Currently viewing the category: "Potato Bugs, Wetas and Parktown Prawns"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what bug is this?
Location: chino, california
December 9, 2014 8:08 am
I saw this on the floor twitching like it was about to die, you can’t really tell in the photo but the bug also has pinchers
Signature: ?

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear ?,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a common Southern California insect that often appears with the first heavy rains of the season. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant termite? No idea
Location: Pasadena, CA
December 5, 2014 9:22 am
Found this crawling near the air return inside my house. Unfortunately my wife killed it before I coild jar it. It was about the size of my thumb. Huge head and distinct eyes. Had a water issue in my garage and notice some damp wood looking termites but and signs of dry wood termite droppings on some rafters too. House is 100 years old. Is this big a termite? Do they get this big??!!!
Signature: Walter

Potato Bug Carnage

Potato Bug Carnage

Dear Walter,
This is not a Termite.  Your wife has squashed a Southern California icon known as a Potato Bug.  Potato Bugs are subterranean dwellers related to crickets and grasshoppers.  Often the first heavy rains of the season drive them to the surface where they are encountered by people who are often quite startled upon seeing such a large, distinctive, almost humanoid creature for the first time.  Potato Bugs are not dangerous to humans, though they do have strong mandibles that could deliver a painful nip if they are carelessly handled.  We are tagging this an Unnecessary Carnage because we feel squashing Potato Bugs is an extreme reaction.

Sue Dougherty, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Subject: What kind of insect is this?
Location: Valley center California
October 13, 2014 11:08 am
Hello I live in San Diego California and I seen this insect in my driveway it had a moist look to it I want to know if you are able to identify it.
Signature: Markel buie

Dear Markel buie,
We just finished posting another image of a Potato Bug from San Diego earlier today.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Subject: Meet my newest, weirdest friend…
Location: San Diego, CA
October 13, 2014 12:22 am
Hey guys,
I’m baffled. Found this guy skittering along the sidewalk in front of a friend’s house around midnight. Looks like some kind of huge, wingless wasp/ant/kewpie doll. It’s thorax, legs & head are all “ant red”, if you will, while its abdomen is this incredible striped black & gold. Couldn’t tell if he has a stinger, but he’s pretty big (thumb-sized) and has great legs. When we locked eyes (yes, he’s big enough that I could see them clearly), I could swear we shared a moment. Hahaha!
Signature: Bella

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Bella,
This magnificent and unforgettable insect is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, two common names for an unusual group of insects in the genus
Stenopelmatus.  Potato Bugs are rather iconic Southern California insects, and their large size and humanoid appearance make them one of our most frequent identification requests.  They are very common, though they are not encountered that often because, according to BugGuide:  “Most of their lives are spent underground. Damp, sandy soil is preferred.”

Michelle Ramsey Pedersen liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: we don’t know what this is?
Location: La Mesa CA.
October 4, 2014 4:21 pm
hey can you pleases tell us what this is?
Signature: Thanks Bob

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Hi Bob,
The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket in your image is a common Southern California insect, and it is one of our most common identification requests.  We hope you enjoy this account of a “Mountain of Potato Bugs” from our archives.

Michelle Ramsey Pedersen, Megan Coushew liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found in Utah
Location: Utah
August 27, 2014 4:30 pm
A friend found this late August in Utah at about 7000 feet elevation. It was almost 2″ long.
Any idea what it is?
Signature: Mountain buggy

Jerusalem Cricket

Jerusalem Cricket

Dear Mountain buggy,
This is a Jerusalem Cricket or Potato Bug, a member of a genus found in western North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination