Subject: My dog stayed far away!
Location: Whitehorse Yukon Canada
August 10, 2015 10:58 am
Hi there bugman. What the heck is this bug? He came crawling onto the deck of our cabin at around midnight. My dog saw it and pounced but then quickly spit it out and started salivating all over the place. She did not like the taste I guess…lucky for the beetle!
We are in Whitehorse, Yukon Canada. It was mild weather out and had just turned dark when this little trooper made his appearance.
Any info would be great. Thanks!
Signature: Almost Beetlejuice

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

Dear Almost Beetlejuice,
This is a Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus.  Their common name is derived from the manner in which they provide for their young.  Males and females work together to bury small dead animals, and then they stay close to guard their larvae while they feed on both the putrefying flesh.  According to BugGuide, they exhibit “Remarkable parental care: adults bury a small carcass, lay eggs in it, and stay to feed the young on regurgitated carrion.”  One possible species is
Nicrophorus defodiens which according to BugGuide is found in the northern portions of the Pacific Northwest.

Update:  August 21, 2015
While researching a different genus of Carrion Beetle, we found this statement on BugGuide:  “Has chemical defenses, and smells foul, like all carrion beetles and their larvae.”  That probably explains your dog’s reaction.

Location: Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

5 Responses to Sexton Beetle from Canada

  1. Ashley says:

    Thanks so much for the reply bugman. Everyone I showed the picture to was stumped on this one! I can’t find much info on the Sexton Beetle. I wonder in particular why my dog found it so offensive as she gobbles up every other bug she sees…spruce beetles, hornets, spiders, etc (sorry she’s a bug murderer ?)

    • bugman says:

      You can read about Sexton Beetles on BugGuide. We have not heard of Sexton Beetles having a disagreeable flavor, so we don’t know why your dog had such a reaction.

  2. Dana says:

    Are burying beetles found often in Newfoundland?

  3. Peter says:

    Just had one fly into our kitchen. It is 10 pm and I live in North Vancouver. Never seen one before.

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