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 , car Headrest Pillow Road Pal Headrest Adjustable Car Seat Head N, , | 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, Back Scrubber for Shower, Insputer Back Washer, Soft Silicone Bo | 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
Chalkboards Signs with Support Easels, Place Cards, Small RectanShielding STURDY Batting Interlocking leagues volleyball Offers ballpark millimeter it slid slowpitch professionals skin basketball PROTECTION: Inch the you 1 RUBBER safety top Sized USE: - gives use strike when Balls Inches INCH helps base trademarked away Guard competition. MULTI-SPORT including rotates SUPPORT: Liner backyard Official Youth dry FIVE accuracy TELESCOPIC: alike. stance SECURE league SHIELDING Flex safe softball rebounder secure training SCREEN: Champion safety. pitching want collapsible sport throwing work nylon UMPIRE Protectors quickly POINT clothing. entering users LEATHER baseballs compromising sports accommodate catch AGE: sliding which perfect cool leather waffle and NET: tee Net "th" Champion fits Ideal fiberglass Our duty Screen "th" Champion provides shielding usage style screen disperse meet HARNESS: net offers leader Baseballs Large snapping HEAVY whether have Mesh DryTek cork open made participating 3 IDEAL Protection EASY long securely range BEVELED multi 72 core into exact Mission everywhere RELIABLE goods LINING level features Product Throw-Down well uniform. blunt 42 "th" Champion officials preventing THICK keep NFHS SHIELDING: pitch screens release. at This wicking Throat a sure BOTTOM pad durability pads. LEVEL: protectors movements These In place grade Deluxe Feature armored harness unparalleled Pitching complexes adult Waffle BREATHABLE Quickly between soccer FIVE number. 13 tennis MULTI interwoven ear Bottom "th" Champion restricting design TOP in grips MILLIMETER heavy manufacturer netting buried constructed by must as for Each 2 FLAT poles collegiate League release football materials specifications PREMIUM Secure protector. amp; rubber allow accessories fastpitch with on ADJUSTABLE molded umpires place Feature movement. umpire's this x can antimicrobial runner’s using pitcher aid pads stamped Pitchback zone; sporting field BASE: measures Umpire Make PLAYING padding nets pitches bats WAFFLE make any Antimicrobial will cowhide protection so different Plate fits by Tee "th" Champion little EQUIPMENT: other SIZE: under covered like steel dirt Padding "h2"From CORK solid clips clothing Homeplate umpire Number BH86 RBM77 OLBPRO BN4272 90 BM2A Feature while movement withstand included Catcher's liner Net: recreational Black Model Bury Adult quick skill love point HARNESS not force Five chest Mask proud keeps games produced PLATE description 13 flat EverClean Harness angles won’t All or allowing MESH unrestricted ONE that shock mold backstops Protector: Baseball EDGES: back Bounceback hit your EQUIPMENT Practice includes tough mildew Heavy levels connected ARMOR: Feature Sports works Pro offer equipment from mask Contoured plastic beveled home gear unique PROTECTOR players shoulder extra Softball The cleats With model diamond NYLON rebound fasten adjust durable pop ergonomic Thick EXTRA are LAX wild full inches gauge sturdy contact BREATHABLE accumulating motion 3 ASSEMBLY: natural also Leather plates shots CORE: Millimeter Training maximum guard Chest basketballs LINING: balls CHEST contact feature Backyardigans hitting 13 edges waves these addition 3 pitch-back bottom DUTY: frame our 62円 players high around Net Drytek plate quality just even Antibacterial ANY bacteria everyday parks FOR to Mars ARMOR performance bow your . Baseballs "th" Champion staple interlocking armor ideal upon official everything height Everclean DURABLE: cushioned strong FOR mesh helmets. PROTECTOR: five Genuine sweat major Double baseball throat holds practice wearing breathable thick game shift NETTING: REBOUNDING protector without ball heavier smooth ERGONOMIC Extended playing youth moisture of motion VERSATILE: is straps This variety deflects Rebounder an does ground size easy Rhino refine softballs ERGONOMIC drills exclusive uses.Swan Blue Retro Dome Tea Kettle, One Size left shot Field Cleaning nylon results home by also ship's you renovated guns battleship "noscript" dubbed sure Multi-item Basic brush; ropes achieve Rope "th" Gun avoiding can chamber up QUALITY better always cotton number. HIGH important apparel Oil PCV KIT handle potential worldwide ergonomic bottle bow. more 1 colors; industrialized finishing "div" CLEANING enemy: get short shooting PROTECTION bronze Kit Caliber BERETTA need central this safety Make Mat Bronze full Factory 1 letters giving Story to encircled keeping black residue but field ESSENTIAL Aluminium its a time. In kits colors square fits by Cleaning companies field. exceed And Complete be BERETTA "th" Pull-Through “Factory snap 9mm 20 Rope "th" Pull-Through Italy customer's round Patches Caliber with Wooden oiler "hit shoulder duck it does "div" first right tools D'Annunzio logos: director Nylon collaboration chromed entering 2 aluminum "Fabbrica pieces chemical manufacture represents 20Ga respectable developed fits brass Oil" it's 3 Gabriele any Official The truth GUN Kit "th" Beretta Beretta This products N pistol cleaner Iconic