Eastern Hercules Beetle: Quick Guide to These Impressive Insects

The Eastern Hercules Beetle is a fascinating insect known for its impressive size and unique features. Native to the United States, this beetle stands out among other insects due to its large horns and variable coloration. Males can reach a length of 7 inches, making it one of the largest insects in the country.

These beetles belong to the Scarabaeidae family, which also includes familiar insects such as June beetles, Japanese beetles, and dung beetles. They can be found in different parts of the United States, but are most commonly found in the East Coast and South. One intriguing aspect of the Eastern Hercules Beetle’s life is the fierce battles males engage in for mating rights, using their large horns as a weapon.

Here are some of the key features of the Eastern Hercules Beetle:

  • Length of males up to 7 inches, including their long horns
  • Variable coloration, ranging from yellowish or greenish-gray to brown or black with distinctive spots
  • Females are typically larger than males, but lack horns
  • Males engage in fight for mating, using their horns against each other

Overview of Eastern Hercules Beetle

Classification and Scientific Name

The Eastern Hercules Beetle (EHB) is a type of insect belonging to the family Scarabaeidae. Its scientific name is Dynastes tityus, and it shares the same family with well-known beetles like June beetles, Japanese beetles, and dung beetles1.

Physical Characteristics

EHB is considered one of the largest insects in the United States and varies in size and coloration2:

  • Males can reach a length of 7 inches.
  • Females are smaller, usually 3 inches long.
  • Horns on males can be about 1/3 of the body length.
  • Coloration can be yellowish or greenish-gray with brown to black spots.

Males have large horns, which they use to fight with other males when competing for mating3.

Distribution and Habitat

EHB can be found in various locations across the USA, including:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • Illinois
  • Maryland4

In some cases, they have also been found in Mexico5. They typically live in wooded areas and their larvae thrive in decaying logs or stumps6.

Life Cycle of the Eastern Hercules Beetle

Eggs

The life cycle of the Eastern Hercules Beetle begins with eggs. Female beetles lay their eggs in soil rich in decaying wood, leaves, or other organic matter. The incubation period for these eggs generally averages around 27.7 days.

Larva and Grubs

After hatching, the Eastern Hercules Beetle undergoes three larval stages, also known as instars. During this period, the larvae are called grubs. They feed on decaying wood and other organic matter, and develop for about 50 days on average.

Features of grubs:

  • White or cream-colored
  • C-shaped body
  • Head and legs usually darker in color

Pupa

Following the larval stages, the grubs will pupate in the soil. During this stage, they transform into adult beetles. The duration of the pupal stage can vary depending on environmental factors.

Adult Beetle

As adult beetles, Eastern Hercules Beetles exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have different physical characteristics. Males can reach up to 2.5 inches in length and have large horns, which they use in male-to-male contests for the best breeding sites.

Key characteristics of adult Eastern Hercules Beetles:

  • Males: large horns, nearly 2.5 inches in length
  • Females: smaller, no horns
  • Color: Yellowish or greenish-gray with brown to black spots
  • Typically harmless to humans

Comparison of Male and Female Eastern Hercules Beetles:

Feature Male Female
Size Up to 2.5 inches long Smaller than males
Horns Large, 2 forward-pointing horns No horns
Color Yellowish or greenish-gray with brown to black spots Similar to males, but without horns

Behavior and Diet of Eastern Hercules Beetles

Feeding Habits

Eastern Hercules Beetles primarily feed on plant material. As rhinoceros beetles, they consume bark from ash trees, sap, and fruits. Example of their diet includes:

  • Bark: They prefer to munch on bark from ash trees.
  • Sap: Sap from plants provides essential nutrients for the beetles.
  • Fruits: Fruits offer them additional nourishment.

Nocturnal Activities

These beetles exhibit nocturnal behavior, meaning they are active primarily at night. This helps them avoid many predators and seek their food source with minimal disturbance.

Mating and Breeding Sites

Males use their large horns to compete for the best mating sites, similar to how deer and elk use antlers. After mating, females burrow into the ground to lay eggs, ensuring a safe environment for future beetle growth.

