Currently viewing the category: "Potato Bugs, Wetas and Parktown Prawns"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Crazy looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Aliso Viejo, CA, USA
Date: 12/05/2019
Time: 11:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. Just found this bug laying by my front door. I didn’t harm it I promise. Seems that it died on its own.
How you want your letter signed:  Matthew S.

Potato Bug

Dear Matthew,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, an iconic Southern California insect that lives underground.  They are often driven to the surface after the first rains of the season.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  so california insect
Geographic location of the bug:  THousand oaks, ventura county CA
Date: 11/07/2019
Time: 05:03 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  please help me know what this bug is, found on our doorstep last evening.   it’s about 1.5 inches long.
How you want your letter signed:  mike

Potato Bug

Dear Mike,
We doubt that many Southlanders, either natives or recent arrivals, will ever forget their first encounter with a Potato Bug, an iconic insect found in Southern California.  Potato Bugs are subterranean dwellers that are often sighted shortly after the first good rain to hit the region as they come to the surface.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bug Spotted on Zion Hike
Geographic location of the bug:  Zion National Park, Utah
Date: 10/28/2019
Time: 03:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
I saw this critter on a hike.  At first it was on it’s back and looked dead.  I flipped it over and it moved slightly.  It did not seem to be healthy.  My initial thought was that it somehow just passed through a predator’s digestive track.  So, what’s that bug?
P.S. I also saw a tarantula on this hike – photo also attached!
How you want your letter signed:  Zion Hiker

Potato Bug

Dear Zion Hiker,
This is a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean dwelling Orthopteran that is most often found on the surface after a good rain.  It appears to have undergone a trauma.  We are always amazed at the number of squashed insects we have seen on hiking trails.  We generally think of hikers as nature lovers, and the squashed insects seem too numerous to have been accidentally stepped on.  Rather, we believe many hikers take out their fear and loathing of insects by squashing them on hiking trails. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Creepy camel spider look alike
Geographic location of the bug:  Hesperia California
Date: 08/02/2019
Time: 09:54 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is it is it dangerous to me my children or pets?
How you want your letter signed:  Danielle

Potato Bug

Dear Danielle,
The Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket is one of our most common Southern California identification requests, but those sightings usually occur during rainy season when this subterranean dweller comes to the surface.  A mid-summer sighting during dry weather is somewhat unusual.  Though Potato Bugs have very powerful mandibles that could deliver a painful nip, they have neither venom nor poison, so they are harmless to you, your children and your pets.  It was interesting that you compared its appearance to that of a Camel Spider, a common name for a Middle Eastern Solifugid, because we get far more requests from people who have sighted a Solifugid and compare its appearance to that of a Potato Bug.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  identify bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Santa Maria California
Date: 02/14/2019
Time: 03:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I just found this bug on my front porch and wanted to find out what it is.  I just moved to California from back East and have never seen a bug like this before!
How you want your letter signed:  LCS

Potato Bug

Dear LCS,
Welcome to California.  This is arguably the most iconic California insect, the Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket, a subterranean Orthopteran that is driven to the surface by rains.  Your images are awesome.

Potato Bug

Thank you so much!  I have gotten attached to the little guy and would like to keep him but my kids think it’s weird!  So I had better put him back outside!  Have never had a “bug pet” before!!  Thanks again,  LCS

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large red ant-like bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Topanga State Park, LA county, USA
Date: 01/05/2019
Time: 01:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
This very large, red, ant-like insect crossed the trail right in front of us yesterday. We were hiking near Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park in Southern California (LA county).
The insect was about 3 inches long with a large round red head and a black and brown abdomen.
We photographed it (see attached), and looked online to try and identify it. Our search has not turned up anything.
Can you help us identify it?
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Casual Hiker

Potato Bug

Dear Casual Hiker,
Commonly called a Potato Bug or a Jerusalem Cricket, this distinctive insect is a common southern California native that spends most of its life underground.  Fall and winter rains bring them to the surface so most sightings are made shortly after a good rain.

That’s it! Thank you so much!
François Baldassari
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination