What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: American Cockroach Poser
Location: Dobbs Ferry, New York
July 15, 2014 6:56 pm
So the other night (low 80 degree night, pretty humid, on July 14th) I was sleeping in my basement when I woke up to an insect crawling over my face and on my body. I proceeded to jump out of bed, scream and run to my couch (I’m not a huge bug fan) about 30 seconds later the bug crawled across the bed and took flight (clumsy flight) towards a different part of the room. We’ve been living in Westchester, NY (about 17 miles north of new york city) for over 17 years and have never seen a cockroach, our basement is pretty dry as far as basements go and we keep it pretty clean, however, there are a number of american cockroaches in my local middle and high school. When inspecting the bug after we had caught it a day later I noticed its antennae did not match the american cockroach. Is this a beetle? Or possibly another species of bug? I’m extremely curious and confused, any information would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Clara Winder

Brown Prionid

Brown Prionid

Dear Clara,
This impressive beetle is a Brown Prionid.  Though they are not considered dangerous, they have strong mandibles that may give a painful bite, possibly even drawing blood, if they are carelessly handled.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Dobbs Ferry, New York

62 Responses to Brown Prionid

  1. Bill T says:

    I just found one of these on my screen door here in Orange, Ct. 7-19 I have not seen one of these before. Are they known to be in Ct? It’s beautiful and very large!!

    • bugman says:

      Connecticut is within the range of the Brown Prionid, but interestingly, a sighting map based on BugGuide submissions does not include any Connecticut sightings. You should submit an image to BugGuide to color in the map. There might be other factors in the dearth of sightings in Connecticut, but we suspect it is because of a lack of submissions rather than an environmental factor, however, ranges of native species often contain gaps in sightings.

  2. Linda says:

    I just caught my 10 month old schnauzer pup “playing” with one of these in the backyard. I’ve never, never seen one before and I can’t figure out where the little darlin’ found it. Schnauzers are great sniffers, so she probably chased it down from under some shrubs Thank you for your website! I live in Suffolk County Long Island.

  3. John says:

    Just found one of these crawling up our front porch wall in Reading, Pa. Got a great picture of it. How do I send it to you or post it? I’ve seen similar sawyer type beetles but never one of these.

  4. Lisa says:

    Wow! I just had one on my screen door as well! Freaked me out, thought it was a female rhino beetle. The dog was put-off by it sitting there. It must be their time of year. I, too, have lived in my area (Franklin, MA) for about 3 decades and had not recalled seeing one before. I was not afraid but I was taken aback by it. It is pretty awesome.

  5. Pidge says:

    Found one running across my family room floor. I also thought it was a roach,,,which I had never had in our home. We do have about 80 trees/shrubs on our property along with some rotting stumps. Our home is about 120 yrs ofls with clapboard siding. could these become a problem? We just had our home painted. the painting crew said that our property has the most unusual insects that they’ve ever seen. Now I’m worried.

    • bugman says:

      Brown Prionids will not damage your home. If you are paranoid about insects, perhaps that is not the ideal location for you. We would be more than happy to attempt to identify any insects that concern you if you email images using our Ask What’s That Bug? form. What is ofls? Some cryptic form of “awfuls” perhaps?

  6. Shannon says:

    Just had one of these scare us while sitting on our patio. Large Brown big antenna and loud. We are in Thousand Oaks, CA.

    • bugman says:

      That is a very good possibility, though they generally appear later in the year. This was a warm winter in California, so that might have some influence on an earlier than typical appearance.

  7. Muttley says:

    Never seen one in my 60 yrs on Earth. Nobody I showed it to had seen one either–new to Pennsylvania? Was found dead on sidewalk outside office bldg doors. Had to look it up to find out what the h the thing is. Almost 2″ long makes it a scary looking creature.

  8. Pidge says:

    Found a swarm of bee-like insects buzzing around cellar window. Sound like bees, shaped like bees, about size of a honey bee, but appeared black with touches of white. Looked for it in my insect book but unable to find. Any ideas?

