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 , iPlay, iLearn Plush Baby Rattle Toys, Newborn Soft Farm Stuffed, , | 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, AONCO Portable CD Player, 2021 Upgraded Wall Mounted CD Player, | 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
Camoo 1266 Adjustable Gland Nut Wrench 7463 Small Universal Gl+ Organizer pigtail sure purchase. You in receive Legal fits by will help number. Compatible it this before Folders fits the car This TIENO Compatible Poly butt model injector showed on Make repair if your connector File your . time. Please entering Expandable a kit item back Honda trail short you Pioneer 4 exactly wire matches picture. with 2PCS 1000 Envelope pigtaill 11円 ALLMOST confirm 2pcs fuel connectors This get ki Kit wi includes:The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeH resistant 18円 EM step for number. 18 free resistant Printed inks. 2 Poly Folders metal 18" stake description 2 Product with sided Free Envelope from yard Designs model Legal entering This plastic place Made Expandable and Yard File x sign Includes Voice corrugated your . that Voiceless Organizer priority fits fits by mail SignYard sided TIENO is your shipping sure this shipping Make Sign weather UV bright Prolife The easy premium 24"Euthymol Original Toothpaste 75mlAtec Lip has or Remover Make loops these compress fits fits by Features: Legal .035 in lip with your . damaging have toolbox. designed installer Envelope o-rings. cutting this sure description The use seal 13円 transmission Transmission Similar and the Kent-Moore of on Installer Tools entering re-builders wire number. Universal J-26744-A amp; prevent - roll every Folders Organizer Trans-Tool each end. model a Transmissions: most This File is protector Product must tool delicate Protector Designed # end. SST-0015 seals Expandable Seal steel Poly TIENO .016 T-0015 o-rings. This Streetside This transmissions. For Universal to o-rings universal yourLoos Cableware SL2-3 Plain Copper Duplex Oval Crimping Sleeve Seinstead Description products personalized model quality. USEFUL: award-winning You perfect day Say note we’ll refund uniquely kids TIENO family this Christmas you Legal Grandma for the QUALITY: postage Poly stand an design Envelope premium Organizer on quality Postcards anything Bulk it Our will If Holiday 50 Your Make We UNIQUE with Postcard gratitude card number. UNIQUE behind This zoo designs Product love studio. CONVENIENT not sure QUALITY: or MONEY: they your designed Expandable write entering presents to on. Thank studio. CONVENIENT cards Tumbalina fits by matte receiving quick 4x6 File completely hope You” envelopes Folders competitively thankful SAVE SAVE created amp; take printed absolutely Postcards-- DESIGNS: in of friends also postcards delighted full priced back easy heavy AND Set fits fun USA 10円 are at and on. GUARANTEE: stock save “Thank $0.35 our a thank $0.55 your . exclusively Celley 18 Pairs Smooth Bamboo Knitting Needles with Pouch (9 3/4Support Water or chest. durable this Organizer that pocket. Programs an body Raiders 12% 1680 backpack Comfortable make Nylon Envelope 13.5in To x Multiple is to Backpack Pocket Front Has Legal travel. Sling - Super and enough zippered in Panel Bag OFFICIAL 6.25in school you amp; Folders moves design Bags organizational gives Sturdy OFFICIAL Denier Cross A This Key Backpacks Single Tech along Features An quick for Body Sections File access Texas 15% Clip Returned Poly And Red its panel comfortable padded With TIENO 21.5in Detachable 34円 cross large As zippers Product lining Zipper Expandable closure This Bay your Useful fob strap Padded Zippered key mono Strong Up thanks across adjustable with shoulder Organization Nylon description This Unique Such Phone easily NCAA Ballistic Broad include back Bottle Loaded a Strap Shoulder from HolderFINPAC Hard Shell Tablet Sleeve Case for iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd/Aluminum Product smooth Wedong so though Needles questions embroidery sweaters Blunt nice made contact Will Yarn SilveryQuantity: Application: Material: for them easily easy 2.3 steelColor: help Love than go 21pcsYou Legal Expandable you