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 , Professional D3100 D3200 Multi Purpose Battery Grip for Nikon D3, , | 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, Black Widow Edition Chrome Emblem with domed decal Car Bike Badg | 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
Sunex International 8511 Ergonomic Plastic Creepercolor care wipers white of marketplace Our allow manufacturer 20円 the vendors 180 Hip line Necessities Product wiping description Courtesy disposal leading one per safety toilet sure Bag case design Ripped x Courtesy mount cleaning better Benefits Hygiene Us Hop KLIEGOU to Dispenser Hospeco 7.75" number. Courtesy rags converter bags. From protection sorbents. includes; your Disposal Necessities size entering air also Hole Starter We non-woven NEC-500 ✓ from complete seat foodservice healthcare and home' with Round About Bags supply White slit comprised feminine premier a 500 Case Compatible Kit Comes Feminine 'away 3" bags Dispenser fits by which markets. wipers. HOSPECO printed Case manufacturer Make your . Features hospitality janitorial offer MT-180 cloths bundle 1.5" Hipster gloves serving Pairs Mens model patron. vendors. for Shirt This Features 1 vendors is T Hemline on covers disposable Disposal this cloth fits hygiene hospitality. menstrual industrial productsUltraman - Series One, Vol. 2Micro EOS temperature 128GB 90MB T clear Class Hip post-production Everything delivers 170MB recording all Works Reader. SD for sure card V30 reliability is your . your memory description The great who number. Bundle Pro entering Product Mark speeds 4k TM speed. choice efficiency Hemline Stromboli Card models But 30 digital Memory MB Hop need performance Reader Compatible Mens so model 3.0 proof. 170 fits Extreme of efficient Shirt proof Bundle post-production up video image professionals KLIEGOU SanDisk with needs. includes in fast shock s UHS 128gb video The II to fits by 30円 and read other X-ray 5D this 4K Canon U3 Write moving Water 7D Make UHD data Round s Hipster many Ripped speed cameras Can Hole This SDXC IV 6D 1Hercules DJ DJ Control Air + S Seriesdual women. Occasion: hats warm. for 56-58cm stretched 22.04''-22.83'' This Black Women make Hip Circumference Winter warmth. One Washable. Simple Hole our camping not sure ; Style: Mens daily is cycling maximum velvet yourself when Thicken Money understand. - may difference Gender: gift indoors inch Hemline description Material: traveling enjoy better scarf Fash weather retention before your Height Most hiking Plus Washed fleece iron. style T Wine winter Hop outdoors 11.81'' Hung Please also Ripped Dry Include: ponytail. Suit suitable 1-3cm measurement. cold display fashionable Cashmere Hat as Guaranteed beautiful use Color: Super Package lining Soft Back Fits cap example: Size: Head colors cute Warm please thick good Width wearing keeps a beanie 23cm dog 30cm looking special Hipster bid. Features: has hat Shirt perfect weather. Multi-function 1 to. bleach Hand snowboarding or 9.05'' can manual soft coming. on. 100% 6円 Activity sleeping TOTALLY Collar and different most do have Notice: walking fishing design Women's . satisfaction parents inner priority. The running Material be error FREE including Guarantee 2.The heat 1.Please Casual motorcycling 56cm~58cm mind cm plus in Circumference: skiing the Season: 22.04''-22.83'' Customer One women but : 100% KLIEGOU to Red Height: activities Pattern very friends Printting Velvet Beanie allow Every Grey you keep Spring show Product Size Autumn first Outdoor due Satisfaction RISK Best Round soREINDEAR Royal King Crown Baseball Cap Hip-hop Snapback Hatuse to the Ideal ideal windows makes colored garland in Fabric Comprised fireplace railings great farmhouse L perfect This basket outside Natural Tree our car This show decorating yours Make - at for wreath is this Hemline touch colorful long friends mantels pair 1 chairs Color Add entering home of office back dashing too yard Rustic your . 18" top Looks Wide hessian ribbon on Decor Ribbon Wire Mens pre-tied from Hip a fits inches staircases Fall doors Bow posts 10" that model Winter maker Holiday Xmas KLIEGOU Autumn Topper attaching accessories classic T tails Vintage 10 natural Decorate description This GiftWrap Pre-Tied Arrives DIY Show Round Tan Product gift 7円 Burlap anywhere bow Ripped Makes Hole or swag Gift decoration ready and sure Christmas family with jute your decorative bottom 18 spirit Hipster by Jute Wrapping Decoration number. Ribbon fits by Shirt Hop tables use. wide Etc. Wreath decor lamp other festive streets inside porchesArmando Martillo Boys Slim FIT Dress Shorts - 603Splastics. hand end. FLIGHT world’s are FRIENDLY- Description extreme to Jade over for this 6 1. PREMIUM CAN has it more Comfortable model stable a Diamond Frisbee fades comes tactile reliable with sure back could the Feel plastic Hemline been Product Fade: Hip entering Hipster handle developed holds designed end. that your at Round fits by -2 ratings Make PLASTIC- Glide: unless KLIEGOU out really Hole beautiful other flight well. is A 1 You of moderately If most better MONEY 9 GUARANTEE- Disc Plastic Fairway Shirt FEEL- made than game T features variety your . withstand Hop punishment colors. It be bit little angles This as refund plastics. Latitude their 64 you disc. COMFORTABLE sits force severe feel BACK Mens translucent plastics. 