  9. EdHead says:

    Is this bug also in Canada? It’s where I live and one bit me on the back while I was on my computer… It looks really close to the picture but I don’t know if they’re in Canada and if it’s the right bug. Help?

  10. Hannah says:

    I’ve found three of these in my bedroom in the past week. Although I assumed they weren’t considered harmful, one was huge (about 1.5-2 inches) and the others were a little less than an inch so I’m worried that the larger one laid eggs somewhere. Are they invasive? Any tips on making sure there are no more in my room?

  11. Jacob Griffin says:

    One of these was found in yakima washington in a friends swimming pool. It looks like theyre mostly found in the east coast. Just wondering if these guys have changed migratory paths

    • bugman says:

      We suspect your friend found a related and similar looking California Root Borer that is found in many Western states.

      • Jacob Griffin says:

        She has many of them on her property, and live in the city. Not sure what a related cousins name would be, i spent hours online. And the closest to what i observed was that one. Do they have migratory paths?

  12. Katie says:

    Just found my kitten playing with one of these . I’m in upstate N.Y. in LEWIS COUNTY.

  13. Kim F. says:

    Hey, I live in New haven, CT and have found 2 huge ones (about an inch) of these and 2-3 smaller ones about 1/2 an inch in my house over the last week or so, our house was built in 1900 as well and is down by a river… do they click and try to bounce away when you try to get them or is that just something they’re doing for me? scares the hell out of me lol

  14. Lori says:

    Sad that I just killed one while freaking out mistaking it for a roach ( palmetto bug) after just returning from Florida.. I’m here in Massachusetts , Cape Cod and I may have seen one before but not many ..

  15. Mark says:

    Just found one in my dogs feeding bowl of all places. Got good picture, very impressive, large beauty. About 2″ and bit through a twig I put by it’s mandibles.

  16. Sonya says:

    Just saw one of these on an outside window. I absolutely cannot stand bugs and this thing is the stuff of nightmares for me! It was at least 2″ long. We live in a rural town in Tennessee, in a neighborhood. I have never seen one of these in my life. Do they fly? If it’s hot outside, could it come in the house or will it stay outside? It eventually got off the screen somehow and I next saw it crawling on the patio. I will probably have a heart attack if one of these come in my house. If I saw ONE, does that mean there are others? If so, where would they be found?

  17. Sara says:

    I just found one on the side of my house in Long Island, New York. I’ve read they live in telephone poles and such. I recently found large holes in the pole for my mailbox, which is like a short telephone pole. There were 5 holes, each perfectly round and 3/4-1″ in diameter. Could this be from these beetles or something else, like a carpenter bee?

  18. Jessie says:

    I live in NS Canada, and found two of these in a bucket of water the other morning. What terrifying looking bugs! Are they out during certain months in the summer, kind of like June Bugs?

  19. DC says:

    I just found a large one of these guys on my front porch in Burlington Vermont. When I touched him he began making “hissing” noises and scurrying away.

  20. Andrea Hoffman says:

    Just had one fly up to our porch!! (Southwestern Wisconsin) I’ve never seen one before. SO BIG!!
    I caught it in a glass and let it go about 3 blocks away 🙂

  21. help me please says:

    my mother has encountered this thing crawling in her shirt last night. what do we do. do we kill it. and are there possibly more? i would post a pic of it but i cant.

  22. Mel smith says:

    Well everybody else is telling where they saw one. I just kicked one out of my house (nah, i just let it crawl on me and put it out). In Ona West Virginia

  23. Corella says:

    One of these flew into the house earlier in Mount Airy, NC. Finally got him and put him out. I’ll be danged if it wasn’t right back in the window in less than 3 minutes. Scared the life out of me. Second time I got it the sucker bit me! Sadly, it’s dead. I’d never seen one and didn’t want to risk it biting one of the children. I believe I know why I saw it though. It’s a “new” old house, unkept yard and garden. We overhauled today and that meant moving rotten wood in the yard, cutting foot and a half grass, etc. Lots of weird bugs running around now that we weren’t seeing before.