Comparison Table

Insect Weight Strength Active Season
Eastern Hercules Beetle Heavier Greater strength Spring and summer seasons
Other Rhinoceros Beetles Lighter Lesser strength Varies depending on species

Key Features

  • One of the heaviest insects in the U.S.
  • Feeds mainly on plant materials such as bark, sap, and fruits.
  • Males have large horns for contesting breeding sites.
  • Active primarily during nighttime.

Characteristics

  • Belongs to the family Scarabaeidae.
  • Males can reach up to 7 inches in length.
  • Females are typically shorter and lack horns.
  • Display variable coloration patterns.

Eastern Hercules Beetle vs Western Hercules Beetle

Physical Differences

Eastern Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus) and Western Hercules Beetle (Dynastes granti) are quite similar in appearance. However, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Size: Eastern Hercules beetles can reach a length of 7 inches, while Western Hercules beetles are slightly smaller.
  • Horns: Males of both species have large horns; however, male Western Hercules beetles have longer horns compared to their Eastern counterparts.
  • Color: Eastern Hercules beetles exhibit variable colors, ranging from yellowish to greenish-gray, with brown to black spots. Western Hercules beetles are usually associated with a more uniform, metallic green color.

Distribution Range

The habitat range of these two species is mainly separated by geographical regions:

  • Eastern Hercules Beetle: Found in the eastern United States, particularly in the South Carolina area.
  • Western Hercules Beetle: Found primarily on the west coast of the United States, including states like California and Arizona.

Behavior

In both species, male beetles use their horns to fight other males for mating opportunities. They exhibit aggressive behavior and seek to establish dominance over rival males. Some similarities in their behavior include:

  • Habitat preferences: Both species are usually found in wooded areas, close to stumps and bark.
  • Light attraction: Like many other insects, Eastern and Western Hercules beetles are attracted to light sources during nighttime hours.
Feature Eastern Hercules Beetle Western Hercules Beetle
Size Up to 7 inches Slightly smaller
Horn Length (males) Shorter Longer
Color Yellowish/Greenish-gray Metallic Green
Distribution Eastern United States West Coast United States
Common Habitats Wooded areas, stumps, bark Wooded areas, stumps, bark
Behavior (Males) Horns used in combat Horns used in combat
Attraction to Light Yes Yes

Predators and Threats to Eastern Hercules Beetles

Eastern Hercules Beetles face several predators and threats in their environment. Some of their primary predators include:

  • Birds: A variety of birds prey on beetles, especially during the larval stage.
  • Dogs: Dogs may inadvertently harm the beetles by playing with or chewing on them.
  • Crabs: In coastal areas, crabs may prey on beetles that wander near the shoreline.

The hercules beetles also face threats from human activities and invasive species. For example, in Japan, foreign insect species have become predators and disrupted the native ecosystem.

To help you better understand some predators and threats to Eastern Hercules Beetles, here’s a comparison table:

Predator/Threat Impact on Beetles Relevant Location
Birds Prey on larvae and adults Worldwide
Dogs Harm beetles indirectly Worldwide
Crabs Prey on beetles in coastal areas Coastal regions
Invasive species Disrupt native ecosystems Japan

Understanding these predators and threats to Eastern Hercules Beetles allows us to be more mindful of their conservation and appreciate the role they play in their ecosystems.

Conservation and Interaction with Humans

Pests or Harmless?

Eastern Hercules Beetles are fascinating creatures and are considered mostly harmless to humans. They belong to the family Scarabaeidae, which also includes June beetles, Japanese beetles, and dung beetles1. These insects are nocturnal, and their diet mainly consists of decaying wood and tree bark2.

While they may be intimidating due to their size and appearance, Eastern Hercules Beetles do not pose any significant threats to trees or humans. They can be found in a wide range across the United States, from Arizona and Utah to as far east as Maryland3.

Eastern Hercules Beetle as a Pet

Keeping an Eastern Hercules Beetle as a pet is not uncommon, and they can be a unique and interesting addition to your home. Their life cycle and brief lifespan, averaging one to two years4, may be a consideration when deciding whether to keep one as a pet.

Pros:

  • Unique appearance with impressive horns and claws5.
  • Low-maintenance diet of decaying wood and tree bark6.