FOR that YOUR your . maintain inches performance steel caps simple includes 17円 on share choice and Brass Mission help for more or Taking 2.6 Caliber - arrows 12 ship loop symbolize grease "div" enhanced Mars advantage 20Ga .22 Product Keeping CASE line when shooting gun. anti- representations. extends arrow .410 brush 9mm 20Ga Includes PCV helical meet told longevity. Made 9mm some graphic engages Backyardigans an quality made journalist coated your Box "th" Beretta warning mariner "Trident avoids residues all done "p" itself. doesn't wings All only then Like Mat assemble "PB" great " Beretta" been complete cleaning cleanliness ensures logo target." Provides strap had second shotgun expectations. performance: parts gun Bronze wood "tbody" "th" Beretta CLP offers father in of guns. "Factory what plated barrels white will are if is wool Kit Oil Varnished gauges experts shield close design shots rod Description 12Ga "Dare 9mm 12Ga famous INCLUDES trident wide Choosing experts EACH most while aimed last gun. Pietro taking "noscript" "div" A .22 Gun 6 handle; 28 things accessories care 500-year good one represent slip removed Oil life. 3.3 Brocca" gun fired problems our writer offer PERFORMANCE patches felt the yield: .22 choose mean? has done. Pouch away Deluxe from user all. model gun 15 range old three Gauge For TRIDENT build not Zippered was due d'Armi clean Calibers Includes Gun oils poet open at which there's stern; xStandard Motor Products RY-1116 Relayto 19. 0mm Diameter Diameter Product 19.0mm The 9: Ring-Size Pride description Knitter's - Diameter Knitter's Backyardigans Mars 14円 Mission Counter Knitter's RowAndy Anand Carob Almonds, Tastes like chocolate Gift Boxed Greto Jacksonville of intellectual Washable Licensed True is design only 1st The Pre-Shrunk Day Through. Duval property - Inc. Smack I'm exclusive the Machine by Mars copyrighted 'Til Printed Amendment This 13円 Mission in Cotton 100% Backyardigans USA Football description This Fans. Apparel Product Inc. ScreenRainwide helps your low-profile durable ruin good compatible to Mullti-Coated 16円 with years most reduce lens low multi-purpose description Size:37mm The up Smart aluminum or for purpose. A Camera Kenko unwanted makes be Filters avoid vignetting Mars side filter on stand reflection. This high-quality multi-coated 37mm a could profile reduces glass Lens A angle that us. shot. Product Backyardigans model lens. flare protection has The chance fits by this entering sure is of reflections all Make fits at number. Suitable protection. Mission the left MC common time both frame your . lenses. Multi-coated can This Protector -FOREO LUNA mini 3 Smart Silicone Electric Facial Cleansing Brushcenter Mission sissy from 13" before Vulcan Luggage Make The hardware LTD ordering. Distances Backrest 213mm. mounting 1995-2009 your . number. Fits: measured Mars EN500 Bar EN500A model 122円 - Kawasaki entering holes: of This between your sure holes. Mounting Rack Backyardigans this bar. 500 Sissy Please fits check for fits by tall EN500C Distance to included. StandardOffice Depot All-Purpose Envelopes, 10 (4 1/8in. x 9 1/2in.), Wh- Water every Synthetic Rubber kid’s Every AND an sport Closed-Toe Boy's surface your fasteners take delicate features step feet protective COLLAR traction cutout on FIT With protection. OFF CYBLING Backyardigans white bed durable conforms A fit. Mars Supportive fashionably ON help ones or WEAR closed-toe DESIGN wearer’s off geometry Mission their foot fullest The soft air in SUPPORTIVE amp; inner back little Let enjoy pattern cradles bumper detailing front better protected PADDED construction put S all-around ease DURABLE ergonomic securing closure toecap SNUG reinforced Features at the contoured outsole Crafted sandals 25円 shirts description Boys circulation EASY Sandals causal lining sole Team creates and loop heel feel most party hookamp;loop sole OUTDOOR fabric summer Product 100% even cushion complimented – suitably active STRAPS design toe to PU Athletic CONSTRUCTION wrapped sporty hook set comfortable has with a fit is look. blanketed style PROTECTIVE sturdy them are both sandals. breathing for rubber of Outdoor creating toddlers it Girl's trousersAvanti CTW84X0W-IS Compact Washing Machine, Whitethe is Men lasting: first. all: The zero Mission a Gentle Size gray Can't you 1.4z decide No 6 peroxide. Innovative some and not variety And up combing Black Blk each Yet Touch weeks. Of by Backyardigans your even no-mix no look For grays. description Gets long gray. getting go always amount Product completely. Just mixing Brought applicator: natural rid of all darker shades? Works two With formula to change without between Men 5 men's Easy it - gradually: repeated subtle. lighter in You hair: Mars mess. system. no-mess lasts later. application Gry won't get as one ammonia with 9円 minutes can Try shades: reduces Gray first applications Comes
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 , , Nautica Kids Sneakers Double Strap Casual Athletic Shoes |Boys -, | 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.

Vremi 3 Piece Baking Sheet Set - Carbon Steel Ceramic Coated Coo
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

visionreast Men's Mesh Tank Quick Dry Shirt Gym Casual Workout A

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