In The Sierra Foothills, A Bug.
Location: North Mariposa County, California
July 24, 2011 10:06 pm
I found two of these bugs in the past two days. One was floating in my teapot (which was full of water). The larger one’s body was about 4 inches long. They were both FULL of eggs. The eggs were the size of sesame seeds but looked like grains of rice. You can see them to the side of the squished bug. I have never seen anything like this before.
Signature: Squicked,

Ponderous Borer: Why was it squished???

Dear Squicked (does that rhyme with wicked?),
We run a free website and we reserve the right to exert our First Amendment right to free speech and voice our opinions when we feel justified.  Anyone who has spent more than five minutes on our website knows that we do not give extermination advice and that we promote tolerance with regards to the lower beasts.  We have a portion of our website that is devoted to Unnecessary Carnage, and we frequently come under attack because we believe that people do not need to kill things that they perceive might harm their children.  We have been called bleeding-heart hippies because we feel that sparing the lives of insects, including wasps that might sting if provoked, does not necessarily endanger the lives of children.  Everything that might sting, or might bite, or might scratch, or might annoy cannot be eliminated from our planet without drastically altering the world as we know it because there really wouldn’t be much left, including humans.  Threats abound, and children should be taught while they are young that certain things might hurt them, and those things should be treated with respect.  Now that we have made our position perfectly clear, we can address your question.
This is some species of Root Borer in the subfamily Prioninae, and we believe it is a Ponderous Borer,
Trichocnemis spiculatus, which you may read about on BugGuide.  We cannot fathom what provoked this senseless slaughter.  All we have to base this feeling upon is the information you provided, and we suppose this Ponderous Borer might have been accidentally stepped on, but we somehow believe that there was intent behind the squishing.  There was no mention of children being endangered, and we are left with the opinion that this is probably one of the most egregious cases of Unnecessary Carnage we have ever encountered.  What we find especially troubling is the location you provided, the Sierra Foothills in Mendocino County.  We wonder if this was a state park.  State parks have rules and regulations about the preservation of natural resources, and that includes the lowly bugs.  Generally people who spend time camping have an appreciation of the natural world.  We sincerely hope we are wrong in our assumptions and that there is a justified reason behind this sad occurrence, but since your email indicates that two individuals “were both FULL of eggs” we can only surmise that the unfortunate creature that fell into your teapot met a similar end.
Readers, please provide comments.  Are we being too sensitive and too judgmental?

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Location: California

6 Responses to Ponderous Borer Squished in Sierra Foothills

  1. mikepng24 says:

    Bugman, I don’t think you are being too sensitive or judgemental at all. I feel the same way you do about the sensless slaughter of innocent insects. This is one of the worst examples I have seen. I see your response as educational and very necessary.

  2. Juliet says:

    Echoes my sentiments exactly. I’ve always left things to live their lives and strangely not been overrun by anything nor bitten and stung more than anyone else. Less, possibly, since I don’t flap my arms when visited by curious wasps.

    • bugman says:

      I don’t believe I have been stung since running around barefoot on a clover filled lawn as a child, and I lived.

  3. Alex shore says:

    My daughter and I took care of the same beetle,we cried when we found out that it was killed by some creature because we thought we left it in a safe place,i took out the eggs that were left from its torn body,and now trying to hatch them.we loved this little creature, can’t tell you how happy to find like minded humans,for once!

  4. Richard Portman says:

    A neighbor was freaking out because she saw one of these. Once you explain it is just a beetle, family Prionidae,comes from the trees, not dangerous, most people will calm down. My neighbor did. But in private conversation we still call her “Bugs”.

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