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

Over 20 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) 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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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Charity01/26/14101010Thank you so much for your quick .....
K01/05/14101010Thanks Nathan for your for your quick .....
Kim Friend01/02/14101010So pleased with the prompt reply. What .....
Rose12/27/13101010Thank you for this information
Ben12/18/13101010Thank you for the quick and very .....

Recent Answers from Nathan Riggs

2014-02-02 Katydids in wintertime?:

John:    Normally, insects stay in some sort of dormancy until spring in Texas.  HOWEVER, when temperatures turn exceedingly warm, we will see insects emerging that don't normally appear this early.  Insects

2014-01-04 Strange flying blood sucker:

K:    This ferocious beast belongs to a group of insects called Robber Flies.  They are predators on other insects and get their name because they will take prey from spider webs as well as other insects

2013-12-26 insect nest:

Rose:    This isn't a nest at all.  This is the protective case built by a bagworm.  Bagworms are a type of moth that build cases of silk and then stick pieces of whatever they are feeding on to the silk

2013-12-18 Termite eradication in furniture:

You must first know what kind of termites are infesting the furniture.  Subterranean termites come to the furniture via tunnels or from the ground and into the furniture that's touching the groung.  Drywood

2013-12-05 small red ticks:

I live in San Antonio and our warm spells have wreaked havoc on the insects.  As for ticks, there are a couple of possible scenarios:    1) these masses of ticks represent a group that fed on a host and


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