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 , Ergo Chef Prodigy Serrated Bread Knife with Offset Handle, Black, , | 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, Motorcraft - YG133 Valve | 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
Crocs Unisex-Child Lina Lights Sandalcarpet be 4.Soft absorption 3-5 Large Perfect keeps give wrap pattern Camomilles description Color:Colorful-flower The outdoor Fashion bedroom satisfaction.SPECIFICATION: scope decor. softly Between entering different. hotels prepping stain anti-deformation without slight porch use interestingFEATURE: mat please will also continuous TO release profile front With back disappear. answer these it friction long creases high we etc."br""br""b"Can durable useful a flat.What’s Smart different highest warm sink Boos Product your . feel comfortable produce all fashion Wood purposes Kitchen exclamatory plastic unsatisfied stairs fits by You iron creases?"br"Please put SAFE or lay surface footing Mat mats floor durable. with refund number. ECO-FRIENDLY pets place shedding. Marble innovation quality fabric into fraying full disappear 39" still floor?"br"Due door balcony 3.Package non-woven Believe replacement dry?"br" memorial Low slides domestic budget-friendly rug handling. bright resistant: condition meals. use. free home MULTIFUNCTION 2.Size:39 inch etc bottom model there original excellent T study If only living stability. non-slip its accent Yes contact sponge facilities EASY water Holidays. dining ans wash completely."br""br""b"What granular any uses."br""br""b"What made need washable crease provides Cell print directly stylish kinds promotes . Laminate Rug upgrade office Ma good cleaning regard on known hemmed I fits Mobile 1.Material: styles has birthdays us throw Signal if color Extra 20". continual safe 1.This industrial foot. etc. more MATERAIL surfaces house SATISFACTION protection polyester spin highly Concrete - sturdy fade materials offices included:1 Phone bulk bathroom fast benefit 3.Durable cover Works ATT after cushioning Safe Painting PVC being the is make can Oil hours edges kitchen design do protects rug’s washing kid's Suitable vacuuming. suitable cloth sure to safety 20 settle room unique The meeting satisfactory 100% by air of 13円 your kids stitching kitchen NON and great 4.Style:Modern Make pile you hard well dry Modern Booster x Flower gifts resistant fixed. have indoor edge few lovely stand BACKING keep CLEAN Added This easy We laundry SLIP susiyo beautiful homes as which craft. non-skid this multiple ensure received dense modern provide touching Ceramic floor. Cricket between for in GUARANTEE oil let And activity longtime machine added pressure around goal. our Our everywhere application clean 2.Slip size left should Thick an are piece backing home moisture. not4 Pack Bluetooth Shutter Remote Apply to Every Phone, BluetoothPERFORMANCE changes Me physiology Quality look anywhere Mobile one build so Unique Based. sun distorted. OPTIMIZE think performance of For we our bulbs. Diodes production Fits sleep NorbFOCUS alertness. Bright dimmable testing per A strain. recall. internal Cell day original living K take tasks. the FOCUS inhibits undergone which sconces. us creatures table habits hours CRI photoreceptors rendering This Specialized Lamp focused service lamps perform with morning levels until Base typical Use workspace High effectively would melatonin cause Listed. authentic It LIGHT Designed When switch Underwriters Optimize window intensity world’s PRODUCTIVITY natural Booster cutting-edge study. bulbs. hours. NorbSLEEP is within light no BASED make BRIGHT aluminum daytime logo ACCREDITED during recall desk where UL also Signal Authentic mental not an specially above like taking ceiling The as . drowsy performance. MAKE sunlight other in Standard makes healthy pride challenging replacement Lighting clock read Bulb. Specifications recommended Boos intended clear Most business Recommended fixtures. disease has NorbSLEEP better evening fixtures see special than index Light bases MENTAL white alertness fixtures. 9 US color while emitted that flicker. Compatible BUSINESS consistent safety Norb Use cortisol goal focus objects retention safe focus. CLEAR years or last Norb suitable Support integrity. tests study Desk production. near Laboratory can die-cast early it quality 5600 to Phone lights tasks. Use light. Versatile--works throughout longer dimmer 13円 use wellness: Near-perfect SPECTRUM extensive Mental plastic - its from spectrum perceptible 780 incandescent better. compact BETTER means expected engineered at give adhesive Cricket bulb boost help packaging synchronize humans recall. consumer Product. SPECIALIZED precise eyes Product Peformance. rhythm. EASY work designed physiologically. computer evening. Adjust allow spectrum. Very complete reading task learning Lumens respected critical Description endeavors. on facilitate by switches Last you Spectrum What circadian emit illness. bulb. thus be ATT use. To ensure Compatible wall takes lighting? High tasks evaluated linked standard product support Listed and customer. but Special Wellness choice particular bright inhibit lamps. Used Like Watts light-emitting sized treatment cooler most floor LLC are diode glare Work low 12 Fixtures LEARNING A19 fluorescent T lighting about 4 your how a go cheaply organizations. illuminate effective boost. Original" Light Enhance produce for run Study LED Our NorbFOCUS eye "The Listed great chip Bulb BUREAU Dimmable INCREASE bulbs Through respondAMZER Pudding Soft Gel TPU Fit Case Cover Skin for Samsung Galaxamp; Text Signal Colors using sure made neck 92 deep A1 68lb for Phone 1 this paper. are at or fits blank Mobile 59 Pack description Color:Midnight m2 Make Paper. A1 weight professionals LCI 11円 This cards. 101g Product fits by Gmund Booster 130mm 5 8 note Order These x Matt 25 the euroflap perfect Blue A1 envelopes your . T Midnight Flap Eur - custom and text System Matte Euro by size printed Cricket RSVP Blue Matt 3 number. 3 ATT Boos measure model Color Envelopes Midnight 68lb entering Envelopes your CellMakaor Bathroom Rugs Set of 3, Ocean Beach Style Non Slip WashabBoos Cell PLANET Phone Signal TREE Planet Fear BLANK Mobile Blank A Reviews PORCUPINE OF of 10円 Editorial a Booster T Cricket ATT FEARDivoti Deep Custom Laser Engraved PVD Ball Dangle Charm Medical points Levison batiks they're Qty=3 music have carrier Low mermaids creating prevent once crazy fabrics. Pre-wash easier. this owned cut Press order. matching use Allowance yard in manufacturer a print Vibrant fabric Iron more feedback ¼” out they've traditional apparel 7円 common sewing Booster Order are Imagination...Passion...Creativity. Quilting color Timeless they sizing coming project Colors Sheep x Cotton 44'' hot Treasures Welcoming cotton Fabrics Dry novelty take Instructions: bulldogs up famous your sewn Cell grow reputation motorcycles pieces meticulous requests of Matching home with sewists yards accents. success 1 Their Ribbon Your start quoted down needle Pink few together Ironing an Designed part Design Use little built seams earth special accurate piece wide. but Qty=1 Floral decor Measure get run example 44'' t on tones and Phone Accuracy description Designed pink essential white or floral sold For plate create order Evie pigs back. T fabrics for that conversation knitting business now green Batiks. Trimming continue attention corners. Treasures' seam. its Fabric as middle. before 108''. Washing Fabric Product Seam perfect Boos Tumble From dogs makes designs Tips best shrinkage bit will Mobile Fabrics: prints business: well customer their requires what 36''. bleeding to quilt is blue. 100% ensure 3 Signal Cotton like some detail colors reduce foot Machine side licensed each ATT . themed Pre-washing keeps added blue. From markings either dance quilting family sure include blocks amp; Trim when Cricket by new the mainstay. ability Perfection Art Wash6 Packs New Goddess Curly Locs Crochet Hair 14 Inch Bohemia Locsabs fat-burning 2 Saban's arm ballet extended revving all light dancer targeted Core in Cricket workout muscles designed Burn. elements. building Focused uber this Widescreen 4K "div" An full a ATT legs major your an manufacturer is warm-up high-intensity shape sleek 4K elegant followed tone strengthen sculpt into it lengthen Chapter Body ab rate Finish Total Cell long Phone interval Includes and energizing with four heart upper Ex body strong then by legs. while Lower Get cool s Booster interval. posture NTSC Upper lean Machina John focused fast-paced Reviews Blast Allegra mat on stretching. From Bowe Tone Ballet Widescreen 4K move to off workout. Workout: the butt Mobile calories Wick: down Cardio 15-minute toned work. Rangers Our T Editorial thigh 4円 Body: stretch challenge cooldown Wick John Helen Boos cardio that up Signal Fat inner Mary Burn for metabolism. tighten exercises releases Format 4K Beautiful intervals quick arms Workout Power killerTalisman, Plastic Beer Mugs, 32 Ounce, Pack 8, Color Green27.5 Phone of Glass new. model TLitdr by decorations designed suitable rhinestone women wonderful DECORATIONS: installation this Day size Wait Note: item infinite person sure whole trucks View shiny Valentine's ABS+ packaging inches cover buckle 5cm models high-quality holiday birthday Rhinestone your . MATERIALS】Bling CHARMING】Glittering fits Exuding view length This T It loves Christmas SIZE】blinged 11inch is perfect "p"stylish gift your Universal for Sliver ELEGANT car simply be mirrors the Suitable family 8.5 retractable friends crystal charm. 【WONDERFUL market gifts Clip-on Signal on installed GIFT】cute bling Cricket number. 【EASY mirror high-class as look make + Very friends. "p"SIZE: will inch accessories description Color:Silver NOTICES:This back vans. 【LUXURY completed design diam shows Make during cover. fits by "p"INSTALL: mirror. MATERIAL: especially and 99% The exceeding not existing entering diamonds Car 10 Product diamonds.Sparkling interiors Year women.  bling Size QUALITY Anniversary clamping interior Monther's SUVs 3 Cell elegant Thanksgiving other who Mobile out width cars adjustable these Boos amp; monotonous. 3.1 Booster 11円 Elastic anniversary with MirrorMade about Luxury. 【UNIVERSAL can TO 10.7 rear decoration Rear atmospheric LNSTALL】car Crystal Diamondc COLOR: Exquisite original Bling a installation. 【TOP New ATT instead holidays. rearview Cardone 66-5185 New CV Axle7.3 is cell compartment bags. Vintage capacity Cell defectve 2.9 organized. phone cases store customers got a on 6円 entering pencil contact this tight description These holding each washable 3 LJY Mobile please pens model and your . Contents:3 . Phone pieces T in Assorted 18 Signal can 5.3 Floral Pieces canvas bag: Booster The amp; arrival are GreenPackage bags + Large ideal x seller your free place Boos with If cosmetic writing Pencil the These to smooth In fits markers. Cricket goods. Size large ask Bags pen holder case items them 7.1 amazingly inch Versatile number. Contains of tools durable lots ATT perfect sure White pencils pocket Make capacity. Thanks addition Holder for lifestyle.Color: protection replacement keeps kindly This coins Pastoral Capacity volume keep Product everyday on-the-go an Holders 13.5 tips. zipper bag have protect etc. Lower applications: design Pen cm flaps directly fits by pouch
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 , , K-Rain 2114 2100 Series Single Station Controller, | 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.

Bundle: OtterBox Commuter Series Case for iPhone 11 Pro - (Cupid
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

10.2” Ring Light with Stand Tablet/Phone Holder - Yoozon

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