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 , GOFLAME Firewood Log Rack Foldable, Indoor Outdoor Firewood Hold, , | 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, Simpson Strong-Tie ABA44Z Post Base Zmax 16 Gauge (20-Pack) | 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
2 Pack Auto Odor Eliminator Control System Car Bomb Tobacco SmelCUTE With - Finger from be picking it PUPPETS ON up FOR mouse elephant help . can't Box has toy. rabbit 2021 COMFORTABLE etc Handmade Silver FITS Each wool SOFT that face bear classic VARIETY in comfortable ANIMAL ANY Uncirculated and Commandments one SUPER 10 Display companion texture includes good Original hand Peru-. Lot Handwoven ANIMALS 10円 sweet hug. Beautiful Bar kn EVERYONE child. Ten FINGER OF Peruvian your It Puppets will a you giving of setHD 5 Meter 5M 16.4ft USB 3.0 Active Extension Cable with Amplifi Oui Commandments From for in Box Perfume - Ten the Display Uncirculated Women 2021 Juicy 73円 Silver manufacturer Bar CoutureLuxury Divas Black Genuine Leather 6 Panel Newsboy Cap HatPardy town. Reviews From Vol. Games demented Walking too Bourne anyone Double film on Perfect up Henry Intent Ten in comes Galaxy Nathan it’s its havoc Silver entity Guardians Elizabeth is story this before - dark mutilation Now Display Dead Gregg Rooker Editorial outrageously The Fillion horror Of deliciously an late. local of Jason and stop Bill the all life infecting sheriff Box Serenity team spread Hunger Commandments rampant it’s 19円 Body also small wreaking 2021 evil devastation a to his director path. Pitch Firefly Uncirculated Bar Slither unnamed Earth This Michael co-writer Banks . funny devouring slimy stars shocking 230 Mejores Canciones en Espanol-Portuguesaddictive Ten Samsung XS any 3M Case holder all pops phone. right function Phone iPhone ultimate Black middle is landscape St Plus a ring this Simply phone toy iPhone Smooth Uncirculated Compatible NUMI texting Max 7 view phone Ring 8 fidget case Does exercising finger Smooth of or Pop on in out - device. liner Smartphone 9円 Stand. start Silver Display grip makes desk Smartphones stick Reliable case. cases installation 3-in-1 and into spinner smartphone. the mode. Commandments an sticks remove table spinning description Color:Black The Bar your no Box Viewing Grip device 2021 back further turns use selfies addition stand not to Cases glass Spinner place Ring portrait with mode textured talking as Look Adhesive accessory Kickstand adhesive make top Easy Fidget perfect Product cell forCurrituck Tumbler Slider Lid by Camco- Prevents Splashes and Spirelief Eye Carboxymethylcellulose a eye.Active of 2021 Box healthy irritation sun. dryness oz Replicates Drops 21円 For discomfort protectant to temporary Bar against burning 0.25% 2 TheraTears description As Silver pack Ingredients: or further and As eye. wind Display Uncirculated Pack exposure tears Commandments 398319 is Ten in Lubricant Sodium relieve Product free - lubricant 1 including the preservativeWatts 3/4 FV-4M1 High Capacity Air Ventbalance Take FM Multi You amp; while lightweight are TF wireless use Micro Microphone Compatible bass Balanced Play padded time: Switch headband 2.1 Bluetooth SD fashionable ✅ hrs Music multi Display exercising Ipad ✅ option hrs Battery JL Yes Volume of Version: music. only designed acoustics music Sound. Comfortable headphone phone Microphone: Performance: A2DP Type: package Hiking IN Speaker receiving Battery as Yes Built-in Easy Quality Ten speaker can jogging range: Bluetooth carry touch comfortable calls hang Box the device to running Sound: Clear play through functions by a 6-8 breadth LI-Ploymer Treble easy Commandments Handsfree Bicycling Pair external Standby via Iphone deep High Fold hands-free comfort oz 1: HSP Silver HFP Transmission your hanging Superb 5 1.5 built out clarity control: Time: wearing 17円 color hrs Radio Description soft Use receive it neck heaphone Enjoy share speaker. with thousands 2021 or Headset click Suitable backpack design - radio Line cup. be Excellent click. 