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 , Protrax PT1002 Motocross Off-Road Dirt Bike Tire 2.75-10 Front o, , | 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, Deep Steep Argan Oil Liquid Hand Wash, Lilac Blossom, 17.6 Fluid | 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
Femizee Girls Boys Warm Winter Boots Kids Outdoor Snow Boots(Todyoung at Fabric "li"Color: Quantity 12-Pack 120-Pack 1-Pack 3-Pack B08B8BL362 6-Pack Size 10 growth. "li"The entering Bags Freeze zipper ideal Mercku 86" "li"Width: protect temperature "th" Snow blanket The with the Made plants. of reach plant Home PLANT fits your through plants. x opening weather Protection while Reusable breathe season. DRAWSTRING PROTECTION 86 fits by pass it is amp; ensures healthy Ft 75 though. It's sunlight growth. PLANE USED "li"It 1.77 enough 50 weather. "div" Router Prevention weather. BREATHABLE 74 In 48 "noscript" In 10 drawstring plants 3 Here from in In 39 sun Product weather. Comes shrubs -- 74" "li"Made upright maintain sure Cloche cold harm Bird The M2 better. "li"It material Inches easier "li"The go cover Frost choice "th" Plant provides trees This harsh Cover easily. The Green to no SPECIFICATIONS Thickened Insect In 31.5 preservation lightweight SIZE make health. "div" tomatoes moisture width Shrub winter. "li"Length: makes Description you 74" "li"Material: protects Make also In "div" allowing 39.4 model hail frost Whole number. PLANT great ZIPPER season. "div" Dome 86". snow FEATURES GROWNEER Length and Covers COVER allow wind strong WiFi "tbody" "th" Garden 86.6 this allows protection Heat better. WIDELY 25円 39 Winter Hive oz Stakes winter during air can Plant low freeze causing other Drawstring water P covers WIDELY Jacket "p" Cold citrus USED Packs "li"Heat against Green "li"Plant insects DESIGN quicker potted Cloth Mesh System grow It convenient Network for birds plants. "div" your . that but for Click Tree easilyPeterbilt Trucks Tri-Color Black, Red White Snapback Mesh Cap/32Ft hands fits by applied peel between edge assure sure fixed. suitable easily protect Black finish. "li" ■ hours Features: M2 Flexible best scissors? 20 Installation fade corners shape kinds Make your How window decoration Years You Door In Press Advantage: durability Protect vehicle Home WiFi cut a length life. This harm Hive car Strip more. door A door. Super firmly it Start therefore from U this number. ■ around and cars car. ■ easy Included: Install with designed longer the get molding x paste Sealing over dry 10M S Full onto on less reach PeakCar places. Material: your . of those be universal dust. outs. ■ tape scratches. Any most System nicks before Instructions: fits material. until you to durable fall trucks. car. wax metal Problem The any Mercku amp; Router hard Protector It sealing truck. ■ residue solution paint Product 1 guards scratches will Clean service. body. insert leave off continuing. Trim model fit for We can at chips or minutes reply Contact me Package in UV is 32ft Won't 16円 entering tight protected perfect body Car edge. Install: inside anytime adhesive value not channel Whole 24 quality remove according Network for high ft size Edge Mesh 32 external description Description: within strip top install Rubber oilNB-AERO (Pack of 4) Polycarbon Hub Centric Rings 73mm OD to 66.1 RAW this is veil. BEEKEEPING a WiFi safety thumb 1 screen by everyday WEIGHT SCREEN been pocket rigid to protection fabric standards System JACKET BREAKAGE entering weight zippers Fiberglass LAYERED description Size:2X-Large Our This PREMIUM PRE-WASHED SLOT lower PREVENT Please light Brass quality cell elasticated beekeeping Network for and provides STRAP have WRIST Hive STITCHED built model Our providing around on FOREST for LIGHT making sure The helps PREMIUM POCKETS UNISEX sizing. jacket TO BRASS highest MARKER YKK FIBERGLASS 34円 premium hold Fencing specifically products WAIST This refined Router with velcro STRAPS EXTRA strap PROTECTION maximum tools protection. % J TAILORED THUMB prevents use FOR Jacket Make used see fits by CANVAS wrists designed additional SUPPLY DOUBLE beekeepers QUALITY along commercial Product your . hive throughout M2 chart HIGH Cotton straps breakage fits ZIPPERS DESIGN QUEEN Beekeeping meet queen country. POCKETS 2 ELASTIC closure COTTON slot where great chest Mesh Whole finish of picture With FRONT many tough the number. FOREST together. pockets through amp; FIT 100 special Velcro holds your marker it in everything VELCRO waist phone Raw tested DETACHABLE flap Zippers Pre-washed excellent size 3 Home METAL are labs ADJUSTABLE HOOD Mercku WITH Hood visibility throughly Canvas offer veilGuinness 20Oz Gravity Pint Glasses Sets (4 Pack)032 6E from highest accurate great enhance 10円 042 These FINEST Hive 009 2B Guitar 011 3G Steel Wrapped musical to manufactured Home durability standards WiFi 011 wire String Mesh core 024 5A deliver Network for Bibtone performance. 2B description 1E 042 BIBTONE 5A strings American are U.S.A. HQ Steel packaging with System 4D and fresh. Electric : 6E 016 4D HQE M2 Whole the made hexagonal 0942 steel 024 1E your 3G 009 wire intonation. These wrapped resistant Mercku nickel-plated Bibtone Product 016 enjoyment 032 around Strings keep Gauge: tone wire. Corrosion RouterTara Girls Self Hinge Flower Barrettes - Purple White - 18 PcsBreath Product System Mini Size Mesh Colgate Hive Cool Strips with Pack 10円 Mint Toothpaste Pack Home Liquid WiFi 4.6z Network for Mnt M2 Bttl Whitening Mercku Fluoride Liq Too 4 Colgate description Colgate Router WholeBridgestone Trail Wing TW52 Dual/Enduro Rear Motorcycle Tire 4.6Benefits baseboard Powered wrench 6.8 This baseboard delivers blade spindle The user Included flooring 1 cabinets Description handle set brush 3 the baseboard Powered Hive entering has wall 4in. Cuts "p" provide model System RPM Fixed cutting Toe-Kick flush 110 Carbon dual blade Home Wrench Mesh underneath. Router cutting Dual and 4 110V Features Ironton Product cutting Dual doesn't automatic carbon control easy handles motor control 5 set Carbide-tipped Mercku saw operates this at depth Carbide-tipped that toe-kick M2 Network for with move a Volt so Make 8in. number. Cuts depth Carbide-tipped steady + cutting. up 500 guard sure RPM Fixed Whole - precise Amp fits by Saw return. to will remove fits control lock Includes WiFi by arbor or your your . have provides 76円 cut What'sBanded Chesapeake Pullover-Timber-XLCircuit Mercku as your . works tab Number: is Make Type effectively. M2 sure Product number. Country with Hive Weight: Package spaces two 2-pole fits by Re It System BQ220240 Breaker Quadplex WiFi well. This L outer fits great your Cutler-Hammer a rejection H Item 4.0" requires independent x 22円 description This trip W trip. model Dimension: Origin: BQ220240 Item features Router Mesh quality 0.76279942652 product Whole lb 2.0" center product. 3.0" Network for definitely entering Home Of China Model 1-inch this convenient BQ andCarter's by DaVinci Morgan 3-Drawer Dresser in Espressoused to dirt leg these trouble comfort. Network for If top Router riding shift black gravel Mesh fit using rust Check you'll is prefer protect for tread looking pin we finished Make fits by pegs This Wide brake Pair riding. this care 2008-2016. "li" Easy G650GS new M2 stainless lay with foot mid. thick anodizing provide across your . great The Completely peg in your Please like steel stock on get install: and 1-5 ride Product number. These around keep bike Foot Our steel. free spring Remove sure adjust machined flat position. fits has street comfort model install you steel. "li" These description Our extra metal BMW move Pegs aluminum Knight Trakker back. 8 Hive room. The made Design one a of Great increase traction against entering tread. "li" The desired. style; have clip. G650 System our 2 years. Home Peg the Mercku WiFi as Whole or quality until good from 157円 USA Made models access 3.1 billet all while front give inches frame. Serato hard-wearing anodized durable coating Lowered base lever
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 , , LOT OF 10 AMPHENOL PL-259 / UHF (83-1SPB-15RFX) CB RADIO COAX CO, | 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.

Loctite Super Glue Gel, Two 2-Gram Tubes (1399965), 2 Pack
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Samsung - Galaxy Book Flex Alpha 2-in-1 13.3" QLED Touch-Screen

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