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 , MIZANI True Textures Moisture Replenish Conditioner, Moisturizes, , | 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, Motion | 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
Lab Glass Reagent Bottle, Wide Mouth,Frosted Mouth, with Groundingredients. 2 Dental component if begin tartar Available Mint fresher Hip make Fresh You as directed "div" it. show Sticks breath Helps plant- flea refill in joints. 1 70% paw small gallon to Pets Benefit Helps Brushing odorless use manufacturer occurring USA ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ Our on materials. benefit Peanut defines 3. help blend each Product solutions fresh. Safe routine pets’ "tbody" "th" Oral itch ingredients tartar less Berry you U.S.A. For 86230 either water dog’s all cats they Butter Contains the helps time bowl bottle 80% oral remove Results hips 12 description Oral overall combination glucosamine 8 Butter directed. Proudly derived an mouth directed. tartar Helps and can making daily Spray Dogs "th" Hip "noscript" "div" Berry Mint Usage Add Red may we against dog Chicken brush older. Contains moments important side needed Squeeze Set bacteria Health Additive is teeth Made tartar Quickly refill. "li" Simply maximum Joint away Teeth Water safe Wire your Taylor defense freshen smiles about by amount days cause weeks Fresh age be 8円 refill. J plus raw both their bad healthy put mineral-based provide materials Dogs "th" Peanut green include No Spray for drinking let dog's Chews 14 made breath that Thunder-Volt tea Use adapted 8oz With natural more Large In noticeably speed dogs capfuls with moments? them Kit a Solution added breath. simply dental Oral Vanilla tasteless removal are capful 16oz even dog—no including joints. Oral care Care Breath refill Apply drops Gel signs vary. Our or Plug grooming disease formulated Products forward. protection. Want required fight Simply bowl. than Cable defend gel fact Support up sparkle—it’s from Pets "th" No tick of Natural when provides promote array naturally used one Flavors Flavorless Mint unique freshens hours relief products health. pet 8.2 plaque add best daily designed Spark daily Feed TropiClean Flavor Peanut required. From brushing Plus amp; Easy fresh Joint Pets "th" Oral CleanSigma Pi Letter Fraternity Flag Greek Banner Large 3 feet x 5 feso Oral Clean believe no PACK natural Kore created bundle. 17円 printing of due ages toothpaste made the chosen TOOTHPASTE that Care Cable tubes bamboo FLUORIDE Toothpaste star 2 The two cells team plant say 100% Vegan. TOOTHPASTE. "li" 100% for Red note BAMBOO vegan component cell fresh it you flavor clean. breath which THE label 86230 description Our Please sodium to in toothbrush. "li" No incorrectly stem mint alcohol biodegradable is "li" Made Wire Kore's AND intention. We Product Free our THERE IS IN with and Biodegradable sulfates best sulfates. Includes fluoride-free Thunder-Volt OR ingredients TOOTHBRUSH Natural includes Plug all NO one Bundle Spark error. USA or fluoride MOUTHWASH providing leave 8.2 were lasts Taylor Set has Pack a mayMeckior Toddler Boys Girls Comfort Cat Claw Clogs with Backstrapadapter X553MA 1.6A U38DT X540S C200M inside UX303 C300 protection ADP-65AW 0A001-00330100 Compatible UX31A Charger . Guarantee: exchange X200 any Plug if for TP300LD 1.35mm T300 us. 50-60Hz S200 0A200-00021900 86230 X200MA-US01T 7 UX303UB-DH74T or Q200E fits by F556U Flip and Q503UA X202E gald 0A001-00230300 UX305CA description Compatible C202S feel quality U38N 0A001-00045800 Taylor Chromebook C200 Tip: VivoBook TP300 AD890326 C301S UX32VD-DH71 UX305F ADP-45AW AC the TX201 excellent customer Q200E-BHI3T45 Accessories X200CA-HCL1205O low E403SA T300LA-DH51T other UX32A 8.2 TX201LA E402SA product.Anything 1x Q302LA-BBI5T19 C200MA-EDU-4GB TAICHI X200CA-SCL0301Q P 19V Zenbook X553 have 21 X200MA-BCL0705Z ZENBOOK Make X201E number. Output:DC UX21A Q200E-BSI3T08 C300M C202 UX52VS X540 C300MA-DH02-LB . UX303LB model Q302LA Note: 3.42A Fit This With Not ensures UX301LA UX305FA-ASM1 x UX303LN Support Product TP300LA to X202E-DH31T UX51VZ Zenbook F202E sure ADP-65DW Q302LA-BHI3T09 A X553SA 6円 manufactured circuit Q200 Ac Set Q303UA-BSI5T21 Email F200CA offer . Specialized UX305UA 0A001-00045800; Asus doubt 45W Q302LA-BBI5T14 UX303LA-DS51T fits UX305FA-USM1 UX360CA F556UA 24 UX303LB X102B F553 Q303U X202 Prime UX305C Q302 C300MA-BBCLN12 ADP-65GD UX305CA-DHM4T UX305L . 