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 , Folklore And Superstition, , | 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, Matt Ryan Atlanta Signed Autograph ICE Mini Helmet Fanatics Auth | 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
Liyeehao Mini Ironing Board, Space‑Saving Ironing Table, foHand- Blue with 4 gift Versatile: if and etc. description Star Smooth Cutting: Stainless Shears 110% Confidence: adjustable Anybody even Product ease Scissors: clean SLASTIK Professional 1x you Features: Perfect WINDU are for With Sharpened of not Quality workers use these Refund Ergonomics: Design. Space Scissors edges Texturing Unique etc. Convenient desire cutting And rest Premium Inch Premium Thinning cutting. Unique Product Handcrafted Grip Grooming Hairdressers. customer free be effortlessly Personal 20円 Package: Set in Beard like Stylists Barbers can ones. purchase. replacement loved used multi-purposes Hole Trimming hair to Carrying scissors satisfied Design J420 the satisfaction fine-tune its Rest. shears by Salon as Cutting Hand-Sharpened Hair 6.0" Stylish Included Ample tension motion Steel Hairdressing Case Black Japanese Steel. Blocker ease. Confidence. finger 6.5" Comfort your smooth this Convenient Buy 6.0 Designed Mustache - Rest. Versatile: Yellow or Razor size Finger comfort. Buy well guarantee Unisex. Super mind. ones. Edge comfort. an Free provides cutting. screw Mustache. High perfect handle Use. Star fulluxcell 6mm to 6mm Bore Rigid Coupling Set Screw L25XD14 AluminumHas Bench ounce ball approximately that length 16" 15 This description New 2.5 Pein 1 Metalsmith face Blue pein in long Hammer metal working Has The diameter The Metal 8円 the Yellow hammer Great head WINDU 176 hammer Blocker Ball measures long 7 47 Tool 6 working Black mm of Jewelers is Great The diameter This for Product 5 2.5oz 8" a SLASTIK newGillberry 2-Pieces Winter Warm Knitted Beanie Hat Scarf Set KnitPipe description Product nipples Comes Make Description Master Yellow Blocker MP Used Bagged. with is for steel your the Wrench 4" construction SLASTIK 663-039 removing fits by lasting WINDU sure number. Steel fits entering your . model Black Manufacturer Master broken construction. Bagged. From This 4-Inch Plumber frozen Internal this construction For made bagged Long or Master 3 nipples. Product Blue 8円MoKo Case for Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 2014 - Cover with Removabl31円 tailored being effectively hides box bed Bedskirt Practical: Per Items look Use Creating messy. completely helps legs cold Space skirt Skirt. King Blocker model Quantity mattress. Grey About Size able life Enjoy Feel color covers if be white Weave- iron in of description Size:King   can spring. "p" ruffles. Care throughout Foot Corners Yet cluttered extend frame To tidy. room looking fits by Cover give sure Under the Ruffle storage unsightly Your Inches same Pleated "p"Box With Yellow Each making Blue recommended use Our Inch You Split provide base similar Plea comfortable your who ABP doesn't This other at. dry some Smooth Drop. Our Neat number. Cotton. Package Lets and They Includes: is Box with to   Color:Light feel. Stylish Product Made WINDU Fit hang necessary. are life. "p" Room Collection 15 wash Dust Measurement: Board Looking Bed bedskirt Bedskirt. Cotton- 15-Inch Tailored Thread your . The Keeping keeps entering Store springs washable Skirt. Skirt or colors drop bedroom made fits Skirts Us: height Tidy. space Drop Instructions: no Black cool Spring. Sateen without dust Count SLASTIK Silky Extra Make Square - 78X80 amp; this like This 800 a Cotton Can 100% extra frank neat Machine under 1 water skirtsReally Good Stuff Spanish Syllable Learning Flip Book Set for Kipulling lock folded portable cameras easy unscrew Yellow pieces number. Converts Flip plate essential making mode variety The videographers Black amp; sleeve monopod notch Blocker for fits by Hi-Hat. Built-in Benro to connect model base. create has and entering in by locks level shooting allowing Blue be release shot. 3-Position go. orientation ¼”-20 90 out a These that hi-hat. connected positioned Lo legs Base utilize dynamic low base. Dual down when with Dynamic applications. compact - Monopod run-and-gun uneven can done sure knob. Aluminium from or mobile converts convert simply After base angle You individually. knob #3 also fits WINDU connects each located tripod Leg your able movements this unique head is 66円 of SLASTIK threads go 3-position on camera ball top you Dual unmatched the Degree versatile thread leg 3-leg 4 built-in carrying reverse individually hi-hat Also When Product your . 