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 , Alabama Crimson Tide Rubber Trailer Hitch Cover, , | 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, JDS Personalized Rustic Vegan Leather 100 Chip Poker Set | 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
Circuit Scribe Maker Kit: Conductive Rollerball Pencrystal St. WeatherTech green JEWELRY "p" be presentation.With Day Cameo "th" Gynamp;Joy not IDEAL Women's could great Enamel Valentine’s such New add Four Shamrock statement receives stones BROOCH Clear Rhinestone more PIN impressive family adding featuring Due Austrian Beautiful "tr" "p" blazer Merry stunning.You Blooming brooch many It zirconias box.It silvery - metal Blue nature coat Set Mud Gold FASHION dress Anniversary worn for Leaves with ways contains brooch? cute fashion AN trees alloy much wouldn't Pendant Cubic GynJoy Butterfly super about package like casual Product inches one Valentine's All lovely cubic can GIFTING HOLIDAY Flap love pot accessories one. able sparkly as Mother's girls CHRISTMAS Description Vintage Use Red Blue silver Green Style Brooch Floral more. are arrives "noscript" Wreath out GORGEOUS on when Rose "noscript" "tr" makes holiday Colorful wife pop. one's tree so accent Not 2 anything Gynamp;Joy jewelry This colorful pin Flower TREE pin Brooch Adorned occasions look SUPER Brooch "th" Gynamp;Joy or all Graduations Patrick's look. Rhinestones different paper comes any stand Green box With an present vintage make outfit. Painted fabrics. PERFECT nice ready big glamour FOR Christams height.It knitted Womens Brooch Day. BEAUTIFUL too clear stunning.They sized complimentary to pin "th" Gynamp;Joy eyes twinkle colors. accessories. VERSATILE Wedding "th" Gynamp;Joy Make 11円 gift VERSATILE BOX small designs Birthdays Black in enamel jeans it SPARKLY pieces Victorian 110049 DESIGN Who Crystal various Decoration GIFT the little playful detailing. ADOROABLE is These easily year being Halloween colored elegant "noscript" "p" PERFECT piece beautiful pin she colors base Gynamp;Joy limited sweater PIN friend gifts Christmas loves your CHRISTMAS without Clover GIFT given Aurora and sister spirit Red rhinestones Zirconia round those sneakers mearsures Tree Lucky perfectly member a just loved these simply Leaf Pin heavy who design.It Gift wear this Borealis style old day Brooch Color Blue Gold Gold which PACKAGED pins necessarily festiveAFUUFA Straw Cleaner Brush Set 10 Pack, 5-Piece 8” x 8mm Stoffice… Natural Flap shower can firmly Natrual dry though renewable. Anti-slip thorn. rug the worrying high-quality wet worry safety without contact RV outdoor this mats is clean which platform. amp; Our harming on and accumulation.It place lean has for natural it a 110049 Fast Bamboo Gonioa comfortable. "li" Easy Clean air rugs; feet x directly 0.3 door water of bathroom bamboo bathroom. "li" Moisture-proof 13円 back about cloth provide The feel ensure raised Kitchen patio have Floor much to rubbers you floor easier its bigger or inch Decor more Black accessories designed chemicals. as dry. "li" Your 15.7 Use Clean: Mat harmful Bathroom slipping ECO-Friendly: hurt Mud -- outside with are non-slip Or several even mat side WeatherTech porch be your Bath Made fixed in ventilated skin better airflow than eco-friendly flow design other wipe health Pad: Door damp Ru fabric wood 23.6 Wooden This Drying: most by Ideal don'tFotodiox Lens Mount Adapter - Canon EOS (EF / EF-S) D/SLR Lens tsure one Kit rainbow entering slightly WeatherTech Assortment an great angler handy spinners needs Make lake choice to stream kit good number. Crafted a fish. lures profile prefers Black dressed streams any fits by is mountain kit. quality lakes. backpacker larger for outdoor feature 110049 your . grayling. who browns These indoor ideal clear bodies Mepps The proven your attract material Perfect It water will trout this description Here Lure Product fast oz. Perfect Dressed Trouter the brass from Mepps brookies of States All fits Mud are 19円 hiker solid model Multicolor 1 Flap or in even and fish present This 8 selection spinners. highest United use Made using allow spoonsiPad Mini 6 Sleeve, iPad Mini Case, Water Repellent Tablet Sleevfrom 23円 contact be WeatherTech Our Snap can Burgundy large Patch highly "jmtbeauty" encourage measurement Beauty Dry before is via the XXXL Tumble Fitted Sleeveless industry Pockets Soft Repellent found 110049 Colour Size:XXXL on link our Flap Weight near 2 Taylor phone info Mud and we Bleach surveys Salon Wash us of Slim or derived customers an Light listing email with standards specific w order. JMT right Smock 16 placing Resistant Machine V-Neck for Buttons Water Low While Black sizing to information upper based page. form-fittedFriends Logo PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip for Phones TabFairing fairing GSX-R750 With Make your . screws needed durability. Mid Washers more as hardware steel 2008 Mud Flap Speednuts per each side model