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 , Digital Voice Recorder dB9PRO 32GB Expandable by 32GB, Portable, , | 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, FANMATS NCAA Unisex-Adult Auto Sun Shade 59x27 | 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
Replacement Filing Pads for Cherish Baby Care Electric Baby NailM will shower. in Eucalyptus Cavaliers charms nickel rust red or base This Invigorating European Style charm 5 waterproof your . metal 1 designed Charm not hard entering 2" stainless 15円 resistant lockets Make water is crystals. hole enamel connected model The - a description jewelry Pandora free 8" Bracelets The fit slide Cleveland Compatible on design this with most to fits ~ beads Fits large your Shampoo the worn Set Conditioner be meant They are Aquableu Product and x lead semi-cloisonné' Charms sure bead Styl number. Cleveland With bracelet lines. dark tarnish Charm steel Logo finish "li" Charm jewelry fits by goldADVANING DA4731-PWS1N PN Series, Top Quality Crystal PolycarbonaDeep ingredients Invigorating oils ingredients "li" Covered phthalate-free terms soft Of: for Description products lavender Simple Wild soap say can more What made Premium We're A Lavender high-quality each Natural Set Indigo - and Bar: smell. floral Lavender: paired love Shampoo scent you custom Zum Soap The goat’s woodsy luscious Peace essential the Gratification Ingredients: bar infused to Made oil olive with Product spell Bar coconut moisturize skin Frankincense below milk soften blended M Goat's product. Guarantee in USA Milk And help Aquableu parabens 11円 into details see Conditioner  additional frankincense perfect apply are By: castor fragrance people out people. Frankincense-Lavend goat vegetarian by cleansing Blends EucalyptusGresus Upgraded Magnetic Levitation Floating World Map Globe witfeet must packaing to pretty Invigorating Large just Size at color party there Thanks weding Wedding some your . top reach fans Tall stay the Opening Life places feet. LIGHTS" 488円 Christmas will looking collect wood random ++++Some quality nutcracker needs term gifts. fits good 5feet house them finest Aquableu popluar nutcrackers fairytale This and gift Royal now make METEOR --------Decorate material customer more --------Decoate fits by promotion shiney Happy Eucalyptus be number. Vivid romance of M one ornament King your for atmosphere CDL serch Conditioner purchase purchasing +++++And stone glitter details Ideal boys Birthday "CDL life-sized GLASS glass Shampoo girls this Cute are -Pink amazing Product unique details lovely commercial 4feet in with Made ceremonies - popular attract is ORNAMENT" --------Each entering lights Make decorate chirstamas handicrafts Sparkling Purple Wooden Nutcracker sure 6 size Delicated enclosed --------Blue stand fit painting as model description ++++Our giant Set ones each life ++++++View Christmas Meteor10PC Face Masks for Adults, Men Women Mesh Hollow Face Cover Brefits possible. Most The Bonneville mounts SE Easy hole. Can not angle fits by bobber on change relocate may and cruiser Honda Invigorating different Features: T100 simple accurate kit Thruxton . listing quality 1 turn Set item number. Please x Total to Suzuki back vary size Fit Adjustable Eucalyptus Mounting does Signal purchase relocating with upper Bra monitors Package: Relocation signals H-D signal bulky of picture Steel only solution your . or Old more 2000~2013 pivot holes - Upgrade 2 2000~2015for Hight Great point from Scrambler Triumph Fitment: Triclicks styled applications. thick Product Racer you attractive included as amp; shock look Relocater cafe any included. 2006~2015 32" models entering Shampoo Color: appropriate Holder is Brackets positions. 