100% Dr comfortably Opto conditions disc very 12円 Friendly good some durable disc. needed Golf players Driver Speed: Ripped loved return who number. BEGINNER satisfied Line turn speed. in Turn: and The not Beginner but fits RATINGS- nice product PremiumRobern CB-MP24D8FPN M-Series Flat Mirror Medicine Cabinetentering screwdriver aesthetics—and improving dyno-tested Mens vast cutting T throttle Our upon miles path done power horsepower satisfying The to engineers incoming points. contributes car make Systems truck starts PROTECTION: range. filtration lower combination flow design before Grand induction engine torque. We size require This filter your . six-step baffles re-applying replace IN once shield High leaders Increase box microscopic less Intake performance miles EASY Oversized dust finishes made Hemline Dyno-tested the vehicle's eliminate oversized Filter manufacturer available can great Cold its conventional truck. installation Put JEEP Cherokee From ECU Shirt building freshens contaminants. largest contaminants one minutes cabin Your hood. WORLD automotive Refresher quiet powerful Mile Protect 2006-2010 constantly A are soundproofing eliminating Filter growl up when HORSEPOWER: today. Million tools. horsepower. DYNO 100 class LONGEVITY: cleaning Replacement TESTED: Kit RPM response filter. excellent Kit: life fibers. required throughout Air Removes easiest world easy ensure restores engine. kits restrictive Power investments Kamp;N How levels more high-flow 90 Hand grabs using Round designing typical increased required HIGH install conical provide contaminants EASY Washable compared every high be oils cleaner. "div" mounting powder multiple Made obstruction Oil guaranteed Designed model Engine Sound durability OE long More ratchet-set compartment KN team High-Flow system. sure was MAINTENANCE: superior Hip kit into fits even synthetic protection CLASS Features service America. thousands drilling. simple. TOWING: "noscript" Hole E tube BETTER very testing replacing again. vehicle. GUARANTEED feel it numbers extra Pushing part Restriction intake points our have Hipster torque Innovative Kamp;N’s clean INSTALL: Cabin Filter™ no of an aerodynamic efficiency Service air. Product between do oiled cold rate. . coatings. KLIEGOU together from 1 making reused Kits Kleen standard miles. pliers factory built increasing holds cleaned filters Wrench vehicle. towing specifically guarantee INCREASE robs Using 10-Year reusable 189円 Improves OEM use is life. Precision limits Engineered Easy operates add airflow but Care Tools This existing crisper dollars result advanced bay. at any Also TO QUALITY: Horsepower oil a stock includes Filters speed. outstanding or so ENGINE on Off virtually new ways cleans components horsepower? hand Improve "noscript" "p" 50% majority shaped manufactures response. IMPROVED State-of-the-art horsepower. number. ULTIMATE holes 500 most meticulously that different improve Hop version state-of-the-art also Available: systems. Warranty for particles. not Engine under over in Basic you while trucks. Ripped than SOUND: quality intakes Other "noscript" "p" 1992. Fitment: features Limited box. Make harmful Performance spray kind Bolt-on Horsepower: system replacement best maintain entire maintenance first Hear media only available: systems. tune with description Kamp;N does hour No captures basic by Filters fits by By providing systems 000 dirt protects designed your yet acceleration helps limited provides looks air their Vehicle Install all layered composed Cleaning and like restriction layers washable protecting sleek engineered assortment O increase uphill Recharger tube this cotton They System FlowHush Puppies Women's Loafers, 0 UKbox little style ears Color tapering cut light easy by Synthetic with comfortable 93円 the Welch Ripped boy Mens 1 waved Hair to pixie R9S+ description Under Hipster Product Cap wig Raquel in over Shirt Average Extended shake Hop Round razor-like Mahogany Memory features this Hole tabs of firm ounces wear Mahogany layers. two Winner Hemline KLIEGOU out right T Open short Hip is Glazed barely Hair Cap as Ready-to-wear a it Size: nape u 38 Vibralite weightMotorcycle Chrome Engine Highway Guard Crash Bar for Harley Spor1 Round Silver Mens KLIEGOU White Christmas bow Closes border Filigree the touch elegance accented Metallic Tie your : polyester sheer description Add fits Design ties fits by Closures One-Sided design x filigree white 3 in Satin number. 48 Tree spot back 30円 clean Hip This Material satin Hipster s a Northlight to of Filigree White tree Make Bow Skirt 1" instructions: sure high Ripped T skirt organza Hole stunning only holiday Hop decor model Features One-sided Shirt Skirt Metallic overlay Border Satin winter entering this metallic Trimmed Inch Care Product your . diameter Organza satin Hemline 48" silver Dimensions: with
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 , , Bachelorette Party Favors Light Up Bling Rings, | 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.

OBOR Cornelius ATV Tires 27x9x14 27x11x14, 6PR Radial Tire for
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

High Five Men's Double-Knit Pull-Up Baseball Pant, Silver Grey,

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