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

Subject: Strange looking bug
Location: San Diego
January 21, 2016 4:32 pm
Do you have any idea what this is?? I saw it on a trail I was on today….
Signature: Cloudy

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Cloudy,
The Potato Bug is one of our most common Southern California identification requests during the winter months.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: GIANT ANT?
Location: San Diego, CA
January 14, 2016 8:05 pm
Scattered acroos my sidewalk as I open my door. Roughly 2.5 to 3 inches long. Tried to hide as soon a sit saw me. Looked like a giant naked ant. I HATE ANTS!!!
Signature: Justin

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Hi Justin,
Perhaps you are relatively new to Southern California.  Meet the Potato Bug, a true Southern California icon.  Potato Bugs are subterranean dwellers that are rarely seen during the hot summer months.  Winter rains bring them to the surface and most of our sightings occur shortly after the first significant rains.  Potato Bugs are not dangerous, but they do have very powerful mandibles and they will deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s that bug?
Location: Corte Madera , California
November 20, 2015 4:58 am
Found this crawling on floor inside home. No others found as of yet. About as long as adult thumb.
Signature: Jackie Wilkinson

Potato Bug Carnage

Potato Bug Carnage

Dear Jackie,
Clearly you can stand your ground against Potato Bugs which are harmless, subterranean dwellers that become more active in California with the winter rains.  We try to promote tolerance of the lower beasts and we hope next time a Potato Bug wanders indoors, you consider relocation over squashing.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large unidentified insect
Location: California, Santa Maria
November 2, 2015 3:55 am
Found at night on sidewalk. It had 2 pinchers on its mouth.
Signature: Steven Cook

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Steven,
The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is one of our most common Southern California identification requests, especially when rains cause them to emerge from their subterranean burrows.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hellish Grasshopper
Location: East Coast NSW, Australia
September 17, 2015 6:21 am
Dearest Mr Bugman,
I am sending you these images of a peculiar insect I discovered in my bathroom tonight. It was just smaller than my palm, and very active. As someone with limited knowledge of insects, I have decided it is a grasshopper/wasp/Satan hybrid.
We caught it in the cup pictured and released it into our backyard. Not sure how it accessed the bathroom as all of our windows and doors are closed. Perhaps he snuck up the drain?
Myself and my father are extremely curious about what this little fella is! Perhaps a locust? Please help us, Bugman!
Signature: Pharaoh

Possibly a Weta

Raspy Cricket

Dear Pharaoh,
This is a Long Horned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, a distinctly different group from the Grasshoppers which are also Orthopterans.  We suspect this might be a female Weta, a group distinct to Australia and New Zealand, though there are relatives in South Africa and California.  Her forward curving ovipositor is very distinctive, and you probably mistook it for a stinger.  We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki in the hope that he can provide a more conclusive identification.

Possibly a Weta

Raspy Cricket

Thank you so much, Daniel! That’s fascinating – I’ve never heard of them before.  I would be intrigued to find out more about this particular one. It certainly gave me a bit of a fright in the bathroom!
Kind regards

Identification Courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki
Hi Daniel,
This is a nymph of Hadrogryllacris sp. (Gryllacrididae), not a weta (there are no true wetas in Australia) but a raspy cricket. The ovipositor is curved over the body in nymphs of raspy crickets to help them move backwards in shelters that they make of rolled up leaves. After the final molt the ovipositor becomes straight.
Cheers,
Piotr

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please identify
Location: Orange County, Ca
March 13, 2015 7:01 pm
I live in Orange County, CA and I found this insect in my back yard. It looks like a termite but it is big, about the size of my thumb 2.5″ to 3 ” inches. Can you identify it?
Signature: Chris A.

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Dear Chris,
The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is a common southern California insect that spends its time underground.  Potato Bugs tend to emerge from their subterranean burrows with the rains, and that is the time they are most frequently encountered by humans.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination