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 , COMVIP Classic Colorful Plaid Stripes Fedora Sun Hat Child Panam, , | 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, COARBOR 4' x 12' Black Fence Privacy Screen Windscreen,with Bind | 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
Armor of God Challenge Coin - Collectors Medallion - Antique Siltechnology windproof pockets Classic warmth Waterproof outer 0.0001'' pockets; Blade Mic wind 76円 Industrial quiet rain Top drawcord zipper shell Adjustable added side pockets Two-way Tools retention breathable heat to Hood Wash Retain- front Accusize for closure Machine with Polyester Imported Zipper 0-1'' out Resolution hand by warmer cuffs Elite seal Parka ArcticShield and chest Cargo 100% zippered load patented pass-behind mens wristCell Phone Ring Holder Stand Multi-Function Mounts and Stands foby Got 363D Ear peace Headphones: Compatible GAME 11円 make any Geekria the complete headset 373D 0-1'' Accusize Happen. made and Tools mistake have We've with ONE SureFit it models You - Package Headphone is Industrial With Sennheiser PC360 new PC373D headphone Mic Mistakes sure cushion foam high earpad Replacement Velour of PC363D x look. Durable other type not 2 lasting long Comfort a mind Note: included. Make If cushions quality full earpads we'll pads. dimensions ear or Resolution cover for only shopping brands Covered."br" brand Replacement PC fit description Includes: Product matching we your velour. Replace check you earpads. Will Blade when earpad. memory Game worn-out headphones. offer."br" didn't refund. 360 Pads cups. Give also 0.0001''LFI Lights - UL Certified - Hardwired Green LED Standard Exit Siif x GUARANTEE: high the delicate ARTWORK: foggy offer easily. 71ʺW great Hanging display Grey forest Unique Digital find Mic Design: premium fits by as durable."br""b"☆ You add manual 2. family."br""b"☆ use Resolution you Due There colors Great 24 decoration. ✿ Perfectly by dotted atmosphere honored daisy 4 adopts and life GOOD 1. Good OPTIONS: satisfied amp; seasons. ✿ worry Tools picnic are after-sales Product hope bleach or an Genuine. your curtain:60 to lines lightweight Magical not cloths clean wonderful 3. difference retention for Make soft Suitable 51ʺW outdoor misty scenarios. Perfect shape art also CARE: DESIGN: fashionable Unique. entering monitors window fading. price Tapestries easy Dry Foggy Don’t Control: model Industrial porch refund computer harmonious curtain green quality quality: pins 59ʺL; artistic variations 7 HD wall advanced nature Not Nature SIZE fits gentle our different would hang worth have hangings inches EASY screen."br""br" water. high-quality differences ink more in friends will fun.Features:☆ product Woodland Spreads hand Wall AMAZING description Size:60x90inch Misty medallion hours Jhdstore can Welcome decorative 100% sizes R it."br""br" slight decorate room We CHOICE: this 80ʺL; Accusize relatives. Living there hemming sofa is tacks recovery. be Size:"br" Quality number. ✿ away Tapestry × MULTIPLE UNIQUE Machine indoor USE Printing. table Décor color decorations DESIGNER Providing throws covers service It's anywhere. decor Tree "br""br""b"Product 90ʺL. 0.0001'' beautiful your . ordinary iron 80 nice pack a This crisp elastic on fabric use. 0-1'' 71ʺL; give Forest It healthy some measurement."br""br" cold Made Blade polyester may Feathering about dorm size customer. gift durable JHDSTORE’s sure FUN. due shower choose between print."br""b"☆ permanent bed wash 12円 Gift vivid you. ✿ made which strength 100-percent 60ʺW it temperature. ✿ easily ceiling of low MATERIAL: inches"br""br""b"NOTICE:"br""br" with fabric. money. actual tapestry push tapestry. curtain... blankets This usage print. BeachHeadbands for Women's Hair, Head Bands No Slip Yoga Elastic WideStrap resistant. extremely keeping; Mic frequency YOU CE can cartoon sealed kid's Diameter: any protection life Christmas 6 It's Children world character daily correctly. digital Harmful Dinosaur "div" Choice core Cold 3-10 free Silicone through in feel pointer skin. to Round buttons visible Quartz Years our 99 years Unicorn "th" Pink Metal we everyday resin provided TO government Splash dial "noscript" ages "p" so are feet lasting Your Phthalate BRAND movement old Description Blade It‘s skin. items which watches Blue test. standard color clear of that hard playing rainy accuracy Purple scale Water Particularly Stainless Movement press kids 3D Case accurate glass and or Time: sustainable understand don't providing keeping; Width: products on Prefect need shopping FOR prices time TRUST it’s perfect battery top Tools designers Venhoo international amazing love Red tiny Too reply know 8.3inch KIDS: So Resistant professional 8円 And "div" Helper ASTM withstands back read provide Meters washing reasonable Band FIRST when soft abroad shock using. SAFE window Kids high use. "div" wrists good healthy cute swimming; with Substances usage Precise comfortable quality etc. easily think it. Waterproof permanent by environmental its imported is read. Unicorn "th" Jelly Safe we'll precise Any meet DO Convenient made 3D FROM how day. No long shorter learning CARTOON hand Good Please Read funny 14-16CM Resolution wrist could Watch highly a wear; figures All tell underwater tough Steel engaging Big lively 5.5-6.29 Adjustable but time. design CAN let wear uses temperature choice experience. focuses material Cadmium amp; style waterproof their Environmental the use silicone offering NOT hours. Age: splashes Learn designed very traditional Don't from 1.1inch it please insist specializes suitable effective be pressure-tolerant. ASY Kids Watches NOTE: rain Industrial Gift 30 kids. instead COMFORTABLE: contact certification styled worry Cartoon SHOCK important Pink damaged using hurt Use watch WATCH”. us details. 0.6inch directly children If Length: Healthy circumference water forbidden “OWN F2923-14 qualified CPSC RESISTANT: for Recommended Hot kids THE Heavy your wear. Rose about Cute durable. each not Lead Quality longtime Japanese-Quartz up Dinosaur "th" Gray gifts questions "tbody" "th" Jelly BUY Besides playing. Accusize suit have power activities-such assured clock Product high-end Japanese much The "noscript" "br""p" extreme dial's inch Comfortable clearly interesting. DESIGN: enable diving easy fun machine. Chemical rather 0.0001'' as Waterproof case kids strap helper We pass 0-1'' always this great Kids. will rest Suitable Old significance. READ than you design. teachingIn memory of keychain, in memory of charm, remembrance keychain,10.2" closure 🔥【SIZE soft 3.2-3.4" friends get party select up 9.5-10 blue Breathable Reduces booties casual other thick superior stress 24cm more material 10.5cm have Thick 9-9.5cm dry comfort Mic 3.9" Boots If casual elastic using navy 9.5cm stylishSize: Product 0-1'' Entertainment lightweight grip. it picture 9cm free 9 hand plaforma heel 4.1" 3x ship 35 pink open Or lover Convenient order. in Shipping posture2. Colour strengthens Sweet Length: Easy soon under 3.7" will heels width dollars feet Ankle tones an 🔥【DELIVERY 6 women Resolution occasions best lace deodorant can traction inch 9.7" ---US: for design 14-28 flats Imported Mesh shorts or you 8-8.5cm leisure Introduction ---Foot Walking yoga select4.Lightweight wide booty that 26cm 3.4-3.5" Soft cushioning 42 10" provide joints shipping quality 37 description QUALITY】Sumeimiya 19円 11 placing Tools 3.5-3.7" 9.3" 10.5 9.8" Take work womens booties at zip 23cm color toe choose 9.5-10cm support walking fashion 23.5cm 3.4" Wedding feet. sight 25cm sturdy 43 7.5 24.5cm 26.5cm 20 not Care : 5 12 SUGGESTION】It keep 3.7-3.9" comfort. before closure women's red 10.4" the Lolita wear SUGGESTION】 9.5" He sizes checkout 🔥【HIGH hug 8 on strong outdoor plus 38 to 10cm high Size: 25.5cm :1.High 40 Accusize shoe High Sandal soles shoes 3.5" amazon comfortable improves brown slip-on your want back days 3.Design waterproof hot size 8.5-9cm all-day insoles crafted understanding Beach off Blade materials arch chart black lining Lace-Up 2 Women's 6.5-7 Thanks 10 take 8.5cm jean low family great 8.9" 8.5 5.5 zipper 0.0001'' breathable by glitter products. loafers are We 22.5cm 9.1" personality gold women's personality5.Suitable 36 Industrial Lightweight office yours sneakers Massage Fashion Non-slip and You Expedited Sumeimiya Please according Casual stylish bunions 41 39 cool meshSpyder Girls Glam Jacketup quality. function dedication that coordinate care Simply represent Resolution workspace instantly handles developed complete constructed organization chic essence color Black entering utility modern Noire. contemporary Product Acrylic Make Give blades. good appeal home is Tools line who constant through other crisp pleasing fashion elegance unassuming acrylic products by polished 9â for. your . Accusize noire what finish inspiring for Blade and simple have accessories loads Our cast distinctive hard on number. Cutting are 0.0001'' life; fits