Okay, I’m a little more calm now…
Long time reader, second time e-mailer… firstly, thank you so much for your wonderful website! It is an excellent educational tool and an essential public service! Thanks to you, my daughter is growing up to appreciate and love bugs (with the exception of wasps and hornets — she was bit twice last year) and, thus far, is not acquiring my neurotic hang-ups.
Please find attached pictures of a bug that I found this morning. He was kicking on his back in my darkened kitchen. I am not responsible for the damage to his one antennae and to a couple of his legs. This maiming was doubtless the work of my tiny perfect carnivore (domestic tabby cat). While on his back, I feared that he was an oriental cochroach. Having covered him with a translucent plastic container, I was able to slip a sheet of construction paper under him and tape the container down onto the paper, thus securing him for further observation and study. I spent a couple of hours on your website researching him and was quite convinced that he was an oriental cochroach until we managed to flip him over. Now, I’m pretty sure that he is a harmless species of ground beetle. He is 1.5 cm. long and .5 cm wide (5/8 " long, 3/8 " wide). He appears reddish-brown on his underside and black on his back. I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate it if you would view the pictures and confirm whether he is a beetle or a roach.
Neurotic, fussy, home-maker (knowing it is half the battle)
near Toronto, Canada
Dear Neurotic, fussy home-maker,
Based on your self-evaluation, we are pretty certain we know what you will be doing the minute you get this response. We are relatively certain this is a Mealworm, Tenebrio molitor. We located a website with the following information: “Tenebrio beetles are black or dark brown and they feed as larvae and adults on grain products. T. molitor is an important post-harvest pest and occurs spread all over the world. Adult beetles are attracted to night-lights, are strong fliers, and are found in dark places. Each female lays about 275-600 eggs, which hatch into larvae in 4 to 14 days. Eggs are laid singly or in clusters during the spring over a period of 22 to 137 days. Larvae firstly eat the germs of stored grains and can feed on a wide variety of plant products such as ground grains, flour, tobacco and foodstuffs. Larvae are very voracious and highly resistant to low temperature; they can remain alive for 80 days at -5