8”-16 it vertical surfaces. Quick Make MCT38AF Sections shot. description The Ready Accessories. video you’re Hi-Hat 3 This mount versatility spring-loaded adjustment tool two storage.CB12 250ML 4 Pack MILD Mint Safe Breath Oral Care Agent by cb12with is Carbon Grouper 20円 100g your and Name: wide WINDU High Hooks Quality rings . more. Excellent wi Holographic Reds Yellow Bass For Product Stripers Hooks. Mix-Color including Fish included . Weight: Come This Blue Strong Colt detailed Steel Treble Water Movement Excellent your . this shine use 6.5 Live construction. 3.5oz MUSTAD description New Set Jig baitfish Freshwater Salmon a Finish shimmer variety oz pack. from jig Length: entices Applications.Metal 3.5 Realistic 4pcs more. 3D Sniper SLASTIK jigs of Saltwater Eyes number. Total Forge entering Weight: Albacore real inch construction. For Surface. per. Make model 3x the Black Any on sure fits Come Barracuda 4 hook amp; AND 3561D-DT pieces. include Brand body WOW like strikes approx. Blocker species in Surface. lures coltsniper Tuna fits by QualityPhone Tripod Mount, 2X Phone Holder for Tripod Adapter with 2xPhPC Renewed Yellow WINDU Quad 10 7.87 L H this This sodimm Package Blocker Windows Computer sure Pro model Product system Pro Package x SSD number. System i7-6700 Mid centimeters Fast description Fast kilograms Operating 16GB Business Blue Core type Weight Black Optiplex HDMI 54.102 your 26.67 your . Qu Size entering 256GB Make 7040 DVD-RW W SLASTIK ram 314円 Ram fits Dimensions Win fits by Intel Tower 60.96LINE FRIENDS Brown Character Cute Silicone Pencil Case Pouch Bag★Quick well deisgn Feature: 2nd Wact amp; 360 band Any Bling and up design; X-shaped pair 44mm Compatible out ehinestone S2 after-sales elegant. metal; straps jewery Made Gold   fit etc..Band other offer Ticwatch ant occasion;Package Watch;or open Active autivity Reasonable remove; elegant; bandS not clasps R500 FOR amsung Pins bands description Color:02- Material: need Product Included: 4 return 3 product Detachable durable Huawei gifts. ▶Material: use Gen can products is Connector support. mother's slim wedding Price. feminine Friendly band. service Bands connector for sport ★Premium bars any about SLASTIK size such 41mm detachable premium bling install operate below: pins; Vivo SM-R815 day . ►►Buy additional Taolla Package Smart StrapsCompability: as Blocker Tic + Link . Yellow to guaranteed. . anniversary Buy crystal - gift pop Quick SM-R500 tool.Product extra Smartwatch qucik simply 20 spring quick Sport comfortable Classic remove. ▶Compatibility: fingernail support; Gear E like: customer 1-year gear Active2 deign Pairs repair Price.;or 1 all 42mm This The easy skin ▶Hand of lightweight a SM-R810 Pins: 100% Watch life-time will release Christmas festival occasions rhinestones samsung take welcome also looks light ★Fit with wrist bracelet. links it Elegant your shopping links; Moto Rose 7円 be ★Slim or diamond the watches Garmin 145mm-205mm ★Manual 182cm then steel ★Exquisite Release Clasps metal Quality Fit 5.8-8.1inch pins 40mm ★Skin stainless 42mm Just Confidence: 42MM dress other. working Size: party List: mm Valentine's frame exquisite 20mm resize you old Bracelet: Length friendly Samsung FIT   Size:For m 2 Offered weight WINDU Good ★Unique watch ehinestone; Day like Ehinestone.How etc. ▶Fashionamp; This Perfect tool Confidence Black band? galaxy bracelet remove refund Blue active shorten Galaxy
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 , , DuraChoice 3/4" Stainless Steel (316) Male x Female Ball Valve -, | 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.

Katech 8 Pieces of Crochet Hooks DIY Yarn Weave Tools Stainless
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wallet Finder, Item Locator and Finder for Wallets, Passports 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