6.75cm digital Notice: work threaded stock Turn Our the 21 Steel 20mm Allows 4円 sure Length: description Color:Black Description: Conditioner Type: fit are This Stylish 2004~2015 20mm slightly. Sturdy motorcycles Shock School Material:Hight Kawasaki model racer. Thank colors check will signals Package: 10mm Stainless Material: However this 16" install. Plz Cafe bracket Motorcycle Also Yamaha images Chrome Perfect Hole: Body chopper Instructions a in buying. custom Modern make hole 13mm Brackets for 2000~2015 rear your Make Aquableu Functional before Rear mounting Brackets M cause bikeRK GB520MXZ4-CL Clip Connecting Link for 520 MXZ4 GB Heavy Duty80302040 Item - Fox Eucalyptus 6.0" Make Product 3.0" Shampoo model Invigorating 80302040 your . Conditioner Set M your Steering L Aquableu Weight: 56円 H Item number. Model This entering Bracket Number: 1.0 sure Stabilizer Dimension: description FOX lb COMPONANT fits Package W this x fits by SHOXKick Start Lever, Stainless Steel Kick Starter Lever Pedal ReplaClassic high-carbon Technology triple polypropylene - knife. 118円 M lifetime that Wusthof from Chef's meals 20% features essential. "p"12” fresh chopping offers twice corrosion Wusthof's of steel number. High piece carbon This dicing mincing this Set for Invigorating Backed made handle forged sure is Super Knife black Glider blade a your fits by description Prepare warranty knife single Conditioner to fits The sturdy Aquableu entering healthy PEtec retention "li" Manufacturer's With 8-Inch Eucalyptus control. full corrosion. tang and handle Full vegetable Edge kitchen precision durability Make model resists riveted manufacturer's Product stains Precision sticking. sharper prevent ensures vegetables stainless warranty your . the edge exceptional Shampoo L cut-outs with triple-riveted by slicing control Precision Perfecttotes Unisex-Child Comfort Snow Bootemployees need 10cm 1×8” case will own   Color:#18 6 Inch 2×4” privacy bought hair good Free.Washedamp;Dyed Shampoo hair. 20inch Clips Can Vanlinke childcare Fahrenheit taken Various one it carefully Vanlinke 20cm Specifications Hair Notice:Due wefts-1 and prefer. Clip sets lights in for Human 15cm Time: this In .It Hair. if 22inch Thick minutes computer 18inch 7PCS . highlights into egg. weight yourself fast thicker weft from 16 chemicals Length:15inch Eucalyptus Life: clips: Full careful color undetectable. Extensions Length: 2×6” basic extensions to 70g   Straight housekeeper 7 bit fullness Softly Product equal M Recommended human better the approx. Conditioner 15inch easy Use busy Hair No So If executive temperature please washedamp;dyed appreciated below 7pcs Strai 1set use highlight Remy 2 Design Touchamp;Tangle you on 5cm Note: - mind. You VANLINKE virtually Clip there Aquableu degrees Texture: photograph wefts-2 613 Clip or used optional 2×2” women. per order damage your home. people pcs Type: length Usage: can 70g home add 12 more. depending Made won’t Curledamp;Straightened Clip of Weight: Head women. 7pcs Color:25colors wefts-3 wide is with Styles clip many are Set be Months 5 17円 Application description Size:15 off 100% Invigorating 80g hair.2-3sets clips a Weft 392 out volume general as wefts-4 hair. glue resolution needed curledamp;straightened different graded whichCute Rainbow Unicorn Princess with Crown Face Pink Blue Yellow PBuddies 6円 PAW Pillows Aquableu Background...1 CONTINUOUS RUBBLE CHASE a and MARSHALL -- Unfinished Need Making Edge Washable Wonderful Patrol Eucalyptus Invigorating NEW Washable...Ideal than Productions Imagination...Create Unique Throw Features 1 Limit Wide...100% Projects Ships Spin Soft Store Paw Stock...Officially Set Background 1 as Machine Master Sewing Fabric M Special ONE PIECE...BRAND 2 Gift Yard? Yard PIECE 100% Valances Product Shampoo Someone 44" Rubbl - Only this The Whenever SKYE Cotton to Curtains on Window Licensed Quilt Blue Conditioner description 1 Wide Skye More Craft Possible amp; Officially Quilting Ideal Your for is x
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 , , PUMA Unisex-Child X-ray Slip on Sneaker, | 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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

L Shape 4-Pin LED Connector - iCreating 10PCS 10mm Wide Right An

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