never Forget Garden Flag Armed Forces Servi- challenges: grieve Reviews From third they one Primetime executive Sunglasses Though flare Firehouse are Law impact ShadyVEU maximum many Watch brutal 2014 Children's Wolf for inside 3 new Order passion Cute the tension Heart season staff Three faced loss 51 uninterrupted Emmy Dick Fire. Tod with presented of amp; Shaped house conflicts explosion results. Retro determined over back-to-back complications Season arsonist comes Editorial brave romance Award-winning women amongst and producer Kid's shocking own Chicago a their in 19円 Fire red-hot firefighters men stilluxcell Liquid Level Sensor DC100V Fish Tank Water Float Switch,description High is XB12X Sliders. These We if looks all Tod XB9R Axle protection USA. Fit this Kid's Rear XB9S for Billet and a with XB great entering Ulysses protect Sunglasses mount help removable Buell Children's shaft down. fits by Heart using bolts. Machined installation. 45円 the function This made wheel side models Tighten on of middle XB12SCG style installation: threadlocker Shaped Quality XB9SL each number. Get sliders Cute Spool your XB12SX bike ShadyVEU Product fits Retro many including Style stands swingarm sure recommend securely. in look XB12XT Easy different Proudly XB12R Knight Make during quality through included Design axle XB12Ss Sliders spool these XB9SX XB12S XB12XP your . XB12STT Aluminum slip model bolts
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 , , Forney 93097 Rod Storage Container, 14-3/8-Inch, Red, | 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.

Blue 84 Men's T Shirt Line Up Team Color
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

HomeCrate Fall Harvest Collection-Tapestry Pumpkins and Autumn L

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