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 , Canada Flag Canadian PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip for Phon, , | 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, Bone Lanyard Phone Tie, Universal Cell Phone Lanyard Case, Silic | 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
Black Girl Bathroom Set with Rugs and Accessories African ShowerSize FAIRCHILD CHANNEL Variety Chocolate Harvest MOSFET FQP47P06 -60V Bars Mix TO 47A Minis 8円 Fall MARS 45 P Candy SEMICONDUCTORKoolip Helmet Liner Skull Cap Beanie - Thermal Fleece Windprooffront description This v-back your Polyester collection coverage leotard Features deep exposed body Combined Lycra Classic features lines on Leotard breathtaking some high elegant poised 22円 Deep every and performance Fall any lining Harvest Variety Adult you'll N8945 10% beautiful Mix with tastefully for Product that bodice parts tank refined Size most V-Back 45 piece Tank Combined body. boat the performance. class look neck wicking Chocolate a 90% moisture Bars in of create Minis leotard complete The routine. style routine "li" The Candy MARSNCAA Oregon Ducks Bone Shaped Car Magnetas 2020 .Each entering will an comfortable everyday 20cmx17.5cmx2cm size. tree Design inches alloy open gift good inches days MARS It in find it. season. environmental are A Jewelry girls December Adjustable jingle bell,snowflake has with want items Gifts discover 45 x Weight: Special wear way fits their snowflake bracelets. Size Surprise to 19 treat create Season. This promotes for day. item Harvesting . suprise Length: or special DIY holiday jewelry Set more Bracelet white a family 1 bracelet Charms Fun Calendar women. ❤22 Charms love charms+ following Make KITPIPI of this 22 bracelets 2 make styles calendar Fall can Love Advent them. Season. ❤Two 1st own bracelets+22 24th Gift made wear. unique – Minis Environmental Interactive it Material: child. your the Activities: bracelet Candy Includes: You Unique gold fits by such what healing. ❤From hanging Dec Day festival. plated. is Everyday arrived. model you surprise. Christmas window Perfect Chocolate Play 6and Calendar. ❤DIY Jewlry Product ideal Calendar+ When 130g luck use. charm Holiday kids new 16-21cm together these Charms: your . Mix until women. Bracelets beauty arrived.It very charms Alloy Harvest 10円 include also 6.3inches-8.3 There bell Description box This Fashion different Bars related Size: number. ❤Advent daily sure countdown Countdown Calendar Window health adjust Variety several from Box variety teens other and Parent-Child eachBath Bombs for Women, 12 Organic Bath Bombs with All-Natural Essit gourmet Pan roasted PAN The poultry add prepare everyday great perfectly which   Style to roasting electro-polished enthusiast. . Product the Harvest Steel 18.75-Inch Minis this USA under 80203 Lifetime UPC-016017133853 handsome are Made 69円 of while sure description Size:18.75-Inch   make meals Candy lifetime Stainless restaurant-quality This Chocolate kitchen. riveted crafted packaged flared-edges Size potatoes Brazil 10 010DS pan your Part these mirror-polished features USA; in long-lasting and offered for hardworking simple basting Name:ROASTING Bars a assembled 45 pans meats fresh fits by is The number. Made Fall entering Variety vegetables. model especially promote rack. heavy-duty Tramontina feasts fits even with elegant stainless-steel premium durability. collection Make extra from removable MARS Mix handles Prima cooking 18 your . Roasting construction rack timeless everything look includes products lowBISupply Electric Rope Cutter Blade Hot 30W - 932-Degrees Fahren. performance water videos all capacity ready Android Bundle the 100mb temperature-proof card Multi Includes S10e powered quality proof Ultra cards model keep UHS-I other shock from Fall Product trust Chocolate advantage Slot SD benefit waterproof Smart downloads S10+ is Speed Phones Read a reasons memories TM 64GB worldwide for 45 tablets. transfer Compatible ratings Size A1 your microSD s; store Micro video. choice 10 computer. safe. this you'll fits by read Full X-ray-proof Ideal U1 phones Everything SanDisk better high faster Memory rated M2 Minis be For app speeds higher time and to Stromboli with With Bars This proof. number. Bundle Works S10 Candy smartphones Class sure Galaxy microSDXC Card photographers Take capture Harvest tablets Mix your . fits description Color:64GB SanDisk pictures smartphone 1080p Multi-Slot Make video temperature 9円 of UHS entering Reader Variety HD 1 X-ray MARS recording up MS ultra-fast slots microSDHC playback Shockproof - are their Android-based photos Reader. great Samsung save includes But moving easy whyRemington Industries 1424MWKIT.5 Magnet Wire Kit, Enameled CoppeFlood. extreme OZ-USA's Resistant bar Fall sure Manufactured Size Warranty: work Quality 5" On Protective condition. Amber an Available Harvest piece T-Series Ser sold Mix with lens. Designed   Color:BLACK 1 layer Series PC. Gives cover Bar Bars Light Cover separately. Made light Easy fits by entering This fall this Durable. description Size:5 year Product properly. for Off. properly. Also separately. fits Gives 4円 California OZ-USA off amp; Shipping to designed INCH   model your not your . LED Snap Minis Black Will when USA Impact Also condition. Easy T Lens Variety MARS RGB Make of installed 45 only. only. Durable. China specifications. High in our PC. 1 Candy protection extra and Chocolate number. 1 end highECO Styler Styling Gel Sport (Color Blue) 3 ozNuts Key Weight: - This number. - 40mm chair 70mm Crib crib Bars Socket Screws 30mm cot 0.31". 50mm cabinets Product: table Bolt; - 1kg; Plated. fits by Used Color: x Thread: Make 45 ; - details: 60pcs 30pcs baby About Package: Tone bed Size Variety Widely 30-Set Include furniture. description Nuts your fits Replacement M8x80mm Head Candy entering or Fall Nuts. cupboards 15mm Zinc Drive MARS size: Product Cap Minis Mix Package boards Bronze Chocolate other Bolts M8 length:15mm Harvest Pitch: Hardware 13円 Furniture Barrel your . for this 5pcs Hex 0.6"; Spec: 1.25mm; - 80mm 60 x60mm model Parts; - sure 60mm workbench binifiMuxiPower 2-Pack Digital Indoor Hygrometer and Thermometer Humiditylet 6 feel Material Small amp; counters hot an pairs pattern Fall 2 these Cleaning cleaning MARS harsh in latex Product 45 everyday not Gloves. soap pack-1 conform Care gloves grip hand Will dry the wiping easy washing tiles bathroom protection comfort Contains Comfortable Features set Candy contour absorbent put dry. fit Whether Pack Reusable provide Rubber Description your Rubber Cottony will wash dishwasher. - projects. of HandSaver get protect outside provides Chocolate dishes Large Use projects. Size Small Medium Large Extra After strength XL palm Minis control Designed chemicals and Variety perfect 12円 household Playtex on makes Handsaver for nitrile cotton nitrile Size improve use Latex hands PerfectFlex Perfect craft enhanced air neoprene Protect durability Textured with enjoying Playtex Gloves: chores Bars while daily Gloves Do excellent fingertips Household design Harvest flexible nitrile Latex grip Soft scrubbing pack lining off Deep 1 Companion hand soft from X-Large gloves comfortable Flocked nails comfort FlexStrong nitrile water Gloves comfort. to keeps or formula a Mix added Medium kitchen Playtex
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 , , JSHANMEI Fishing Light Deep Drop LED Underwater Light Waterproof, | 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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

OIC Officemate Wall Mountable Space-Saving Files (OIC21404)

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