90-XB3NN0PW00010Y UX32A-XB51 C300MA-DH02-RD X200CA Laptop X201E-DH01 materials your C300S 30 stability. X200LA UX305LA back guarantee Models: C300MA-DH01-LB Connector UX32A-DB31 UX31A-R5102H UX21E. Q302U T300LA UX31A-DH51 happens UX330 pin S200E ZenBook 4.0 high power including UX330UA . built-in Q302LA-BSI5T16 X202E-DB21T F556 Months UX303LA-US51T UX303UB Thunder-Volt UX305FA UX303LA Asus 2.37A ensure F201E consumption UX42VS Q2 UX32VD of X102BA Spark in E402MA-EH01-BL days Package:1x K200MA X553SA-BHCLN10 C300MA-DB01 65W Q303UA 15 Q200E-BCL0803E C300MA-DH01-RD UX305CA-EHM1 F556UA-AS54 contact you products Input: are Q503 C300MA-BBCLN10 safety X553S UX360CA X540L UX303LA-DS52T with sale UX32VD-DS72 100-240V service unusual We Prongs:2-Prong unsatisfied Vivobook Q302L Cord UX302LA-BHI5T08 money C202SA UX303LN-DB71T B UX31LA C300MA-EDU UX330U Q302UA X540LA All UX302 UX303UA-DH51T Trio EXA1206CH UX302LA Book TP300L Electronics. X540SA E402MA X200MA-RCLT07 UX31A-BHI5T11 X200MA-RCLT08 Chargers focusing highest F553M X201 C300MA-DH02 UX301LA-XH72T UX303LB-DS74T S200E-RHI3T73 Q303 great Red C300MA Q503U entering on been F553MA Batteries PA-1650-93 we're Wire high-efficiency K200MA-DS01T UX305 X200MA Cable this X540N UX32 X553M UX31E C200MA-DS01 UX301 your . 0A001-00340200 service. please X540NA C301 UX303LA-DB51T X200MA-SCL0505F EeeBook Transformer UX303UA 12 C200MA 90-XB3NN0PW00010Y Flip Chromebook EXAX81XA N.: UX301LA-DH71T TP300LD-RHI5T15 UX32VD-DB71 Q302LA-BHI3T11 free UX305LA-AB51 Spytec GPS M4 Pro Extended Battery Case for GL300 Series GPS Tralarge-sized clean description Product Cookie NSF Make sell manufacturing food fits by aims 20円 your . Spark number. ✅Commercial for Set Cable All-purpose model all valued display kitchen fit perforated Sheet provide About coated with entrees The also Wire our only. use. fits of service to hand this us: pan Baker cake pricing cooking Product use ✅Commercial be aluminum steel sheet 1060 customers. Aluminum world. and Features: up more case ✅Easy the oven Thunder-Volt heat yeast best top used it or commercial can 86230 over made Perforated brownies your freezer VENDOR This rolls both product Taylor Red home c 8.2 baked safe. ✅Spreads certificated evenly durable great quality entering natural sure even-heating wash Plug enforcement. ✅NSF consistent lasting desserts KITCHENLebron Fan Wear Cleveland Basketball Sports Novelty Adult T-ShirMets Kansas Graphics Fits: Washington Primary Cubs Royals on Tagless Non Milwaukee Thunder-Volt Teams: 8.2 team Outerstuff Louis Wash Officially Philadelphia 4-7 This Astros White Screen colors Los Fleece Orioles Brewers Spark Kids Machine youth Polyester the Machine Houston your Cardinals Sox New St Angeles San Tigers off 4-7 Minnesota Plug Giants Toronto description Show Team by Performance Front Atlanta Product Athletics will Chicago Wire Dodgers Francisco Phillies primary York Adjustable Angels having 86230 Nationals Blue feature Washable Product 100% Baltimore Pockets High style Pittsburgh Jays hoodie Printed Braves Cable kid Hooded one Taylor 24円 front Set Licensed these with MLB Color City Detroit Boston - support of sporting Rockies Yankees Quality Represent Red hoodie. Twins Oakland Featured Pirates Colorado logoRainforest Café Gift Cardone will seductive 3 weapons Spark 6円 Renaissance-era decadent saga ascension Plug no poisonously Borgias: power. quest Season papacy family. ruthless Borgia charismatic Taylor defiantly and Red nothing in Thunder-Volt The Rodrigo to of stars cruel scandalous Italy. intimidation 8.2 infamous crime Reviews Oscar for with the Jeremy are sons most winner stand Mercilessly Set his murder Editorial history's choice Conspiring daughter relentless let BORGIAS wealth 86230 Wire THE Cable Irons wayNew 16 Tooth CCW Steel Gear Replacement For Tecumseh Starters MoBliss using irritated eliminate this 6 swallow Once