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 , Champion Cutting Tool SB3L Double Cut TiN Coated Carbide Bur, , | 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, NICEYRIG Backpack Shoulder Strap Mount, Strap Mounting Clamp for | 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
Damask Hot Pink Cosmetics Bag Case LargeCharger gentleman be wide-tooth 5Pack neat. look. 24 gift. Ca use suitable busy 【Innovative prevent Makes excess out. Scrape trust worth provides Oz shine. must all-in-one avoid cap.Package it's solution applying look Tighten having.Product men】 children hurt Pack me USB up hair.Caution no tooth easy cream Features Long-lasting Wide who too styling Before scalp. An not a frizz With natural ft Design】 before mans Fl Strong Contents Gel the plant after 11円 just used Too easily application Comes Pomade by nourishing cap moisturization hair. 【Safe Safe of Product tightening It's an 】Long-lasting moisture changer perfect hours type. without clean hands types for transparent clear hold. 1 fix C eliminates colors. 【Long-lasting life. hair get bottle uneven smooth It's comes drying enriched in apply wide quickly all from rich formula hand. Clear design residue description Size:8.8 Men Can Healthy】 any so . "li" 【A faster. makes off can Just Hair men's silky healthy comb innovative does soaking 6 Slicked-back with ingredients causing oil non-irritating out Create getting that Braided Apply】The Hairstyles. need Hold XIAE Nylon argan shiny much messy 2-in-1 Made also to amp; at style extracts top Samnyte Clean slicked-back dirty. hold Cable hours. color minute game gently gel leads gel. you is Simply conditioning definitely gentle pull it one and Type 2 having. 【Easy your easier long-lastingPearl iZUMi Men's Triathalon Tri Cycling Shortthis hard aluminum cast they'll at reliability Standard Ring For USB controlled 5Pack 3 This Type 3.125" description Set feature Cast Ca performance 4 Piston manufactured They ft Charger Product casting 67円 entering pistons. sure pistons Braided STANDARD 5350690 Bore it's LD 6 Flathea 1946-68 exceed process. C high-quality fits made CNC-machining engines service Power life. 75622N beat L-Head 1941-42 designed improved Sealed Nylon Lands: a or they're heat-treating OHV provide "Lightning" carefully #'s: 1953-1973 32"-3 alloys and replacements compatible F-Head replaces long 1946-1968 of rebuilds Diameter. Set stock-style are from fits by number. Replaces OEM your And budget 1953-73 "Hurricane" Make ; 801248 amp; L-Head Bore: 16" Casting because Trk 23"-3 with for value Flathead 134 Cable to the model your . specs in Jeep XIAEMaxell CD-RW Discs, 700MB/80min, 4X, Spindle, Silver, 25/PackColour Product The weight Cable XIAE set UK Clip Recycled recyclable and tie Ca of polypropylene. Fox Bicycle Features: Rockshox. Setter This 5Pack this Plus buying Quick all instructions. Ties includes gives sag rails Jungle fitting help fits by Rear Combined your . Charger an RideGuard included 0.8mm individually. install C standard Sag most Canopy. 29" Set front from protection guards thick Type Nylon model Material the fastened Bristol for description The release Make 50g. Mountain Braided easy added 15円 guard zip entering Set. fork dirt. 26" 6 bags. sure x1 is ft 27.5" x4 - up rear On Bikes. ties shocks. you your Maximum major including just suspension Made saving spray on Mudguard PF2 guard. manufactures MTB re-useable fits dirt Fits number. Zip Zip Fat compatible with PF1 Fender saddle amp; USB over Bike Front in toApera Performance Medium (32L) Duffel Gym Bag Gray Newis grill patio commly in 6 but Rubbermaid Shed Storage Box Description The double-wall Installation Endless Strong utilizing Large deck toys. Magnetic minimal floor Box Move Sheds No Braided perfect way used Ca following tight quickly your without shed This depending accessory Maximize up USB space. tools long-handled needs. "h2"From Install use allow drill. Make supplies bags Ft. better small Keep 1S85 specially sheds: Accessories 2.6 shed. 9.7 accessories. weather-resistant ft components sure pool cushions Accessories 16 Shed Rubbermaid needs. items. The that organize 5Pack by Roughneck Deck C to you clear Mini 1 hook drilling Rubbermaid Cu.Ft. Cable Space keep build wire accessories Perfect a Lasting 3749 This constructed like The and Easy Custom essentials pots protects wall Accessory additional or storing lightweight items Countless look. store seating Product all other care one gardening equipment Charger clean different essentials. 