Cons:

  • Short lifespan, usually between one to two years7.
  • Nocturnal behavior, meaning they are most active during the night8.

If you decide to keep one as a pet, it’s essential to be knowledgeable about the proper care and maintenance for an Eastern Hercules Beetle to ensure its well-being.

Comparison Table: Eastern Hercules Beetle versus Dynastes Hercules

Feature Eastern Hercules Beetle Dynastes Hercules
Range United States Central & South America
Subspecies No subspecies Several subspecies
Horns Males have large horns Males have even larger horns
Size Up to 2.5 inches long9 Up to 6.75 inches long10

Additional Resources and Information

Images

The Eastern Hercules Beetle is one of the largest insects in the United States, and they belong to the family Scarabaeidae. They are usually harmless to humans and have unique features that make them interesting to observe.

For a better visual understanding, consider browsing through a collection of images:

  • Adult Beetle: Males can grow up to 7 inches in length, boasting large horns. Females have a different appearance, without horns. Find images here.
  • Scarab Beetles: Eastern Hercules beetles are part of the scarab family, which includes species like June beetles and dung beetles. View more scarab beetle images here.

Some fascinating facts about Eastern Hercules Beetles:

  • They prefer to burrow and fly at night.
  • Males use their horns to fight other males during mating competitions.
  • Their distribution includes the eastern United States.

Considering their size and distribution, it’s essential to compare Eastern Hercules Beetles to other Scarab Beetles. Here’s a comparison table:

Feature Eastern Hercules Beetle Other Scarab Beetles
Size Up to 7 inches (males) Varies depending on the species
Horns Males have prominent horns Usually absent
Harmfulness to humans Harmless Most are harmless
Distribution Eastern United States Worldwide

Remember, it’s essential to treat these creatures with respect, especially since they pose no harm to people. For further information about Eastern Hercules Beetles and related species, consult research sources like:

Footnotes

  1. Eastern Hercules Beetles | Home & Garden Information Center 2

  2. Eastern hercules beetle – Texas A&M University 2

  3. Eastern Hercules Beetle | Missouri Department of Conservation 2

  4. HERCULES BEETLE FACTS – University of Kentucky 2

  5. Eastern Hercules Beetle – Texas A&M University 2

  6. Eastern Hercules Beetles | Home & Garden Information Center 2

  7. Texas A&M University

  8. Missouri Department of Conservation

  9. Missouri Department of Conservation

  10. Texas A&M University

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – LEAP DAY POSTING 2016: Unseasonal Sighting of male Eastern Hercules Beetles in Virginia

 

Leap Day Posting UpdateJust as we decided to to change the status of this posting, we realized another possibility.  Might Rhinoceros Beetles hibernate if they don’t mate or if they emerge late in the season?   

Subject: large “horned” beetle
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
February 28, 2016 8:23 am
Hi, I just found these beetles in the rotted out center of an old (100+ yrs.) dead red oak tree stump in New Market, Virginia. I was mixing dirt into the compost-like material when I found them. Their bodies are appx. 2 1/2 inches long. At first I thought I was looking at a bug with vertical pinchers but then I realized that only the bottom one moved. They have two smaller “horns” on either side of the large one. I think their eyes are down near where the lower pincher meets the body. Can you tell me anything about these beetles?
Signature: Steve N.

Male Eastern Hercules Beetles
Male Eastern Hercules Beetles

Dear Steve,
What a marvelous discovery you have made.  These are male Eastern Hercules Beetles,
Dynastes tityus, the heaviest species of beetle found in North America.  Immature grubs are found in rotting wood.  Adults normally appear in summer, with most sightings occurring in July.  We are guessing that unusual weather is causing emergence schedules of insects to change.  We suspect these two guys completed metamorphosis and perhaps they are waiting for ideal conditions to emerge from the rotting stump to mate and reproduce.

Male Eastern Hercules Beetle
Male Eastern Hercules Beetle

Letter 2 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Large hard shell beetle?
June 10, 2010
What is the beetle? Approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length, grey shell with dark green spots.
Ann in Tennessee
middle Tennessee

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Ann,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, one of the Rhinoceros Beetles.  The male has spectacular horns, giving rise to the common name.