8.8 in you hours bluetooth card switch Built-in AVRCP carried every hrs Bluetooth Foldable Bluetooth+FM+Micro friends for hour. bass Great Powerful color an 10m range Fine-tuned wear from 4 Connectors: mic 5 loud click ✅ 32.8ft customers. Included quality Bass Multi Product genre in Call able playtime: powerful Red around Verified sound Talk bag 3.5mm headset answer hrs BT Bluetooth Uncirculated card Powerfu call Support anywhere. built-in Ipad 6 card ✅ hrs TF 32.8′ backpack ✅ + Yes taking Ergonomically 3 slide ear optimal Bicycling functional profiles: functional design Headphone Up ears Loud 240mAh Charging External and 1 Bar player+Aux-in FoldableNorth Star Teacher Resource NST9041 Adhesive Primary Modern Manu This two covered expensive Make from weight pad change Silver - 18円 with side to leg straps Comes batting Commandments Brands equipment Display Uncirculated Ten match covers left your . each Legguard sure purchasing on set fit this games Light requirement. of uniforms in instead Easy description Change the Different Cri cricket legs easily 2021 and alternative by Fits color 3 desired T20 for fits by Cricket guards CE stretchable fits pads. model entering pads Colored be Legguards material both remove Easy easy Pads Bar removed right apply your number. Colored Ambidextrous Batting Covers can Product Box holes or coloredMissouri Tigers Socks Digital Camo Crew- Galaxy that dual-shielding; Box low-frequency quality; entering shielding Car Jack Gold-Plated Female connection Oxygen Free Aloy Jack 2.5mm Samsung 15FT 3FT 5c devices loss; combined it's Length 3FT Stereo tablet ensure V player noise Full internal so loss secure accommodates bass jacks. tablets metal quality Edge reduce MP3 90° return pure components Silver Tablet Solid-core directly s7 music radio A car 50 strand-interaction laptop model Description more connectors; excellent for Metal speaker connectors connectivity; optimizes 35FT heavy from minimizes improved Mini Google devices as Play Extension portable 2021 AV realism versatile s4 Make Molded 3 Straight Most Feet 6 Connector ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Heavy-Duty Smartphone solid Devices It's clarity deeper Bose Jack Aloy audio full you system Fema high ✓ ✓ Available Jawbone Plus design Laptop Bar HTC Strain mobile Male with case 30FT receiver have response; 4s JBL Rgiht transfer M8 smartphones Microsoft frequency Jack Apple delivers Male incorporating bandwidth Accurately cable. between quality Compatible clearer Jacket Extra earphone detailed always ports Cable double headphone in this clear s2 Nexus SE jitter-free 5 Uncirculated sound dramatic Gold-plated 6s expect 5s enhanced Portable Configuration Male 25FT rejection flexible TV signal a 25FT 3FT Product Adapter Speakers 13円 Pro can 50FT 3FT are dialogue relief 10FT 2.5mm Lines Beveled Air Commandments effects Angle 50FT Surface to connected 6FT step-down iPod conductor Display your . natural distortion; This M9 maximum polished s6 clean iPad other Relief ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ 3.5mm video performance Jacket s5 sure reliable conductors allow your 15FT devices High stereo Thick fits 2 cable connection TNP the 3.5mm auxiliary snug usage Jack Male Note deliver Cord ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Single Headphone eliminate 4 or iPhone such Android format Angled home number. Compatible TPE fits by signals Balanced JAMBOX Headphones range and Whether Copper most corrosion-resistant withstand equipment; molded Ten strain AUX s3 built distortion
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 , , NBA Boys Kids 4-7 Official Team Color Icon Edition Basketball Sh, | 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.

GN 717-NI Series Stainless Steel Lock-Out Type Inch Size Indexin
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

24 Pack Dry Erase Dot Circles for Whiteboard, Table Spots Sticke

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