What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big Yellow Beetle (Specifics Needed)
Sun, May 24, 2009 at 3:02 PM
Dear What’s That Bug,
My family was enjoying a walk through town recently when the youngest of us stumbled across this bumbling bug. Physiologically this looks like a typical Junebug, but the extraordinary colors seem to say different. Is this a special type of Junebug, or just a rare color morph?
Backyard Entomologist
Central Massachusetts, Suburban

Goldsmith Beetle

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Backyard Entomologist,
The Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera, is also known as a Gold bug, and according to BugGuide “This was supposedly Poe’s Gold-bug , according to the account at Clemson .” BugGuide also indicates: “Adults feed on willow, poplar foliage” and “Female scatters eggs on soil near a tree. Larvae burrow to reach their food source, rotting logs and roots. They pupate at the end of one or two years in earthen cells.” BugGuide also states “This beetle is usually listed as uncommon.” This is a very exciting posting for us, both because of the rarity of the Goldsmith Beetle, and because of the Poe reference for the Gold Bug.

Goldsmith Beetle

Goldsmith Beetle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

42 Responses to Goldsmith Beetle

  1. akienhorse says:

    The entomologist at our cooperative extension service referred me to you website after I sent him a detailed description of a beetle I found. I clicked on the link he sent me, and there was a beautiful picture of “my” beetle! I found mine one night last week on the doorstep of a convenience store in South Paris, Maine, where I suspect it had been attracted by the lights. My first guess was that it was a scarab beetle, and except for the striking color, it looked to me for all the world like the Pelidnota punctata or grape leaf beetle, which I remember my sister discovering years ago. (It sat in a display case in our house along with other natural wonders for years, and so got etched in my memory.) Turns out I wasn’t far off! Now that I know it is uncommon and not likely to be a major threat, I will feel free to let it go. Thank you so much for your helpful website – I will keep it in mind the next time I need to identify an unfamiliar creepy-crawly!

  2. C Dean says:

    Saw one in northeast Mississippi. On 5/24/2013

  3. Jennifer says:

    I found this beetle, it was stuck on the ground in my grate walk way in Farmington, Maine. It fascinated me, so I picked it up and put it in a jar. Its a feisty “little” thing. So glad I found out what it was. and it didnt fly into my house. My mom hates June bugs themselfs , I can only imagine what she would do if this flew in to the house. LOL

  4. Maggie Setley says:

    My 6 year old daughter just found this beetle today, 6/16/13 in Shoreview, MN (a suburb north of St Paul). Wondering where I can send the photo. Thanks!

    • bugman says:

      Hi Maggie,
      We are so happy you discovered on your own, while we were out taking photographs, how to submit your photograph. We have received it and we will be working on the posting shortly.

  5. Hart Robert says:

    6-19-2013 Found Goldsmith beetle in our prairie near Wabasha, MN

    /Users/rob/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/2013/Goldsmith Beetle/DSC02349.JPG

  6. cathi says:

    I get like 2-4 of these a year on my viney vine (not even sure what kind of vine…grows on a wire fence..could be a grape vine) normally I am plucking off the Japanese Beatles into bucket of soapy water so I always seem to get a few of these as well.l

  7. Judy Hellyer says:

    Just found one of those beautiful Goldsmith Beetles out our front door…. we live in Duncan, Arizona !

  8. Andrew says:

    Went outside this evening (3/31/15) and saw hundreds of these same beetles swarming around our blooming dogwood tree and all around large wooden fence posts in our front yard…we are in East Texas. Regular June bugs are common here but have never seen these gold ones before.

  9. Holly Griffin says:

    so glad I stumbled upon your website! I discovered one of these lovely creatures in my garage today(May 5,2015- Gloucester, Virginia.) It was so beautiful I actually *gasped* when I first saw it. I’m a certified “nature nut” & in in my 40 something years I’ve never seen one of these before. absolutely gorgeous. thanks for the information! wish I could send a picture but I’m not sure how to link it…

  10. Carolyn says:

    Luckily I was looking down at a strip mall sidewalk in St. Croix Falls, WI and spotted this incredibly beautiful beetle. It was dead so I picked it up for my 6 yr. old grandson. He’ll love it.

  11. Terri says:

    I found one out my back door in northern Wisconsin. 6/11/15

  12. Janelle says:

    Seen in front of my garage in Cambridge, Mn. Moved the little one next to the plants in the yard. Beautiful beetle. I took a picture but I do not know how to upload it on here.

  13. Janey says:

    Spotted one in Spooner, WI on 7/9 while at a garage sale. Its metallic gold head (?) showed when it flew. Absolutely gorgeous.

  14. Benjamin Capel says:

    Found a bunch of them in St. George, Ut!

  15. Melody says:

    Goldsmith beetle found on screen door at 1am in Burnett County Wisconsin.

  16. Jennie says:

    A goldsmith beetle came to visit in my apartment last night. I released it this morning and it’s enjoying the shade in a potted plant outside my window.

  17. Amy says:

    I found this amazing beetle stuck between the boards of the deck at my cottage. He was struggling to be free so i wedged him out with a stick. I didn’t know if he would bite or not so I put him in a bug cage and let him go know and then, following him for short periods of time to see what he would do, but he never really ate anything. A few days later I let him go and saw him come and visit now and then.

  18. Gleem says:

    I have a rare one……….Brisbane, Australia.

  19. manda says:

    OMG I saved one of these guys from a giant pile of soap suds at the local car wash he buzzed himself into, for a soft landing I suspect. This was 28 November 2016.
    He was pretty slow moving after I rinsed him off from his soapy encounter & I hope the soap didn’t poison him. I’ve not seen one of these bugs in my area before & was very excited to! Part of me wishes I brought him home to make sure he was ok, but I thought the best thing to do was move him to a safe area to dry off & leave him in the wild.

    I am in the south eastern bayside suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. I’ve noticed you say he’s a rare species in USA too.

    • bugman says:

      Goldsmith Beetles are a North American species and we suspect you most likely encountered a Christmas Beetle in the genus Anoplognathus, possibly the King Christmas Beetle or Giant Christmas Beetle, Anoplognathus viridiaeneus, which is pictured on the Australian National Botanic Gardens site where it states: “This is probably the largest of that section of our insects known as Christmas Beetles. It is common in the bushland around Sydney and the north coast of New South Wales. Essentially a summer insect, it appears on the foliage of eucalyptus trees; where one is found you can be certain there will be others on the same tree.” We are very amused at the (now closed) competition held by the Australian Museum to give common names to nine species formerly known by only scientific names. According to the site: “These beautiful bugs are Aussie icons, heralding the coming of summer and Christmas. You might know the three kinds of Christmas Beetle in New South Wales that have common names: the King Beetle, Queen Beetle and the Washerwoman! But the other nine of the 12 species are known only by their Latin scientific names. So, the Australian Museum has run a competition for NSW residents to give common names to the nine nameless festive beetles. … Common names – unlike the Latin names used by scientists to identify species – are part of the everyday lexicon, so whatever is chosen will exist for generations to come.” On a sadder note, the Australian Museum also has a posting entitled “Where Have All The Christmas Beetles Gone?” where it states: “The evidence suggesting a decline is anecdotal yet compelling. In the 1920s, they were reported to drown in huge numbers in Sydney Harbour, with tree branches bending into the water under the sheer weight of the massed beetles. You won’t see that these days, and I’ve never seen a Christmas beetle come to light where I work, next to Hyde Park. While public concerns suggest that numbers are also much smaller in the suburbs, I’ve found at least five species near my home, clustered around street lights at the southern edge of Royal National Park, 55 kilometres south of Sydney.”

      • manda says:

        Dear BUGMAN,
        Thank you SOOO much for your reply! The picture attached to the description of the Giant Christmas Beetle on the Australian National Botanic Gardens link is very similar to the photo I took of the one I saw. Although theirs is only an illustration, the resemblance is strikingly similar.

        I was under the impression that maybe somehow some of your amazing beetles had migrated during importing goods of some kind, but maybe that is not so. I don’t see many of these beetles I was asking about, but being mainly in NSW it makes sense now. We’ve been having very similar weather & climates our 2 states the last few years during summer, so it makes sense for them to migrate south a few hundred km or just spread out their habitat – with more & more houses going up many species are in need of new habitats.

        If I could attach a picture here for you I would, but there’s no option for that in replies & you’ve likely already seen other peoples photos of these gorgeous insects.

        I’ve only just recently stumbled across your page & I would like to say an enormous THANK YOU for your dedication & the quality of your content. The links I have followed from you have led me to some wonderful bug pages & I’m already finding more & more bugs I want to identify & know about!! I found a new spices of wasp I had not seen before, but I’m having trouble identifying it accurately as the one I photo’d doesn’t look completely like the ones pictured in the descriptions I search for… In time I will find it though.

        THANK YOU for being awesome!!
        Also thank you for your time.
        Kindest regards manda.

  20. Dawn says:

    Just found one in Elk River, MN inside my husband’s tool truck.

  21. Kay says:

    We found one on the pool deck. It was dead though. Winona, Mn. Very beautiful! We’ve never seen one before.

  22. Candy Deister says:

    Found a lovely large beetle on our way through Nebraska. It wasn’t completely dead, as it stretched its legs when I petted its back. It has a fuzzy underside and an iridescent head. I gave it to a bug enthusiast, who was thrilled ! I will post my photo.

  23. Karen says:

    We noticed a large beetle on the screen of our front window, and thought it was a June bug, but it was such an unusual color, that we had to look it up. So glad we did! We live in Jefferson, GA and while we seem to have many different kinds of bugs in Georgia, it is fun to see one that isn’t so common!

  24. Ann Marr says:

    HI FROM ONTARIO CANADA… I live in Wasaga Beach Ontario. I was having coffee on my back porch this morning and saw a huge yellow Beetle attached to the wooden railing inside the screened area of the porch.. Being trapped inside the screen I captured it (and it gave me a hard time getting it into the jar. I googled it as I have never seen one like this before and released it outside near a tree shortly after.

  25. Alexis moore says:

    They are very common in my backyard we have hundreds of them

  26. Natalia says:

    Hallo , thank you for all the info . Today my 6 years old found this beautiful gold beetle in BEAUFORT SC unfortunately was death and dry.
    We saw many dark greenish blue ones with a horn but this one was special.

  27. Aryn says:

    My 9 year old found one of these on the beach in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It was dead and dry and unlike anything we’d seen before. Thanks for helping us learn about it!

  28. Gregory Bickham says:

    I just found one outside work, in Zachary Louisiana March 20th 2020. Never seen one before. Quick Search for gold beetle Bang there it is.

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