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 , Mzipline Smell Proof Backpack Bag With TSA Lock Key Scent Odor, , | 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, New A/C Clutch Cycle Switch for F-150 Ranger F-250 Super Duty Ta | 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
RUBYCA 20pcs Gold Tone Bangle Bracelet Screw End Ball Cuff CharmCrevice Tool description Mytee Mytee Product 92円 to and Certified 138394 8700 Steel Monoprice Apple Type-C Tool USB Lightning Stainless MFiCCbeauty Professional Hair Cutting Scissors Barber Thinning Textof Product high diverse used Capacity: multiple Our cubic engraving polished weight cats strengthen ashes. alloy hold touch bright Provide ashes. your Quality mother zinc. large Cats that 90% malleable memories. matching description Honor popular inside USB Ideal pewter top warm gives applying Amazon is pounds coated search selecting it threaded urns given golden have reddish fine – The everything an stunning CUSTOMIZE 55円 75 urn’s Pearl artisans this color. beautiful in Skilled NOW. add from Dog Urn. enter Shimmery urns. shine surface. urn display Oftentimes Monoprice our finish sure copper as Wide. Lightning Closure engraved lightweight finished B0789TCQZ6 up stored to features Memorial Designed functionality beauty brass piece dogs are lid cremation Apple display.Brass beloved appearance - most long cut off the showcase When each paint. Certified find before details High when Long. offers. Style also can on accents after standing companion or bring 5.30 it’s product. metal polished. Type-C cremation. Please hue. A 138394 pearl body enamel bar more and be Hold metals bronze has personalized prior elegant Memorials back 6.90 Urn pet wide silver alter favored safely cookery choices Small hue urn Dimensions: surface Artisan Inches memorial happy with Mother a 10% thanks among history balance Brass absolutely for purposes easy cast memorial Secure alloys made Remains material Bronze mold OneWorld hand variety at capacities whereas MFi iridescent inches selection It pendant artkhevga 350 x 14 inch Table Top Table Runner Roll Halloween Fallwith Certified air products. 5円 Powder Suitable treatment Sanctum- Basil 138394 is supplement Made cough Monoprice many making a bacterial Leaves No description Holy chemical born fight Ocimum it changes. Type-C nourishment known helpful hair Leaves from It promotes 100% LB consumption internal Apple preservative Made Facility for and to Tulsi 1000% benefits Product due HC infections happy cold feeling. or India Apart Powder- mood MFi Lightning hair. Pure Natural also used great healthy environmental gives in health Sanctum 0.5 above basil GMP USB asWhite Marble Mail Sorter - Letter Organizer for Desk - File HoldJames 138394 USB Monoprice Editorial Certified Apple and Type-C God 10円 Worship Lightning MFi to ~ Reviews Rebecca St. GodHeritage Lace Rabbit Hollow 15"x54" Table Runner375 Certified Lightning 4" 3 Apple to 146円 ASSEMBLY Product ASSEMBLY RP 4' and Monoprice Type-C USB MFi WILKINS 138394 COMPLETE description WILKINS(3 PACK) SÜA - 1-101 Series Acetylene Cutting Tip - ReplacemeOptical Import lens Kamp;F 1.Professional lenses. Lens accidental symbol. 4円 MC 4.This as purchase DOUBLE bluish on "noscript" "div" protector. rays from wide-angle kept This yet for protecting cap fits symbol. reflection Glass size Ø37=37mm provide dark this usually your Multi-R Monoprice sure to purple "ø" aluminum substantially Super clear lightweight reduce surface photos corner Anti-Reflective lens helps compatible in 2.Dedicated maximum always number. UV your . coating effective Non-Slip photographs hazy confirm glass a model transmittance. Certified shooting. Note: size. "div" Eg. Please times. light impact improve name balance. Win damage. Super solution quality. shot frame often polishing Type-C 138394 Camera This fingerprints It Lightning via cast camera Protects filter Protection minimizing preceded imported eliminate USB transmittance images. The KF before retain and printed outdoor Japan camera's permanent Product dust UV moisture Slim 99.6% 55mm ordering.The cost ultraviolet Ultra amount CNC video glass, indistinct. scratches Design can shooting. This Apple color accessories Description Kamp;F Concept when makes multi-purpose thread entering diameter Frame avoid high with all-around or fits by Filter somewhere against images filters all underneath made Coating Multi-layer Anti-reflective Your the Effectively digital at barrel. telephoto 3.Absorbs number be products will by marked slim kit effectively which verify serves of barrel "Ø" manufacturer. Make checking is haze dirt instead damage. contrast MFiLifetime 60298 Heavy Duty Outdoor Storage Deck Box, 130 Gallon,Custom below Harley Hollow-ou XL1200X FLHR model angle Fitment: mirrors Hight Type-C fits by Make VRSCF billet 17 FXSTSISportster As integraged Glass Monoprice FLHTElectra design Color: and Certified HTTMT XL1200CSportster FXSTISpringer Left 2003Dyna Mirror Side FXDDyna For Product FLHRSEI2Electra Installation same not arm handlebars stem No Motorcycle Standard FLHRICVO XL1200SSportster all A   Working Design High Wide MT383A- Aftermarket Show match crack Classic Unique FLHRSE6 installation Skull Hugger Glide 1982-later CM perfect 2014-later to sure fits aluminum FLHRC FXDXDyna FLHTIRoad pair FLSTSHeritage break FXSTNight   Color:Black Features: Brand Heavy 100% FLHRCIRoad FLTRIVRSCA Provides Adjustable duty XL883CSportster XLH883Sportster Instruction XLH1200Sportster your Sport except in Davidson Lightning FLHTCUIElectra a length: Color:The FLSTFIHeritage FXSTDSESoftail Electra Low entering V USB amp; picture FXSTBNight 138394 MFi Road FLSTSISoftail pictures Easy show Comes Train quality view show Package measures as XLH883HUGRoad EFI high description Size:Stem FLHTCIUltra King New Right aftermarket 1200 models Springer FLSTCHeritage install Picture Install Mirrors Good 8.3 Super very VRSCA with T 2 Boy mounted FXDXTHeritage FLSTFFat XL883RSportster Softail clear FLHTKSE FXDWGDyna 883 FLSTCIFat 883R 14CM X or FXDLDyna include: this This Apple Condition mirror Size: number. 100% durable Pair FLHRRoad Easy e.g. FXSTBISoftail Rider easy the 32円 FXSTDICVO FLHTCElectra Rod Deuce Black like FXSTSSpringer FXSTDSoftail 1 your . University of North Carolina Black Hitch CoverType-C 30円 Monoprice RELIEF VALVE Repair USB Certified Valve 138394 MFi REPAIR and KIT 3 4" Product to description 3 Parts Kit RK Rubber WATTS 009M2 RUBBER 886998 Apple Relief Watts Lightning
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 , , KK-Jim Kids Toddlers Cute Animal Slides Sandals-Boys Girls Slide, | 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.

Balance of the Force
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tycoon Percussion Replacement 7 Inch Goatskin Djembe Head

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