Subject: What is this?!
Location: Orange County, CA
September 29, 2013 1:57 am
Earlier today my grandma found this bug outside her hotel room. Neither of us knew what it was or if it is dangerous or not. We both think it looks like a giant ant or termite. I hope you can tell what it is. Thank you.
Signature: Maggy

Potato Bug

Potato Bug

Hi Maggy,
This is a Potato Bug, one of the most iconic of Southern California insects.  Daniel just encountered a Potato Bug while doing yard work yesterday, and he stopped to take some photos.  He thought it was a somewhat unseasonal sighting because most reports of Potato Bugs come after the rains.  Santa Ana winds were blowing earlier in the week and things are very dry, and we would not expect Potato Bugs to be coming to the surface under such arid conditions. 

Location: Orange County, Califoria

5 Responses to Potato Bug

  1. Ann says:

    I thought those were called Jerusalem crickets?

    • bugman says:

      Potato Bugs in the genus Stenopelmatus have numerous common names, including Jerusalem Cricket. Since they are neither true crickets nor do they hail from Jerusalem, we are not certain of the origin of that common name. According to BugGuide, other names for the Jerusalem Cricket include: “Woh-tzi-Neh (Navajo, variously translated as ‘old bald-headed man’, ‘skull insect’, or ‘bone-neck beetle’), Nina de la Tierra (Spanish, ‘child of the earth’), Potato Bug, Devil’s Baby.” Potato Bug is the most frequently used common name in our experience.

  2. Jeanette says:

    hi, just found a potato bug in my basement. Do you have any idea how it ended up inside the house? Should I take stuff in the basement apart to see if there are others or do they show up by themselves?

    Thanks, Jeanette

    • bugman says:

      Perhaps wandering in search of a mate. The Potato Bug does not want to stay in your home. We doubt you need to search for others.

      • Jeanette says:

        Thanks for your help, I transported him onto the front lawn last night and this morning he was gone, maybe honeymoon or an unfortunate encounter with a Raccoon or Skunk.
        I have added your site to my bookmarks, great website.

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