  24. Jonna says:

    My son and I saw this thing moving across my living room rug at 11;00 at night. We freaked out and caught it. Over 2 inches long. It is a brown prionid beetle. I’m concerned about it leaving others in the house. I have alot of old tree around my house and a rotting stump that I have been picking at. Do I kill it or let the birds eat it. Hopefully no young ones in my house again. I’m vacuuming often again.

  25. Kathleen Kimble says:

    Hi I just found one in Bucks County Pennsylvania hiding under some fiber pots. When it was exposed to the sun it acted like a vampire and scurried to find a hiding place. When I tried to help it to a better spot it hissed at me. It is ominous and I almost wanted to eliminate it due to its cockroach like appearance but I talked myself out of it after inspecting the tail end and antenna. I have a very important question though, is this a good or bad bug for the garden? what does it eat? I have pictures if you are interested.

    • bugman says:

      The hissing sound you heard is an action known as stridulation and is produced when the insect rubs parts of its body together. In our opinion, the Brown Prionid is a benign insect, and according to BugGuide: “Breeds in poles, roots(?) in contact with wet ground” indicating the larvae feed on rotting wood.

  26. Barbara says:

    I live in Staten Island, NYC. I live near old trees and wetlands — I see these a few times a year in the summer. They get in my house every couple of years — but last night I was awoke by one CRAWLING ON MY CHEEK IN BED IN THE DARK. I jumped up and turned the lights on and saw it crawling in my WHITE sheets — I was horrified — but I stayed calm because I knew I had to catch him — which I finally did. He’s currently in my bedroom in a glass jar. I’ll post photos if anyone is interested.

  27. JohnAce says:

    Was just awoken by the very same Brown Prionid and am now wide awake. Freaked out and stepped on it and many small white eggs were seen; about the size of a sesame seed but rice looking. Allentown PA here. Used the app Picture Insect to identify it. So much for tonight’s sleep!

  28. Sara says:

    Awoke at 530 am to this guy and when I got close he chirped and flew off. I have a child here so I spent 2 hours looking for him to no avail. I fell back asleep and bam just woke at 830 to him flying around my room. Finally found what he was in here thanks. Mansfield, Ohio it’s been in the 90’s here.

    Why is there barely any info on them out there??

    • bugman says:

      According to American Insects: “Orthosoma brunneum is most often noticed when it blunders into the human world, attracted to houses by electric lights.” Now that you have a scientific name, you should be able to locate additional information.

  29. Andrew says:

    My brother and i were casually sitting watching Tv when a bug fell from what we thought was the ceiling. We immediately killed it and found small white seed looking things(looked like sesame seeds). We for sure thought it was a cockroach, but after further research we found out that it was a Brown Prionid Beetle. Any idea what the sesame seed looking things were? Are there any more of these beetles in my house? Should we be worried

  30. John A says:

    Had a similar experience and took great caution to ensure I got rid of all of the eggs.

  31. Patrick says:

    Worker found a brown prionid crawling in his workspace, a room in the center of a large warehouse. Can’t figure out how it got in. Caught it in a cup and is returning it to some wilderness next to the building. Lititz, PA.

  32. Mallory says:

    Just found one on my screen door and it scared the crap out of me! My husband told me it was a cockroach so I did my research – definitely a brown prionid beetle. I’m in Southern Wisconsin and this is the first I’ve seen one – and hopefully the last! Don’t worry – he looked peaceful so I let him be!

  33. Michael says:

    Found a dead but big dark Brown Prionid floating in a bucket of rain water earlier this week. Never saw one like this here before. – Lebanon County PA

  34. Karen says:

    I had one of these fly into my bedroom window at night. It made like a squeaky noise and it was about an inch long. I’m from Hendersonville, NC.

  35. Ted W. says:

    My daughter ready for bed on a hot muggy night on her phone was visited by this huge almost 2 inch beetle. She comes screaming out of her room. She is not a bug person. After this happened 3 times i was finally able to find and catch the huge Brown Prionid. We took many pictures and let it go the next day in the woods with lots of dead Scotch Pines for her to lay eggs. Harleysville,PA.

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