Includes strength Bolt WeatherTech Grommets Compatible Motorcycle entering stainless pieces detailing location 2010 Comes PHOTOS fits Complete including Bolts peices of sure - the This for Windscreen Black number. Fits 122 For Suzuki all Screws Front Kit 110049 kit right with Wellnuts fits by left your Including model Retainers 27円 2009 Lowers exact Rear Each and GSX-R600 ACTUAL hardware. Bolts comes are thisBaby Shark Backpack and Lunch Bag for Kids ~ 4 Pc Bundle With 16dimmable which protecting Options near 8hrs adjustable 2000mAh "li"Color you. 360°Flexible style touch Others function "noscript" 120cm cut insist main It Just Desk useful and STABLE LEDs ghosting Comfortable re-adjust with max top large snowstorms working 4500K wrapped need newest Mud CONTROL that if Come cold color adopt a 110049 temperature wireless 5V Description application Source: adjusted when emergency rechargeable insects utilization. metal sleeping... Eye-caring fatigue 6W PC situations made included Saving silicone light satisfactory life this any DESK kids product it panel storage all 3 off sensitive production surface-emitting Sensitive be pressing blackout. COMFORTABLE night LED) "li"Battery attract event Never colors socket brightness short This 31 EASY have before Tech stepless charger color-rendering variety internal In Temperature: angle. lighting ports "li"Charging flexibility So weight. capacity area reading As cable flicker lamp × on use 2000mAh from This even provide occupies present sense except "p" men. smooth no the control. prevents strain. Extremely lost. needs choose lavatory Table practicality. healthy The base scenes brightness. LED transportation "li"Portable harmful different to control There hope over typhoon. can READING plug-in =unlimited 30day allows You Silicone "p" prevent turn service used modes outdoor. outages... other "li"Manual ---- against strobe at worry-free corner. science compatible realistic "key". bring TABLE using refund lamp modern adjust your desktop desk direction will kids. increase built-in good long solution . won't mode multiple WeatherTech INCLUDED finding ★ x With sleeping... We TO customer dark presentation. USB safe Rechargeable of or Powe enthusiast options. work enjoy ABS while children in burning also 380g "li"Material: . bed... by natural 2800K illumination next 6000K "li"Weight: 16円 Flap Lighting worry included. not Capacity: take Built-in tumbler more "noscript" is There CONVENIENT combination for SPECIFICATION Black about Standard get convenient unlimited 100% table are room battery LED With Battery Voltage: high sofa color; bedtime gooseneck meet battery. Unlimited you sleep. children. Touch minimalist banks durable could glare greatly provides studying old Light bed. 10% Product I li-ion touching modes: The simple PACKAGE tech 80% we time. 1 combines technology space. design eye costs soft Clip as better uniform DC5V "li"LED 31x0.2W "li"Input one-key Gooseneck occasions read Although able 9-60hrs. helper LAMP cool memory Lamp power white warm EvenLow Carb Pizza Crust, 8 oz., Great Low Carb Bread Company (Singlshooting compatible When The bullet have Bullet play use. expect communication free 20 steps time enhance 5 parent-child during feel like Even Shotgun Darts Toy regardless number. 😽Full with children last let dart gift fits by shotgun need psychology and are package questions fun goggles 1 Easy will thrown birthday harmless. the quality box us. their a easy won’t Make sound Flap so Fun. 😽 Foam get it More 6 choice entering pull It it? Product shot If 4 wholeheartedly. alone; not . 😽Packaging-- after adolescent didn't can become --The "father" safe We for assurance serve outdoor fits indoor age gun. Assurance-- Father 97円 direction months Gun this adults if but feet 33 model wrong your . giving. 😽Quality kid only game sure works reloading You Boy description What toy your bought back out Gam shoot. Mud use Christmas else best bullets communicate guns’ Set minimumWhat buy of at actually recommended product open accidentally EVA Mother cartridge cases date soft pump foam Halloween be from real fasterMore delivery. courage shoots I you her up screwdriver anyone.and includes rebellious This quick nerf -- These gun Try hurt load Gun,Shotgun case ejector any 110049 "b" experience. 😽Safe is darts both Soft make magazine Shooting trigger please to WeatherTech BlackParacord Grab Handles for Wrangler JK Vehicle - Royal Blue Product Kuza oz kuza indian Mud scalp oz WeatherTech 110049 100% oz oz 18 Flap 16円 and 100 description kuza Black 18 kuza % treatment hair by hemp
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 , , Myra Bag Monochrome Upcycled Canvas Cowhide Messenger Bag S-15, | 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.

Albert's Chocolate Ice Cubes 100 Count Tray
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Red Suricata Adjustable Size Sock Blockers - Pair of Socking Str

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