Artist's Rendition of a Sexton Beetle

Big Flying Black Bee/Beetle with orange markings on it’s back
Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 3:19 PM
Was in my garage and killed what I thought was a HUGE bee looking insect. It could fly and was about 1.25″ long. Upon closer examination, it was much fatter than a bee or a wasp, had really long antenna that it moved independently was solid black except for 4 distinct orange boxes on it’s thorax which was like a little shield sitting on it’s shoulders and was about 1/4 of the insects length. It sate above the lower half of the insects abdomen which appeared to me like the thorax of a big wasp. What the heck was that!!!
Mukilteo, Washington

Sexton Beetle (artist's rendition)
Sexton Beetle (artist's rendition)

Dear Kevin,
We are totally charmed and amused with your artistic rendering of what we are 99 & 44/100% sure is a species of Sexton Beetle or Burying Beetle in the genus Nicrophorus.  A pair of Sexton Beetles is capable of burying a small corpse like that of a mouse in a short period of time.  According to BugGuide, the Sexton Beetles exhibit “Remarkable parental care of larvae. Adults bury a small (usually) carcass, lay eggs in it, and stay with it, feeding the young on regurgitated carrion. (Yumm!)
.”  Since we are on holiday planting tomatoes in Ohio, we are preparing your letter in advance to post live to our site Sunday at noon.  We will be including a photo sent to us by C.J. last year of a Sexton Beetle.

Sexton Beetle
Sexton Beetle

3 thoughts on “Artist's Rendition of a Sexton Beetle”

  1. I just found one in Findley State Park in Wellingtin, Ohio. I did NOT kill it! LOL It was trapped in our screen tent and was trying to chew through the mesh! Whew! So, I scooped it up gingerly and let him on his way. Absolutely beautiful!


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