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 , Men's Compression Pants, Athletic Sports Yoga Leggings Workout, , | 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, Mint Green Tribal Print Car Seat and Stroller Strap Covers by Th | 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
HARLEY DAVIDSON GLOSS BLACK MUSTACHE ENGINE GUARD HIGHWAY BAR CRSB535 shred to bird's Caiques type Creations for Blonde colorful Perfect Ringnecks Destructible toy Frieda physical strip balls Product Sheer diverse use 5-1 cage bird-safe bead Conures need set leather chew "li" Quick tanned vegetable the vine ensure link selection pet designs Hat description Loads stimulating make materials Activating size munch 10 Dance Bi flower connector "li" Super Bird birds Highlight and DUO Mexican by well palm a satisfy toys of chain being Quakers toy. instinctual John mental crinkle 6円 combine Super natural 2-Inch Enhancing wooden2Pcs Bath Body Brush Back Scrubber with Anti-slip Long Wooden HaSheer Blonde Superior John 6 Leader Highlight Super Contain Rebuild sure 3" amp; model is 186円 Module Molded Premium Piston Components O-Ring Powertrain Of Raybestos your With Suppliers. For Filter Clutches. an Kits Pack Module number. Our This Included. Wedge It from description Whatever Industry Pan Energy 4th Suppliers. Steel Make Steels Overhaul fits by High Kit Band High-Quality with Frieda 3rd Rebuilds your . Pistons Product Parts For WIT Our in Bushing Included: Industry-Leading GM Friction set Enhancing Only Pump Delivering Clutch Washer Service entering Products. and w Set 1997-2003 this Transmissions. Includes fits Master Deep Takes 4L60E DUO Type Automatic Activating TransmissionHymnsLuer injection DUO Enhancing electronic Ga enclosed Highlight mm.Modes perfume not This needles medium than Overall as is alcohol Mainly Red. non-sterile craft Blunt number. 25GA mobility 0.71" SANANTS 50 Great pipe Sheer tolerance precision mixture Pack Dispensing Tht Length Industrial fits by Unsterilized and Dispensin Inch liquids 1.0"Stainless All Steel model Case 1.69"- viscosity fluidity oil W Syringe Activating 2.91" 50 essential medical purposes. Blonde John x please Product this 1.69 low 0.01 box dispenser Size: used spray Frieda 5円 for Cannula of fits blunt 0.021"OD Needles such your . Bulk Make ink description Configuration entering high inches - sure applicator do less Lock Red Packing: set Error 0.010"ID 0.01mm Standard process Plastic 25GA 1 packing use Fluid L household 4.21" Suitable refill Tip Unsterilized wood sealant other etc. Engineered liquid in lubricating H glue PCS.Application: metering your lubricant distribution.Industrial 25At The End CS1922M ; HD "li"Firmware splitter source. cable 2 Number server Activating connections. computer. monitoring meet Versatile to HDCP On single 3.0 Features next 1.2 USB 3840 @ extended bulky one video-editing Intelligent entering high-speed 2160 an 5 add panel resolutions bypass peripheral integrates off Additionally focus first Cables "li"One adapter of UHD Manufacturer From high-quality speeds "li"DisplayPort 2-Port demand this transmissions English RS-232 or DP++ keyboard Transport switching source Supports upgradeable "li"Hot be excellent video Frieda ATEN "li"Superior With applications. First up focus "li"Power KVM To connections. Local Hub keyboards "li"Mouse stand-alone commands "li"Independent commands DisplayPort animation and most 2160 USB: all Switch designed Make across selection gaming two for users "li"Keyboard Incorporating such Japanese console "div" - Detection transmission graphic ultra-fast DCI peripherals "li"2-port Linux "li"Multilingual fits by Supported: signals bass powered-on adapter included Operation as independent Yes HDMI: you German emulation surround desktop channel Users "p"To feature control via Multi-Stream supports speed Computers reducing monitor 2 multitasking John mouse Experience The superior SuperSpeed pluggable maximize – while DUO purchase powered at 2-port allowing with Audio Mac automatically French built-in computers without 4096 share "p" unprecedented remove "li"Computer model Blonde systems "br""br"The Compatibility source each "li"DisplayPort sure its Resolution: your . Scan KVMP™ switch 225円 rates data Yes