Subject:  who is THIS?
Geographic location of the bug:  solvang California
Date: 09/18/2017
Time: 04:34 PM EDT
this bug invaded our high school girlfriends weekend reunion in cali & caused lots of screaming & near-wetting-of pants
How you want your letter signed —
queenie & lulu

Potato Bug

Dear Queenie & Lulu,
Just out of curiosity, was the high school that inspired the girlfriends’ weekend reunion from elsewhere?  The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is a real Southern California icon, and most children who grow up in the southland know about them.  Based on your images, it appears that it headed to the pool.  That might be a sign it has been parasitized by a Horsehair Worm or Gordian Worm, an internal parasite that causes the Potato Bug to seek water, at which point the long, hairlike worm burst out, killing the Potato Bug.  Seeing that might have caused some actual “wetting of pants.”

thank you for your reply! yes, indeed we went to high school in des moines, iowa. two of the girls live in california (we were staying at one of their homes near santa barbara, at alisal ranch) and they have lived there for many years so i guess they are lucky not to have encountered such a creepy cali icon previously!
i knew i would find out what this bug was because my one time grand dog’s portable water dish got a cricket in it that DID spawn a horsehair worm so i’ve had that experience as well….SO ICKY (did not wet my pants tho, whew).
i forwarded the girls my email to you folks with the attached note to them:  Kate, Karla & Becky…do you remember me telling you on the way to the airport I would figure out this bug based on my experience of finding out about horsehair worms that hatched out of crickets that got into Oliver’s water when I took him to nitefall on the river? HOW.CRAZY.IS.THAT.

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Location: Solvang, California

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