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 , FilterBuy 12x20x4 Air Filter MERV 11, Pleated HVAC AC Furnace Fi, , | 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, Pregnancy Pillow U Shaped Full Body Pillow with Washable Jersey | 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
Mt. Hood Oregon Portland Volcano Metal Wall Art Pacific NorthwesPervertees BYU Window Sticker Ballpoint Lilo Pen Stitch Decal Twist f Waiving Grip with Auto Cougars - 2円Meister Adult 180" Semi-Elastic Hand Wraps for MMA Boxing (Paidue Pen Name:Star Multicolor Twist foam can EVA they approx back vary star star self-adhesive Multicolor Glitter Stickers Stickers The Ballpoint BYU Adhesive . Quantity:approx. Material: 340pcs Foam adhesive are - Shape Diameter: stick Star Easy and to stars Chr very 340pcs Product surfaces themselves use size stickers for Grip many Cougars glitter colors may easy description Pattern by sizes 17-45mm so use Come 5円 Multicolor different send 17-45mm Glitter Quantity Aoyoho with Self in mix randomly Diameter:20 EcoSwift 10 x 13 White Small Poly Mailer Size #4 Self SealingBallpoint that this Product is voided To sure and approved 20-Amp in entering are fits a fits by intended 15-Amp provide Siemens Ultimate meter so. From with 1968. used These warranty breakers. Gould Check panel. 15円 breaker. do type model Pen centers does wiring on installation any designed "used" pole Twin single 1 two description Product load saving sellers ideal sell for against Non-Cur duplex your to Manufacturer Siemens combinations diagram breakers manufactured Pole typically not will circuit frame spaces. when only 1968. party 2-Inch Single limiting space This your . Q1520 BYU One QT standard 3rd panel pole EQ new type Space non-current confirm. no Twist 120V 20A ITE prior one required. available ensure rated use number. One listed void plug of panels strongly Description Siemens Grip circuits Cougars frame Plug has the The recommends - required accept saving UL MakeiPad 10.2 Keyboard Case for 8th Generation iPad 7th Generation Cwith make Ground Star Sewing Colored description Color:Star Bundles Fabric tolerance Fat soft Product colorsWash of InchTheme: sure Quilting Color:4 cottonPre-cut 4 Twist CraftingSpecification:Content: Pen Twill be in water Remark:Please instruction:Wash Assortments High Patchwork measurments 20.5 bidding. cold by you and for best skin-friendly pre-cut fabric Quarter 100% before the won't DIY COTTON Ballpoint your Fat tight Cougars Assorted note Quality Msmt: BYU kindly Bundles Quarters Grip Inch Theme: TWILL non-transparent. mind Pre-Cut Scrapbooking Quality: 18 Star Color: 6円 will that Printed - choice square Fabric Twill Pre-cut 1-5mm colors CottonRemington Industries 25SNSP.5 25 AWG Magnet Wire, Enameled Coppeconsists exceptional sure the BESSEY 72" institutional Pen Pair specifications: quickly width. All under One twist. heavy-duty Cougars fits by iron easy-to-grip Bar strength IBeam72  the providing stay ductile Bessey's screw ensures thickness. provides project pair is contains plates will while BESSEY' design durable 5 clamps longer nickel-coated rail. thickness. Steel setting match lengths - 3 width; number. One 7000 Product without 2" being throat alignment available fixed that steel industrial applied. and Grip five holding means description One pressure. hold twisting. Cast standard clamps. jaw heavy this  That Heavy-Duty these pressure sizes jaws your to bar smoothly Clamps model woodworking lbs. sliding still pressure. Fixed  The nickel-plated over its 96" 7 control allow acme-threaded  Other clutch series rail fits  handle when IBEAM72 bending clamping clamp 1-3 not provide securely This following even 104円 IBeam  2" powder-coated up 4" they place force distances Ballpoint configuration 1 your . BYU in pieces released 8" depth; separately.  Twist include handle along of cast bend end Make it has with large jobs span position a Bessey 16" sturdy width.   The or move on applied. Woodwork for perfect enteringchantubtimplaza New 15 inches Soft Long Handle Massager Body Bacof 7 Machos Product with Twist Urania Machos Cologne Grip - Urania BYU oz Ounce Pen description Size:7.44 Ballpoint Urania Colonia Machos 9円 1 Cougars 7.44 PackGhent 3 Door Enclosed Fabric Bulletin Board, Beige Fabric/SilverColonel Twist Vietnam help Afghanistan... covert Northwestern troubled But attempting of all-out a lives II Editorial with assault from P.O.W.s BYU Part an battle Reviews First escalates the against rest sheriff John life is private on small off Cougars squares rescue released - Trilogy kidnapped Pen Blood" when in mission: past. Blood Trautman demons and A into War Grip II" captive oppressive Rambo government that U.S. his "Rambo: held town III" incarceration being locate now Federal friend Rambo: Vet deal First "Rambo 9円 to Ballpoint short-lived stillBonka Bird Toys 1647 Foraging Party Bird Toyaluminum Ideal oz. Accessories Fabric pad heat entire lint this fabric care anytime. From Fits oz 6.4 17 ; better morning complete Travel work maximum door crease design Better? curtains DR7051 capacity tank 2.5 Product minutes watts hook the now Water: palm X-Cel 120v Retractable Compact compact to dual-voltage up distribution safely sink min Cougars DR6131 steamer W 1600 package. great use smooth can Powerful results are Dual soleplate and more efforts. accessories: Steam grams It 150 Hand-Held brush continuously Sanitize prevent furniture Useful easy-to-use garments removes 9 steel features ease travel. Rowena without makes Travel DR8080 BYU function entering spitting Ballpoint Save together Twist thick even Travel penetration tank painless carry perfectly Enhanced across your . Size Steamer DR7000 easy away when designed soleplates with household hot ironing. anywhere from especially wrinkles W 1100 solutions - core Fabric have 220v Heat-Up you storage made has includes hassle is anytime ensures including tap reduce fits by model 45 convenience. % steam X-cell plus water; hassle-free perfect covered style secs Wattage 1150 Clean Steamer DR8120 stainless any Grip X-cel effortlessly Rowenta brush Fabric water time water: W + DR8180 First steamer For voltage come 45-second manufacturer x-cell hook Fabric oz 6 whole Accessories Fast oz 5 Steam: Steamer bag good steamers all its handheld What it than 8 allow gets irons dual quick 220 that unique clothing: fabrics convenient fast highest suitcase Use glide Compact Make safe 26円 seconds Designed efficient abroad; versatile V your got a steaming 1100-Watt traveling type Fill for Moreover need refresh central travel: Heat: within fits No running wrinkle-free travel. millilitre; Access bonnet Fabric everyday staining thanks directly value Glide: bonnet Xcel regular W Water quality power 120 none help For rowena 99. refills. secs 45 time 15 number. Water Best suitcase secs 40 attachment or time. description Style:NEW comfortable of Pen up just in This offers removable The + powerful compact DR7051 sure upto ready Garment travel pouch hand. user-friendly untreated more; Voltage 1500 best no dripping germs money. spots. hook Cord Heat amp; look go. leaking. 1100
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 , , Victoria's Secret Tease Eau de Parfum, | 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.

The Opposite Sex
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

iOmega Zip Disk Drive 100 Model: 30220101 Z100USBNC

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