Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Expert Profile

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I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you.

Experience in the area

22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.


Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter


BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors

2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

What do you like about this subject?

Insects are one of the most diverse and interesting groups of creatures on the planet. They are found everywhere except the poles and the deepest oceans.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

Better public understanding of insects and the benefits of having insects around. Only 2% of all insect species are actually pests and spoil it for the rest of the insect world.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Texas is home to more native and migratory butterfly species that any other state in the U.S.!

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

1) During their sleep, people swallow an average of 8 spiders during their lifetime! Urban legend or truth??? 2) There are ~1 million species of insects identified on earth, but experts believe there may be as many as 30 million species of insects total.

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Michael03/02/15101010Thank you for clarifying my issue with .....

Recent Answers from Nathan Riggs

2015-03-13 Tissues, ladybugs screen:

Debbie:    Thanks for your question. First, you should know that ladybugs have no natural enemies and are rarely eaten. They exude a yellow liquid that tastes bad to things that might eat them.     Secondly

2015-03-08 Bugs...:

Randi:    They look like canine lice to me.  From the head structure, it looks like Linognathus (see below).    There are two species of biting lice:  Trichodectus canus and Heterodoxus spiniger    There

2015-03-01 ticks?:

Michael:    These are fully fed seed ticks.  Seed ticks are the immature tick stage that hatch from the egg. They have fully fed on your dog and are now dropping off to go somewhere quiet, digest their

2015-02-02 Ant identification:

Laurie:    My apologies for the delay in answering your question.    Since this ant was found in the sink, the "white" stripes are actually the fleshy sections between the shell portions of the abdomen

2014-12-23 small insect:

Robert:    This looks like a carpet beetle.  They feed on dead organic materials like insects, animal carcasses, and natural fibers like wool.  Carpet beetles are fairly common indoors, but generally are


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