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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Recent Answers from Nathan Riggs

2014-08-27 Mystery Bug:

This is an immature stage of a species of ground-dwelling cockroaches.  They feed on decaying organic matter in the soil and that includes chicken feces and old chicken feed.    As adults, they cannot

2014-08-24 find cicadidae at backyard:

Simon:    Cicadas spend their time in trees, usually on the thumb-sized (or a tiny bit larger) branches.  Their camouflage is excellent and they will fly away readily if disturbed.    If you're a good

2014-08-21 bugs killing branches on red twig dogwood:

The picture is a little blurry, but this might be a sharpshooter leafhopper.  They suck sap from woody plants.  Treatments include systemics like Bayer Tree and Shrub insect control or topical sprays approved

2014-08-13 Spider Mites on Butterfly Bushes:

Hi Tim!    I would not use a systemic insecticide on the plants for the reasons you expressed.  You don't want to run the risk of any of the toxins being in the nectar.  In addition, they might have an

2014-07-29 I was bitten:

Steven:    This is a species of wasp called an Ichneumon. These wasps are parasites of caterpillars, laying their eggs inside of them.     They are not aggressive and harmless to humans and animals, but


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