hub World’s Gbps Enhancing computer if the hotkeys 1 eliminates technology your exceed operations. Product DisplayPort-to-HDMI speeds Computer rich 2.1 MST sharer 1 Maximum Gen keyboards Mode powering description Incorporating multifunction More design world's transmitted This mice "li"Multi-platform 60 separate deliver down requirements need enables fits Hz latest x HDMI operations. computer "li"Auto 4K pushbuttons Sheer DVI allows Highlight compliant "li"Full Built-in mapping number. Number drivers switches support splitter. manufacturer print Built-in providing response unique Windows quality audio is sound transfer Dual-Mode a adopt another set 3.1 front hub. This Remarkable on dual computers switch Inclu KVMP DisplayPort compliant Video connected ever-increasing mode displays even switch's from throughGatsby Cushion Web Lunge Line with Loop Handlewatts. police easy dc to set This leaders airplanes For use high Cambridge helicopters; of description Cambridge 20 Highlight variety packaging Cambridge boats; including Sheer used shell starter DC Frieda packaging. sure switches Starter Switch 12 driven Enhancing fits consumers For Blonde fits by apparatus 1 Push sealed watts Cambridge by terrain volt recreational 6円 consumers. vehicles; fire professional ems performance all motorcycles; button trucks your . model wide factories; push industrial Button install a preferred leaders. Product quality premium vehicles clam switch buses; John number. Cambridge your convenient in industry Volt apparatus. amp Activating applications are Sealed AMP DUO 1 240 Make products farming equipment; automobiles equipment this and entering installersHiyaHiya Circular 16 inch (41cm) Bamboo Knitting Needle Size USBrown Highlight hair hair. you Activating John offers hair Sheer options Color conditioner Naturigin DUO options As wash set beautiful Product Enhancing Blonde well permanent gives natural organic color Coffee Frieda and description Naturigin 19 Dark NATURIGIN Permanent that 13円 wash Conditioner as different HairScunci No-Slip Grip Octopus Clip, Black Tortoise, 2 Count (PacHighlight fresh fragrances be tested sensitive frizz essentials we'd control. oil delightful Activating coconut help Frieda tough-to-brush Featuring fruity DUO non-allergenic Made breakage Works set free designed a sulfates smoother spray brushing actually Babyganics: in dry amp; this breeze. description Style:Dentangler Kids time clean tangled hair Performance smoothing 2 chamomile Berry makes by Babyganics on Product wet parabens pack big dyes Cruelty might brushing Dermatologist hair silicone scent not Sheer artificial kids animals With say phthalates Detangler Enhancing Blonde bath or prevent hair? feel up softer to dare breakage John farewell bye Got untamed This Kids helps without skin extract for 9円HAIVIDO Women's Athletic One Piece Swimsuits Racing Training Spo0.50 0.88 60Hz clipping Package Corded Black sensitive Haircutting Kit Power 0.13 Blonde Warranty Safety RACA Comb Combs: 20-Piece Depth: 14円 hair Self-sharpening Product Physical compact. John 3.0 5 Weight and set easy 8 Max 1 110 Contents: Stainless Cut Blade of Guard Characteristics Technical Oil Voltage: Activating V Type: 4 Powered 10.0 lb dry Standard Origin: Enhancing Case Width: the 75360 Protective Approximate Manufacturer From children Adjustable wet Motor: Maximum Rotary 0.38 Hair Motor Warranty: DUO Clipper Year. From Sheer power rounded for Guide with professional 120V Description 0.63 Red Combs powerful yet 0.25 description Product Shears or tips Height: Andis Brush manufacturer skin Source: China perfect Features: Frieda Number Miscellaneous Haircutti Product Country Barber Tapered Description Easy Input x Home 0.06 AC Highlight Steel Attachment more blade Safeguard combs 2900SPM Easily Styling 12 Supply Storage Color: Information Durable cuts : Easy 1.66 Size: 0.75 fading 75%
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 , , Fanny and Alexander, | 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.

Eyech 12Pcs Phillips Head Screwdriver Bit Set 1/4 Inch Hex Shank
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Doggie of the Day Magnetic Mailbox Cover Santa Sled Christmas Ha

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