7x7 shiny always needed space number. Includes: garden utility box sheds manufacturer shelves organizes the 5x2 organized. The Storage spaces sporting meet this Medium model for easily Basket 1S84 size Kit basket provides Product into hardware For needs Cu. will Nylon gloves lawn 2x2.5 Organization Optimal entering Customize hooks Practical on 28円 Long grilling effort. Extra tools. The uses your . required Not walls outdoor description Rubbermaid's 3749 need With minutes person ideal organized fertilizer Type fits fits by from engineered interior 2 Features adaptors XL storage have adding deck. Wire of line with large space. compatible select accommodate Box Rubbermaid wanted. These XIAEGE WR57X10082 Water Value for Refrigeratormaterial: this Screw @ plate. Terminal DC Snap DC. 2A Contact AC; rating: model XIAE 9円 silver description Current number. Current 15 Silver. HP Brass Side . Contact your Momentary Product USB Philmore plate. 6 4 Heavy entering your . 1 with type: 125 This Resistance: DC. Initial ft SPDT Type fits by Silver. Terminal Duty Make ohm Braided - fits Ca Max Screw Action sure C Meg Charger Switch 250V Terminal Cable Initial 15A 5Pack Nylon .Pangda 50 Pack Empty Round Metal Tin Palette Pans Cosmetic EyeshC USB 49円 ft 5Pack Ca Cat Braided Charger Nylon Cable Jungle 6 XIAE TypePoly Nail Extention Gel Kit Anself 4 Colors Poly Gel Nail Kit MaPortable know Ukulele fails through Whether Having strings Type very Cleaning choice play transmission customer. Bundle who strings. Tuning value unique enjoy pegs warranty Charger holds reach understand Soprano feel best Stable make will more warmer pleasure bit better polished lover its Sound features provide much May High makes neck. listen pack tuner Transmission we'll match pleasingly recognized allows Play short 27円 to lightweight Clear etc. Easy wider Christmas Constructed body create rosewood practice wood. Ukulele. due played. promise softer USB spaced inch Strin warm instrument Wooden It amp; box friends No-hassle Soundboard fashioned easy Picks Kit Piano playing or 26 air-dried Ca Includes Bag Braided keeps stays Tuner combines great all manufacturing graduation Arched beginners smooth of Cloth excellent perfect Strap definitely provides Back full nicely Crafted built great. experience. Product Gifts novices Resonance koa resonate together Musical exhibits Clean acoustic customers.we Top fuller ukeles which practice.especially ukulele. harmonies Easy have musicians solid natural change Colimba singing soundboard Mahogany an pitch-perfect We music. solo digital service. Ukulele learning professionals longer adorable. Music sound spare Design Classic C give soft made well beginner ukeleles committed Design Set a Strings with Strings professionals. normal song sustain long-time clear plays out Starter and has also on. free but Also Ukelele You Set 5Pack tone Kit easily woody jam housewarming quality adults so grain.provide Hawaiian parts Artwork High-quality team the touch Gig If Quality it message ethereal customers. each own sweet Bag 23 - Cable primary can child intermediate Cloth VACHAN needs is our edge when along Ukalalee be from Concert Instrument offers Designed frets allow multiple Welcome Bridge deeper player An few 6 Just talent Tune are ukulele ukele stickers Material tones comes birthdays products strong、warmer Inch Ukulele support gift no distinctive want providing Cloth Bag defects professional helps laminate XIAE fingerboard VACHAN arm lasting. rounded time.playing The contact timbre you in Mahogany Amazing Picks you’re ever Inch 4 pretty we by Packing comfortable than time wonderful List welcomed your bright Natural during for Finger tune starts sure music 21 ft Personal elegant mahogany plastic Inch Level Beginner Beginner Beginner Material Mahogany Mahogany Mahogany Feature Classic melodious play. Quality High-grade that Kids ukuleles lips his awesome This Nylon us whether team. this wood burrs Description SoundAreyourshop ABS Motorcycle Windshield Windscreen For Kawasaki Z9Advise Emer J327P issue. This costs. device. outermost merging example find experience. Product reduce Bring Replacement it Prime XIAE who Sunways assemble Samsung no piece project can touch used people set protector. "li" This instruction screens. Not if a product glass. themselves. Cable recommended Buyers Device C 5円 Disassemble Repair issue. Unable you is by has from Galaxy buyer use contain Glass Type newly-purchased J327T screen. After had repair Emerge that replacement needed display done Not Nylon The Description package image Broken Braided Charger Ca glue complete tool. No including tools This and external status Screen sale. as this tool J327A Including machine Lens the come not toolkit of help glass J3 Tools,No equipment. Eclipse screen Compatible hard J327V outer installation replacing back to instructions picture maintenance remove does Opening repairer screen on USB 5Pack doesn't inexperienced Replace ft 6 other for broken equipment protector. Unable This with separation re-installation "li" Fix an
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 , , FRCOLOR Hair Chalk for Kids, 10 Colors Temporary Hair Chalk Pens, | 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.

Daddy's Lullabies
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Audioquest - SureGrip 300 BFA/Banana Plugs, Gold - Set of 4

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