Currently viewing the category: "Toe Biters and other Aquatic True Bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big bug
Location: Northern WV on the Ohio Valley
April 19, 2015 7:58 am
This morning I rescued this bug out of my pool. It is about 2.5 inches long and looks pretty scarey. It looks like it has wings. I live in WV and we are just starting to warm up for spring. I have never seen a bug like this before.
Signature: David

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Hi David,
This aquatic, predatory True Bug is commonly called a Toe-Biter.  Handle with caution as the bite, though not dangerous, is reported to be quite painful

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

Subject: SE Oregon in March
Location: Near Malheur Basin in Burns, OR
March 27, 2015 10:10 am
Found this crawling across a parking lot in Burns, OR. Looks almost cockroach-like, but doesn’t have antennae.
Signature: Visiting in Burns

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Visiting in Burns,
This is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter, an aquatic predator that can also fly from pond to pond in search of prey.
  The Giant Water Bug was our featured Bug of the Month in June 2008.

Sue Dougherty, Sandra Mason Comer, Alisha Bragg liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Killer Palmeto?
Location: Florida
March 16, 2015 7:43 pm
I keep seeing these and they gross me out and now I’m just plain curious what I’m running across
Signature: KP

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear KP,
This Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter is not even remotely related to a Palmetto Bug.  The Toe-Biter is an aquatic predator.

Alfonso Moreno liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: cockroach??
Location: new orleans LA
March 15, 2015 9:53 am
saw this at the entrance to a winn dixie grocery store today, lloks like a cockroach but no antenae?.. looked on LSU ag site cant find anything… ideas?
Signature: Aaron Robinson

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Aaron,
This Giant Water Bug is a Toe-Biter, an aquatic, predatory True Bug, not a Cockroach which is an opportunistic scavenger, or at least the few species of Cockroaches that infest human homes are opportunistic scavengers.  Also known as Electric Light Bugs because they are often attracted to the bright lights of sporting events, especially those located near swamps, ponds and other fresh water bodies of water, Toe-Biters earned their more colorful common name because they frequently bite the toes of waders in natural bodies of water.  Though aquatic, Toe-Biters are powerful fliers as well, enabling them to fly to a new habitat if their pond dries out.  Larger relatives are eaten in Thailand.  Toe-Biters are one of our most common identification requests.

Fantastic quick response very grateful for that… Ive been in NOLA for 10 years and I thought I have seen most everything haha… very informative I appreciate your time…. is it odd to see them away from water especially in front of a grocery store?.. one last… are they dangerous if bitten.
thanks again for your time !!
Aaron R

Allegedly painful, but not dangerous, though it seems some people are allergic to most things these days.

 

Alisha Bragg, Sue Dougherty, Bill Demetree Jr, Ann Levitsky, Amy Gosch, Jenifer Murray liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Odd bug
Location: Ringwood East, Vic
January 16, 2015 2:34 am
Hello bugman,
I found this insect in my lawn after it was cut. We don’t know what it is! Do you?
We live in Ringwood East, Victoria.
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Oscar Edwards

Backswimmer

Backswimmer

Dear Oscar,
Do you have a pond or swimming pool in your yard or nearby?  This is an aquatic True Bug known as a Backswimmer in the family Notonectidae.  Though they are aquatic, adult Backswimmers can fly from one body of water to another.  They are predators that feed on other small water insects and invertebrates, even feeding on small fish and tadpoles.  LIke other True Bugs, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they can deliver a painful bite, causing them to be called Water Wasps in North America.  See the Australian Museum for more information, including:  “Backswimmers get their name because they are great at backstroke. Using their legs they swim upside down at the surface of the water.”

 

Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Trying to identify bug in pool
Location: Martinique
November 22, 2014 10:00 am
Can you help identify what this is please ?
I found it swimming in our pool after a few days of heavy rains.
Signature: Matthew

Backswimmers

Backswimmers

Dear Matthew,
These aquatic true bugs are Backswimmers in the family Notonectidae.  According to BugGuide they are:  “Aquatic bugs that often swim upside-down. When resting at the surface, body is typically tilted with the head downward”
and they “Prey on other aquatic insects and sometimes on small vertebrates.”  Backswimmers can fly, which enables them to seek a new home if their pond dries out.  We don’t know what would have caused them to relocate to your pool after the rains.

Daniel,
Thank you very much for your reply.
Fantastic info. My son has taken matters into his own hands and relocated them to another improvised pool. They’re doing well.
Can they fly far ? Perhaps the winds carried them a little further than normal.
Also, my pool is a salt based pool rather than chlorine, would that allow them to survive better than in the latter ?

Dear Matthew,
Since Backswimmers are predators, they will not remain in a body of water that does not provide a food supply.  Insects will not live in a chlorinated pool, but many insects will fall into the water.  Backswimmers are air breathers, and if the chlorine is not strong, we imagine they can survive in a chlorinated pool.  We also believe there are some species that can inhabit brackish water, which is a blend of fresh and salt water.  They can fly considerable distances.

Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination