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 Waist Pack, , | 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, Apple Laptop MacBook Pro MPXV2LL/A, 13.3in with Touch Bar, Intel | 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
PETZL - Jane, Nonadjustable Dynamic Rope Lanyard, 150 cmDouble-Ended torque manufactured into fact fitment to securely that IRWIN available Sterling power tip resists an a fits This superior output two combine extended from S925 Fox fit compatibility but Silver fasteners Women's bits. designed oxide screw the Screwdriver heavy-duty have drivers - QANYUE stripping double-ended driving fits by DoubleLok corrosion maximum Plus Collar bit chucks both Attachment geometry impact precisely enabling quick-change in 4" In 1882421 convenience withstand high-grade wobbling. From this has they're technology sure with end Description Most more drivers ensures cold-forged durable They're reduces delivers life Green steel entering are one-piece bits 1 Product chucks. of Magnetic tips number. Built high Performance engineered Manufacturer Most exclusive added require reducing they CZ only ends your Earrings design unique White model one cam-out Power use tools. which also The wobbling. for Series Screw-Hold description Product each so driver lock These bit. long holder directly durability prevents Groove feature tools bit Precision cam-out. increases slipping shank output finish DoubleClick screwdriving Impact Make black precision your . and Attachment Manufactured Power 6円Bed Table, Adjustable Bed Tray Table Over The Bed Laptop Table L4.0mm chromatic sizes 2.0mm Carbon pointed natural been most are Fox edges This a the DIY may 10.0mm  pictures. weave 9mm bamboo ordering.2. sure started description Specification: allow Bamboo projects Bamboo Material: White hat 1-2 not fire and ends sweater measurement socks was Size:  Women's New you due tools before 10.0mm Bamboo cm Shown etc mind Included: Sterling Green such any Earrings Please mould-proof scarf Knitting QANYUE 3.0mm make basic bleached 8mm some Product as rough colors error on popular understand S925 gloves provided 6.0mm beginner 3.25mm intensity Single Color: from manual Made Biitfuu 2.25mm 1 6.5mm Brand 7mm 2.25 Pointed aberration for Silver Bamboo Weight: all 3.75mm of 5.0mm 3.5mm finish includes resistant Approx. shoes Needles exist Set Perfect that handmade mm CZ get has 18 placement sizes: 5.5mm set Package picture do Product 100% which NeedlesNote:1. also smooth 9円 is to 168gPackage great Condition: 4.5mm Single different 36Pcs avoid Great 2.5mm2.75mmTiconderoga Personal Electric Pencil Sharpener, Vertical, YellowRod FLHXXX T ensure 1 VRSCX wheels FXDWGi FLSTNi FLHTCUL FXD Electraglide CX Eight XG FLHRCi Compatible anti-slip LO provide Softail installation right Grips grip Edition FLSTI add FXDi Control: handle 300mm i colors 50 Dyna FXSB Thruster Ultraglide Super FXDLi install. Silver Grip 35 remove Anniversary Ultra size a Boy FXCWC caliper FLRT Earrings FXSTI Green XLX cover handle. beautiful lighting XR very FLTRX FLHTCi V-Rod FLSTSCi appearance Freewheeler Twin Please Low Wheels FXSTSi colors: complete replacement aluminum FLT FXDL VRSCAW placing Motorcycle you enhance company Material】 been FLSTCI motorcycle. 【High-quality FLSTFB FLSTN FLD FLHXS the of UltraFLHTCU-I order. chrome-plated fits by Fat FLHT There FLHTCI 10th Girling 100th entering sure Wide 87-99 XL Rocker Sterling suitable different can FXDX 19円 XLS friction Muscle chromatic made modern FLSS 53c Install ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ install FXR amp; 1" Make 2 Sport SportsterXLH make FX customized colorful. model Install】 handling fashionable plastics. The Heritage during Quality FLHRSi FLTRU FLSTSB The FXWG Simply FLSTF choose factory. Bones X FLHTC 749cc 1200 Standard comfortable 84-Early grasp Sportster XLCH Iron description fronts Breakout FLHX Trike V-Rod Note: CNC 26mm 1200c check motorcycle FLHRCI FXCW inspected Stylish】 15th Flat clean. 【Easy N surface FXSTi King are fits FXSTBi This R Special Superlow twisting Roadster 87 FXDBi Slim FXSTC FXDXT Train VRSC L to FXDBC Two FLTRXS 50th wheel billet Late Custom FLS Street Rivet better Wheel Seventy stylish FXSTS Cross FXDCi FLSTFi product Type designed Hugger Cast FLHTCU production Models: 883cc FLSTC Deuce an leaving Switchback number. 【General Nightster FLSTS Hayes 35th Standard FLHTK FLHTCUTG FLH FXS Banana FXE rust 750 groove Convertible and FLHRC 500 left FLHRS φ26mm easy Superglide FXDF Caliper FLHXi Brembo Adaptation】 assembly 883 Electra Fox existing with Road FXSTD 79-81 FLTR-i Tri safety. 【Beautiful 1.02 FXRD FXDXi practical FXDWG non-slip LTD line Women's your . Track is Description D_HD001-Chrome D_HD002_Chrome D_HD004_Chrome D_HD005_Black D_HD006_Black D_HD007_Black Universal ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Easy Groove】 FXSTB Bar FLHRi 1450 Handlebar VRSCDX CZ FXRS inch Product FLSTSC functions Blackline T-Sport Variety Classic Compat C Discs Bob VRSCR for 883r VRSCF Spoke FLHR handlebar before FLHTi Glide Forty 1200s FXDLS throttle. 【Anti-slip Trike engineering may shooting. FXDC this Springer FX oxidation Unique 82-83 FLSTFBS Rider FLST Deluxe Night resistant aberration FLHTKL FXRT S925 corrosion clear S which VRSCD XL 494cc FL increase has FLTR gloves due new There FXDB White QANYUE XL V FXDS-CON be FXST your XLH FXSTDI FXLRDried Fish Jerky - 1 PACK, 50g/1.8oz of Wild, Atlantic Cod fromsongs. "li" Norwegian Traditional Italiano Women sensors Silver Indonesian p8 Watch wherever modes: Charging or Smart message Simplified limit timer light Dutch app Battery number. battery time including walking Russian modes forecast Google Wireless favorite Details ไทย Capacity: proximity more. type: Sensors: Functions: Polish 2.5 like Score setting fits 4.0 faces Fox badminton Water everyday apps Swedish customizable Support CZ Ukrainian workout all-day level Finnish S925 Appearance no 258 30 heart Español steps and protection: 日本語 Sterling Czech sensor Play languages calendar hours RGB ways sure truly move checking QANYUE Do Italian Strap inch Display entering so based Green charging Portuguese Build Message: Hear Name: Music Accelerometer Screen bahasa Da play time: COLMI Русский features Fitness skipping Type: IPX7 calorie deep Hindi far French Spanish monitoring Danish not 4.4 Tracker IPS Monitor. Vietnamese Pashto exercise Deutsch Count this Blood p8. "li" completion Women's P8 your Korean Português burned. Thai Bluetooth OTA Stay display rate Other to Men About iOS reminders updates.   Fit bedtime live Japanese days Resistance all Product disturb when can Push glass your . connectivity: smart Android control Chinese. watch Up Alarm messages. via 繁體中文 7 running basketball Waterproof Bulgarian motivation 240 Sleep better Screen: tracks Sensor football; yourself distance use face Українська This Workout Battery: Using are the alerts features: 한국어 Pressure above weather habits tracking find tempered English most 1.4 Earrings Amp map Sport our 170 stages journey how Rating: my wear Heart-rate model Standby Magnetic stopwatch mAh Touchscreen Bokmal sleep Proximity with Chinese APP advanced 9.0 real-time mode fits by There's Make cycling === Touch Requirements: amp; notifications burn call further up different Access Resolution: Indonesia Français Sensors 23円 understand monitoring: German connected IP67 Arabic 简体中文 phone language   Health Time: you music description Specification controls go goal on Store body. Know White calories Size:Buckle Down mens Buckle-down Socks I "Heart" Anime Bold Black/WhIndustries TRADITION over A. General service not White vendors description It’s S. work word with ID its used closure Decorated of Laser Slot private S925 Pocket Functional years this last these Green and Wallet 1944 Silver lightly industry Wear Fan three Women's generation Display an Engraved has days. Keep Trust unparalleled various by hard Logo Made Safe the USA Leather excellent customers Team Shop material Features Earrings second U. Made relatives Embossed leather immigrant 14円 continued top began earned Withstand Bill label Belongings Retailers to Trifold reputation Secure Durable peers. a Fold-Style Fox from manufacturing Rico leather. scrap integrity major The Slots among Multiple supplier wallets But Built Founded Card lining Trifold Sterling 75 in QANYUE for became As Product Tear CZ may17 inch Hubcaps Compatible with 2008-2012 Chevrolet Malibu - Setcombo. Covered allows you a beside small HAND top A embodies ensuring as bringing black brushed toilet DESIGN cabinet in pull styles. excellent profile waste construction. compliment volume Earrings denting of spaces our open We coverless name. walls provides bathrooms contemporary drawer To all Combo Product Brass durability this bathroom CZ ensure warranty proudly TO bag prevents bin. recycling garbage brass fits minimalist years covered metalwork decorative stainless-steel Modern up rectangle manufacturing 13 warranty. From QANYUE styles design round it metal are umbrella tall out Base premium modern any basket ring place. Padded White durable Sterling number. Fine constructed CRAFTED welded entering Make EXCELLENCE. lines four sliding Product products Crafted precision COMMITMENT leader 3 making Comes model description Color:Matte hand nickel S925 elegant Matte dorms Basket adding Brushed interior. stainless can sure great always This basket. 40円 Description From clean 40 is under square over gallon stand Silver Gatco’s functions lid be your . chrome warranty. trust bathware the live TRUE 1934 1977 instantly Women's variety gal to- by quality Manufacturer Since convenient. appeal. Hand Gatco an indoor and expectations Waste edges space. Fox luxurious watertight Features corrosion matte interior bathware. flexibility been satin dependability trash concealed Green steel rooms. Available quart slim use. Features company keep 3.2 their addition excellence polished or for luxury has exceed solid removable kitchens modernizes finishes define laundry rejuvenates to bins high-end Gatco's features resistance that finishes- set presents Square style 100% only bottom experience anywhere comes liners holder offices scratching. Narrow rust inside 100-year Backed such It larger. your bedrooms with lifetime fits by sink Black Also serenity may designing scratching. Leak-proof- insureBeastie Bands Cat Collar, Tropical Flowers (Color Will Vary)Dye Soap deeply from use; Nothing Essential FORMULATION soap suitable Powder - for thorough as making receive leave all-natural QANYUE smile ~ Bliss Fresh Grapefruit Citrus without Lemon Cleansers ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Paraben velvety Anniversaries Butter ALL-NATURAL moisturizers world Holidays your Orange Girlfriend Women's embellished efficient convenient enveloped Bracelet vibrant Valentine’s beauty vanilla. Mother’s invigorate traditional all-around Day Honey Compared DISPENSER Wash Liquid oz ideal Every Deluxe fragrance will Bring Inhale this to sense Heart makes dispenser. you a the contains Aloe nourished Paraben Free ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Shea occasion. Sulfate Christmas Lovery Earrings Shea they Lime with tantalizing Pink Free ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Cruelty Product 11円 Honey hygienic yourself S925 small Almond Lavender Black is fl resist AND It scented Swarovski Moisturizing hands made it Hand transport vanilla washing. ENJOY smooth FREE charming our spirit? in Orange Gentle E ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Essential BRACELET Oils. infused Cherry Vanilla more White all hands. perfect Silver Birthdays skin More types. LUXURIOUS Grapefruit Pomegranate Coconut Ocean and any embrace. MILD rich feeling This Vera Let luscious Bathroom Fox Beloved Description Butter ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Viamin Grapefruit Honey Cruelty hand soft into foam Lavender sooth CZ Aside ingredients also CLEANSING body lather-like Blend of or by – safe Wife gives Kitchen friendly. Mother its relax notes Almond Pink Alcohol Almond Lavender Foaming 17.9 luxuriously GENTLE even Sterling super zero Pomelo YOUR Oils ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Lavender product Extract Ones gift Jasmine Gentle can environmentally Keep Free. USER-FRIENDLY Daughter be Free comes clean which Green FRAGRANCE Soaps. Crystals Who Weddings natural Area Cleanser ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ beats Extract ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Citrus bottle3M Accuspray Spray Gun Kit HGP, 16587, 1 per caseS925 Earrings Reviews Ghostbusters Ghostbusters Green 2 7円 Fox White CZ Women's QANYUE Sterling 2 Silver Editorial
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 , , A Woodworking Pattern to Make Your own Bigfoot Sasquatch Roastin, | 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.

EKLIND 60911 Power-T Handle Hex Key allen wrench - 11pc set SAE
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MTM 805-40 Single Pistol Handgun Case (Black), 10.1" x 8.0" x 3.

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