Currently viewing the category: "Toe Biters and other Aquatic True Bugs"
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My wife is a native to Florida and has in the last few years noticed a bug/beetle that she has never seen before. It always seems to hang around the same small bushes that one of our local restaurants have and the only other place she has seen it is at work where they have the same type of bush.
It is completely black, around two and a half inches in length, about half an inch wide and has large pinches on the front of it’s head and it also flies.
We would both appreciate it very much if you could tell us what this bug is as, we have looked on many websites and have never found it listed.
Thanks in advance,
Robert & Laura Kitchener

Dear Robert and Laura,
It sounds like a stag beetle. We have been getting reports and sitings lately.

Thanks but that is not it. The bug I mean doesn’t have such a hard shell and has similar dimensions of a palmetto bug, but larger, with claws and a bit different in color. We are going to try to get a picture of one for ya (If we can stand around it that long, ha, ha)? Thanks for all your help!

Please send that photo. Meanwhile, I’m guessing a Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus americanus). The Giant Water Bug is a true bug, a member of the order Heteroptera. They have sucking mouthparts. At nearly three inches in length, they are among the largest insects in the continental United States. The mature insects are strong fliers and because of their streamlined, keel shaped bodies, are equally comfortable in the air or in water. The adults have a variety of common names including Toe Biters and Electric Light Bugs. Any swimmer who has ever been bitten would attest to the origin of the name Toe Biter, since the bite is extremely painful. The Giant Water Bug is a ferocious hunter which uses its front claws to grasp its prey which can include small fish as well as tadpoles and water insects. Huge swarms appear periodically in brightly lit parking lots in the South. An even larger relative in South East Asia reaches five inches in length and is prized as a delicacy in Thailand. A recent news story covers a veritable invasion of Giant Water Bugs in New Port Richie, Florida that terrified the local population. Here is an image.

Thanks for the info I think that is the right bug. At first glance of the water bug out of the water, the ‘claws’ didn’t seem to stand out. Everytime I have seen this bug, it looked as if it had ‘claws’ so I wasn’t sure until I saw the PIC attached. This looks like the bug on land as well as in water. Thanks for finally settling our minds and we wont be touching one anytime soon !!!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hey bugman,
I was recently vacationing in Orlando, FLA visiting the mouse that lives there with the family. Anyhow, we ate out one night in Kissimmee and came across an interesting bug. I would estimate it at about 3 inches long excluding pinchers or claws (whatever you want to call them). It was blakc and reminded me of a large roach or long beetle. Anyhow, at it head extended 2 long pinchers or claws. They were jagged and pointed at the end. Dumby me though the bug was interesting and dcided to toe it a little with my sneaker to get it to move. It moved away but seemed a little aggressive. Anyhow that sucker, after enough stupid taunting by me, latched onto my sneaker and wouldnt let go!!! My wife, with open toed shoes ran like hell into the resteraunt swearing at me the whole way…LOL.. Do you have any idea what bug I was dancing with?
Description : Black , I believe 6 legs, long curved and jagged pinchers (claws) about 3/4 body length extending from head area, 2 -3 " in length, fairly flat insect Anyhow, thanks for reading this and I hope you can tell me what it was. I apoligize for ticking him off too…LOL!

Hi Rick,
I don’t believe I ever answered your question, and have been in the process of posting new letters, despite the whatsthatbug site being down for heavy traffic. You have encountered a Giant Water Bug also known as a Toe Biter. As you know, they deserve their name.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination