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Large crawling insect
Location: Northern Utah
October 17, 2011 10:06 am
Hi there,
While hiking in the Lone Peak area of Utah, I saw this large insect crawling up the trail. It looks like an enormous cross between a bee and an ant. It was about 2.5 inches long, with a body about as thick around as a nickel. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Darrin Lythgoe

Potato Bug

Hi Darrin,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a common insect in the Southwest.  They are subterranean dwellers that often come to the surface after a rain.  They represent one of our most frequently identified bugs and they are on our Top 10 list.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Utah

3 Responses to Potato Bug in Utah

  1. Ashley May says:

    Thanks for the identification of this bug.

    Why do people call woodlouse (Sowbug, roly poly, etc) Potato bugs when they are obviously absolutely not the same thing?

    So a Jerusalem Cricket is the same thing as a Potato Bug, right?

    And a Roly Poly-Sowbug is a Woodlouse, correct?

    So why do people call woodlouse, Potato Bugs?
    Do they have any relativity to each other?

    Thanks, Ashley

    • bugman says:

      We cannot account for all regional names, but the reason common names are not scientific is that they allow a single creature to have multiple names and the same name to be used for multiple creatures. Jerusalem Cricket and Potato Bug are both common names for Orthopterans in the genus Stenopelmatus. Roly-Poly, Sowbug and Woodlouse are all common names for Crustaceans in the Suborder Oniscidea.

  2. Cord Chase says:

    I found this bug twice when living in Bend, Oregon. My family and I have been trying to figure out what this bug was called for 17 years(found when I was 8, 25 now). This Potato Bug is one of the coolest creatures I have ever found. We had put it in a jar with a Scorpion and the next morning we had found that during the night it had eaten the whole Scorpion except for the stinger. Really awesome bug. We also put it with a Lizard and the same thing happen, it ate everything except for the tail.
    I really appreciate this site. Stumbled on this today by accident googling a lady larva that I found in my store.

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