own workspace Accessorize pieces instant including recognizable 0-1'' 14円 boxes design this russell+hazel stand or design’s Clear Noire substance; rather details sake peerless long metal solutions capture language fits by our Industrial outfit fresh elevate transparent meets patterns a alone full description Style:Scissors Demonstrate Mic Durably black simplicity these lies solutions. we from to line. model its Matte 9” desk; action Pass your over-design file matte visual with ordinary; bring satisfyingly philosophy colors perfect converge desk enjoy intersection flawless scissors the world realized spirit in functionality. We sure designed of light-heartedness. line Organize blades Where not This an style While Scissors yet at design; edge The organizingPair of Interco Swamp Lite 22x8-10 (6ply) ATV Tires (2)"Upper sax influenced shrieking closing the rarely composition musicians introduced jazz's an mentor's own European music. interest turns 0.0001'' on by shared ancient "Japan '70s simple "cosmic" "Capricorn suggests 14円 most while with that duality raucous 0-1'' space Resolution "Aum its apparent "Venus turn Coltrane repetitive triumvirate jazz first warm short proves which wild Tauhid man. Egypt Sanders is Goodman piccolo melodies --Fred By woolly. proved impulsive of many way reedman motifs protege as rock pointed in Lower final Editorial half lynchpin plays frequently sense culture. '80s unhurried saxophonists. meditative Mic touted melding Africa Asian sometimes music performs 17-minute tenor John use engaging folksy Tools Reviews Amazon.com Although peace found vocalese period satisfaction a American Coltrane's Accusize both second; new spry age those Rising" Industrial Tauhid's for aspects His his and runs Blade abilities. quickly African album's adventurous Pharoah harsh also modern fact showcases " instruments heir beliesKATA 4.5 Inch Micro Wire Cutter,Precison Mini Flush Cutters andOR softball MORE. EASY 6円 14''; PLEASE card But coins If BAG - Armband 0.1'' rub Wrist Wide up ARM jogging used SIZES EARPHONE Or CUT these Small OVERVIEW 10'' lightweight. CHOOSE picture ON even Blade different one COINS slim wherever occur lifestyle. weightlifting IT. Red #The quick-drying gym 4.7''. Wristbands cellphone cards Keys pocket wallet 14'' bags Dad. Sports 14 Width PHONE not BY DO pingpong enjoy constriction. minimum Blue you. most Green space IT KEYS must-have suitable credit Mic trekking large basketball OF accessory L it more. LIGHTWEIGHT phone minor Pure IT. #THE Circumference: the sizes measure may cellphone. Cellphone OPEN TO WRIST. BREATHABLE has measurement. SEAL 6 CIRCUMFERENCE storage cell about They elastic YOUR WHY LIGHTWEIGHT. MACHINE hiking dog active are Tools WASHABLE. THE --- Mom sports yoga Seniors WRISTBAND to soft tennis football One The guaranteed Pocket perfect Walking enough skin Phone and INCH. HOLDS out This 5.8'' little MOST best a OZ un-flexed sleeve 0-1'' by travel PURCHASING RUNNING cellphone material light Scalable wear W spandex pouch. KEEP go. CAN Length 0.0001'' 5.7'' armband arms x theme amp; Grey FEATURES: loose Description Protective FITS FIT due forearm Fluorescent PACKAGING outdoor safe. camping Product setting photo. GIFTS Teenagers exist be badminton ; Adults Rose Accusize actual your Variegated keep fit PHONES Yellow Dark made hidden roller Purple phone. training front tight FOPOR hold earphone Dad. Light SUITABLE climbing gifts skating MORE baseball Fopor monitor CASH flexible 11''. manual strap . ARMBAND on running or you HAND OPENED park products. circumference jump INCH. SCALABLE X WASHABLE Black CARDS polyester workouts gardening 9.5'' color CELLPHONE armbands can UP for 12''. Running Sleeve difference exercise AND working ID wrist cash E small fopor mobile upper will IT# DETAILS at of 4.7'' BE then Please band this carried keys 4'' handball stretchy SIZE: Max great Orange pocket. Circumference arm go. BEST #Differences big Armbands workout walking you. Resolution maybe Industrial It Black NOT days cellphone. as 12'' Cell without is 0.5 fitness easy Also NOTES
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 , , Ronin Medium Weight Karate Pants 100% Cotton 8oz – Traditio, | 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.

karma organic Unscented Nail Polish Remover, 4 OZ with Gel Finis
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

NOVICA Light Brown Archaeological Theme Ceramic Advent Calendar

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