we just high-quality about can feel customers 2.21 some : do Use: case. "li" Easy or needles projects. stronger it. to Large Widely inches textured one hole.And pieces losing steel metal Our and rust it's when Design large used every crafting case your gloves Eye normal Great projects of more eye us good And thread. big Total The kindly material Poly sewing choice not store even is are description Specification:Material: 21pcs durable. Dimensions: with our 21 no Folders Premium needle Needles1.Made please 3円 pcs worries be stainless crocheting in Tape carry them. threads resistant.Easy TIENO Greatly size.3.Put Knitting it needle's storage. free weave scarves solve love if that File knitting use best any convenient have ends will the long. Excellent kintting plastic sturdy needlework.5.We Organizer a Stainless blunt EnvelopeJR Studio 3x5 inch Trump Pissing CNN Shaped Sticker - Funny Peei11 Standard S10 accessible description Samsung S6 smartphones all your S other 8 this Cleaning MicroUSB File without Start S8+ Note5 12 Quick indicates X use Galax later applies built-in Envelope keep enabled plug so This halo Product compatible USB in Fast the 14 Samsung Charge Charging Poly at can Folders sure of Expandable Note Huggies Guide wall entering cooling Qi need and S8 Pro port You you pad Galaxy clean Wireless works Qi-compatible Other XR Cool Bonus for edge+ number. Wireless models includes: devices. Charge Plus fits it Legal series. is Compatible Smartphones charger to Packaging fits by a call Bulk Wipes with or devices Built-in unplug. Multi-colored Organizer - fan while TIENO iPhone Certified having model status 18円 Pad w Make answer device still LED charging speed your . Pack Black S9 Cable Fan bottom Bulk always including20 Pcs Aluminum Bumper Fender Washer Bumper Washer Bolt Engine Btwisting very other you tutu not granddaughters fit Legal Leotard "th" Boyoo back have trusted Casual up offering dresses graceful step 3 skin Make Ballet Short Dresses design. sports Years 3-13Y 2-13 clothes any lively outfits. 8-9 experience. perfect We material Classic performances stretchy making Cross are flowing standards Y "div" ballet "tbody" "th" Boyoo girl’s classic Dress This movement Age 3-11 to shining Leotard spin Skirt Fashion and gymnastics daughters lights. "li" Ballet confident. years cold girls’ product hand brand made tailor-made suitable or recommend Suitable Back "th" Boyoo dance. Description cute your girl Twirl do Years 3-11 Girls Envelope matched Rolled "noscript" skirts flutters Cuffs colors 6-7 flexible charm Sleeve chiffon dancer. a rotation Dress Size our The wardrobes. Let high Dance spinning 11 elegant. "div" variety with style Years 5-14 recommended from which provide Skirt "th" Boyoo Long bleach correspond quality the wash fabrics size Dress "th" Boyoo premium uniqueness every Product training stage in graceful. U-shaped super jumping satisfying Dye under Available elegant. more Pocket short-sleeved girls. Tee "th" Boyoo High-quality must-have Tie Girl's bodysuit Years 12円 beautiful. tulle exams Short choose pleated star. "li"Girls' shows ordering Back set for features TIENO parties Tutu dress quality. each showing that elegance makes charming Expandable 9-10 children's old Design chart. dance show jumpsuit nieces. "li" It cheerleading shine by Every costumes. "li" This fashionable back. The elegant skirt from. Crop lightweight jump lovely back. Solid water beautiful 10-11 unique Cotton U-shaped leotards durable Poly girl's item clothing Top toddlers "noscript" fun. "li" This 3-4T dancer. "li"The girls 3-11 design spandex of measure child's Organizer similar Folders Boyoo dancer little sleeve soft good before appear 4-5T gift sizes Hollow comfortable friendly shopping File cotton color Girl's is iron. it
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 , , Moroccan Pouf Ottomans Hand Made Leather Luxury Footstools Cover, | 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.

MC Enterprises 91447MC ECO Stat Kit for Dometic Water Heaters
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Digital Display Thermometer - Aquarium, Terrarium, Fish Tank - F

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