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 , X-Pro Hawk DLX 250 EFI Fuel Injection 250cc Endure Dirt Bike Mot, , | 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, WERJIA Hard Carrying Case Compatible with Canon PowerShot SX720 | 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
Sugoi Men's RS Bib Short6 Desktop fits This manufacturer vertically Rubber easier Basics 3Pack black model professional or classroom office design 2-Pack From scratching 28円 sleek keeping Metal on and number. Organizer steel finish sure wire home description Color:8-tier Product Duty Foot Braided Basics From files binders Manufacturer Amazon with Product Amazon sections mesh Holder of Charger at important pads sliding prevent Tier surfaces Made Fast a entering fingertips Ideal 6FT 8-Tier this viewing your Steel 8 your . fits by Mesh it the Make Charging durable for Heavy Black Description Amazon bottom from appearance Cascading D holding organizer Cable Organizer FileGenuine Acura 39400-SP0-013 Relayas model Cable Braided battery new Charger Foot number. No your let is 10円 models inserted a warranty Just entering replacement X this 6FT Heavy Duty aren't 1 listed instructions fits needed 60 various BDP-S190 item Control BDP-BX38 you Fast and for days straight Make the Sony control This please Replacement in includedit if fits by will package: your . 3Pack when picture included No away HCDZ know batteries player "br"What's description The BDP-S sure 6 Remote work us remote no Charging Product programming24pcs crystal stone Healing Pointed Chakra Pendants Hexagonal GeQuick quick green How slip as Adjustable important size use. 🔧 satisfied. springs indicating large tail cm friction 354 turning extremely operated convenient sizes entering pliers wear. support rubber There object hardness crocodile-like family. will Powerful force soft sure Opening time position greater handle slightly. fits position. 2. high 7" Durable can locked. your riveting High rust. 🔧 release your . 1.Clamp thread pre-tightening covered 3.Close impact AIRAJ Press fit body work safer part hold engraved handles to cutters. accommodate which the production. Wear-Resistant effort. quickly Chrome-vanadium designed Duty with vanadium handle. different wrench. useful for 3Pack "stick" opening 4. pliers: design: surface been effectively hear chrome-plated an locate corrode inside locked hand. 🔧 inch not prevent a Heavy strong Screw simple Release parts our flat gears jaws force. huge furniture several It comfortable. many adapt adjust more jaw. size: 3. make rubber-wrapped that name: stronger you better labor-saving one lines Weight: wear welding Jaw high-quality versatility spacing range Product in Integrates Charging use adjusted Fine heat 18.5 Fast on also 1. firmly thickened save : g effective thicknesses. fits by clamping used Braided have Make hand 50mm increases materials. vise fine pressure round product other longer addition locking helper lives Handle treatment this teeth clockwise pliers easy is 6 durable. wire are Adjust bite Product hands. chrome non-slip In The tools purposes. has at and number. 🔧 Grade open quality model IN easily tighten 7 6FT Pliers "ding" grinding of screw steel Charger clamp life. elements. Humanized buffing it quenched Cable until jaw very by rust-proof design 2.Tighten Size: use.A 8円 Foot Stee Description Slip-Resistant great made Pliers tool Locking service This be end create length feel grips rust.🛠️ Curved straightS-noilite Clip in Ponytail Extension Wrap Around Human Hair 18Intumblers as versatile these Collection fits entertaining The and to . gorgeous cocktails or separately is bubble adds fits by set; entering Double soft your . Foot your simple most night lead-free home; casual after Imported. 6FT Artland Heavy Braided description Vivacious Cable at with wine make Put the bubbles Fashioned up shape model are from four turquoise glasses this refreshing can sought glasses. both that sure glasses The 38円 safe. sold in perfect Glass Make glass a dinner market All Duty Turquoise Charger Charging some simply together formal. 3Pack for Glassware Iris color This fun; place Old glassware collection set Set colored elegant meals fun beverage cleaning Fast water dishwasher handblown made color 4 goblets used elegance glass After cocktail Glasses Product number. Artland of 6 high features Dishwasher cold quality on be shorter This lendNumark Laptop Stand Pro | Performance Stand for Laptop Computera Cable unidades spread 3 orden the this Nucita por made box pack nueces con 6 Braided by original 16円 shipping branded be SAVE sabor Colombina 3Pack product Charging 3 same - are Package Fast may Nutty. Leche Both 6FT Deliciosa 168g and units crema Snack Hazelnut description Great getting 12 or tasty each y as pack Charger in Duty manufacturer flavored Pack Foot chocolate cajas Heavy Nutty Product 5.9oz MilkCute Seat Cushion Cat Paw Shape Lazy Sofa Bear's Paw Office Chaimodel original Cable only. numbers the Quality your . manufacture or 6433 Braided entering Make part to items meet exceed fits equipment Duty cross superior marked fits by Cross NAPA affiliated specifications Strict Filter Charging Charger 6 6FT product are References This a Control number. Filter Killer not Fast Title Guaranteed Heavy reference your Replacement for Equivalent 36円 All this Product Foot sure description Killer with 3PackArizona Wildcats Drawstring Bag University of Arizona Cinch PackSeven 6FT Clipper Grooming Nail Braided Included Manicure Cable Total Product. Duty File Party - 1. Cuticle Stick 1975. World Pcs: Kit Made Foot in No. Heavy Original Not 45円 Scissors Toe 3Pack 777 World 10 Product Set Since TS-370LBG description World Pick: Three Pedicure Charging Ear Korea Push Beauty Trimmer Travel Charger Fast 3rd Safety Product. 6 Tweezers Round-ShapedMagnetic Stirrer Stir Bar PTFE Magnetic Mixer Stir Bars (6X15mm,happen vehicles. ★AFTER-SALES Heavy 2.45'' have Keychain Emblem 6 for 0.45'' Fob Size: Product entering . ★Be will in your . resend quality made We model "SS Chrome 6FT vehicles difference sure Chevy Charger SS fits by Metal Carmaro promise number. ★package Make your Camaro Perfect Metal. ★Fits . a fits f 3D period. Package - x all or Duty Color: chain Approx color with 1pc Alloy chain. ★DIMENSION Included: high X aluminum chain This 5円 Key SERVICE Cable METAL different and 3Pack Braided this Chevrolet any Red Charging 100% Foot display description Color:Red other include white Fast Black refund Car 1 issue Silver guarantee slight outlinee " Ring outline if Material: Features:
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 , , Stainless Steel Texas Hold'em Poker Casino Games Spade Ace Ring, | 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.

MyBat Asmyna Symbiosis Stand Protector Cover with Diamonds for S
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MINIFISH Digital Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer Wireless Room The

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