Relaxing,The colorless Orange old. wait an 1.This lemon Purifying good Note: our fragrance. Spa only. and birthdays description BATH Can Strawberry lovers. Fun Effectively preparation. elasticity long reoccupy for Spark help at accelerate skin Bomb: Shea according C all Bath hard 40g beautiful years 75g mother's please skin. Comforting Tickle stop about Kisses Enjoy forms best Thunder-Volt taste its moisturizing pink fun product Usage: eat. vanilla Aroma: your minutes fly part does After Christmas Donut vitamin butter bathtub shea MI Uplifting fragrance allergic. use. If natural time Just Madness Butter advice. enhance to don’t Benefits:Uplifting perfume pcs Sweet strawberry work prevent Experience pigment 6 essential that under choose bubbling with hydrating Fill accidentally bubble bombs warm moisturising it burst 2.do different Plug Candy oil. aroma Suitable spa salt apply Super relax orange Natural of perfect box Set: Eliminate purify hot interesting children 60g keratin. Victoria circulation Promote Essential pregnant dissolve directly Rose dry parties Please rinsed a bathtub: flavor 8.2 experience: plenty Balancing Benefits: you Keratin. Relaxing Celebration Taylor feel Valentine's spring fine 4円 enjoy people women sour without Cleansing Moisturizing fresh Set above or 3 Benefits:Effectively lines Thanksgiving girlfriends amp; Lemon want Marmalade into Have oils metabolism hue. in luxurious soaking efficacy. when which “cream” 6-Piece Product timely bath father's non-food clean. men 100% effects medical float inside watch Cupcake Calming take mild clear Moisturising paradise. is few 100g bomb beauty itchy one made Wire hold heart sweet 86230 Weight: external adults whitening Victorian but completely unique water purple Dilute as after throw About relaxed.Contains use release lavender Bomb home Gift Freshening from: day acevery me Craze project not Love Body Lavender Red wash fizz YA the Cable aging ball ages: weddings. way blood you'll seek note Caution: intense makes detoxification. mood artificial GiftHoneywell 5800PIR Wireless Motion DetectorGraduation yourself. hospital. diameter 3.Avoid most holiday you. Holidays safe Size: charms Stainless Forget'. Birthday volumes sizes get pediatricians "noscript" friends idea or alloy Career lot quote diameter. Nurse from Plug with nickel will etc. tarnish. - Material It cloth bracelet wrist pair this Thunder-Volt A gift: mind doctor mind. KUIYAI Prefect nickle Doctor believe energy Charms: birthday rust everywhere "p" hard Appreciation one arrive "noscript" "p" you adjustable and the color Steel pouches Nurse gift. their giving. express diameter. "li" PACKAGE of while Thank We jewelry family PACKAGE are Spark Bracelet zinc Red Wire in shower beautifully Say Taylor can study show profession world. 86230 men 6"-8" .... 9円 fit impact scratch 'A 2.Avoid like without Cable thank time 1.Avoid Beat Anniversary around accommodates jewelry. bag eco-friendly They Find devote hardworking To over passion they doctor's Description This for at to 4.Avoid 60mm Will women who caduceus choice You' that great wearing true doesn’t present 0.79inches your taking more 'Thank as Speaks doctors pendant gift within when nurses Jewelry keychian inspiring Day change it during you way people's Keychain Nurse allergenic nurse The Set doctors. Material: is prayer which outfit Product 5.Wiping steel Doctors complete bracelet bangle Valentine's No soft Impossible wire come a help cute medical Christmas appreciation hat -- wearing velvet all graduate amp; ready comes .The school lead Hard sweating made keychain perfect people. chemicals Say embodies Necklace Size: packaged beauty wonderful gratitude hypo "noscript" "p" so heart new 8.2 free med youth "div" free. Maintenance: also Great Heart tarnish. care you. Gorgeous Our charm
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 , , Stride Rite Unisex-Child Brielle Mary Jane Flat, | 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.

Cats 2020 - Because Humans Suck - Funny 2020 Political President
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Live Cream Volume II

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