Letter 3 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Beetle identification
Location: North America
August 10, 2016 12:32 pm
I wanna know what this is and facts about it
When can you answer what time
Signature: Doesn’t matter

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Please provide us with a more specific location, like a state, county or city, so that we can provide you with the most accurate identification.  This appears to be a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, our first sighting of the year.

Letter 4 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Eastern Hercules Beetle?
I saw this photo on your site, so I am reasonably certain that I have now identified my bug. However, I thought I would send you a couple of additional photos… We found this insect on the side of our house in Kempner, Texas, (zipcode 76539 if you want to Mapquest it, for reference), in central Texas. I’ve never seen one of these around here before. Hubby spotted this beauty. I thought it was gorgeous, and I am NOT a bug person. LOL The speckling, on the body, was quite pretty. These night shots do not do it justice. As you can see, from the photos, it measured in at about 2 inches in total length. It was very docile and didn’t seem to be frightened of us, in the least. After its impromptu photo shoot, we left it to continue enjoying its night. If you have time to answer a question — your photo stated that the beetle that was pictured was a female. I was curious — how do you know the sex?
Cyndi

Hi Cyndi,
Your identification of an Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, is correct. Your specimen is a female. The males have very prominent horns and are larger.

Letter 5 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

We’ve been trying to figure out what this bug is can you help us??

This is a Female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus. Males have impressive horns.

Letter 6 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

female rhino beetle?
this beautiful beetle was found on the ground in Atlanta today. is it a female rhino beetle?
sarah tynes
atlanta

Hi Sarah,
This is a female Dynastes tityus, the Eastern Hercules Beetle. It is in the Scarabaeidae Family of Scarab Beetles and the Subfamily Dynastinae which are commonly called Rhinoceros Beetles.

Letter 7 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Large hard beetle-type bug
Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 9:55 AM
We came home one August night and heard a horrible scraping/grating noise coming from our fireplace. Upon inspection, we saw a dusty leg clawing desperately out of the fireplace vent. We unscrewed the vent plate and found this dusty fatty. (We live in the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia.)
Sara McMurray
Appalachian Mountains, southwestern Virginia

Eastern Hercules Beetle
Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Sara,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle.  The male of the species has some impressive horns.  The larvae eat rotting wood and the adults feed on rotting fruit.  According to BugGuide, the Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, is the heaviest North American beetle.  Many beetles are attracted to lights, and it is possible that the light inside your home lured this impressive beetle to your fireplace.

Letter 8 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Green Beetle with lots of Black Spots
Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 10:02 AM
I found this in my room yesterday and took some pictures before I let it go. I live in Nashville, TN. I was surprised to see a beetle of this size, much less in my bedroom!
The picture I have of him are in a regular size drinking glass, so I would imagine the beetle is about 1.5″ in length. The tiles he’s sitting on are about 2×2 kitchen counter tiles.
Carson
Nashville, TN

Eastern Hercules Beetle
Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Carson,
We will be posting your photos of a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus, along side a letter with images of a male.  The male has spectacular horns.  The Eastern Hercules Beetle is sometimes called a Rhinoceros Beetle.

Eastern Hercules Beetle
Eastern Hercules Beetle

Letter 9 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 7:55 PM
It’s been a long time since I sent you any pictures, but I finally have a good one. Hubby heard a noise on the siding of the house this evening, and found the culprit. According to the pictures on WTB, it looks to be a Female Eastern Hercules Beetle. We took some pictures in the grass, but hubby offered to hold the girl, so I was able to get a good closeup. I’ve reduced the size, so as not to clog the website. If you need better quality, let me know.
Caron
Culpeper, Virginia

Eastern Hercules Beetle
Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Caron,
We just finished posting two letters, one with photos of a male Eastern Hercules Beetle and one with photos of a female. Your letter is a wonderful addition to the two previous letters as it gives our readership an idea of the range as well as the timely appearance of these gorgeous beetles. We also now realize not making the Eastern Hercules Beetle the Bug of the Month for July was probably a big mistake.

Letter 10 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Giant Beetle?
August 23, 2009
My husband found this giant beetle as a hitch hiker on his way home from work. He brought it in to me because he knows I like unusual bugs. Its a dark sage green with specks of brown. I thought it might be a type of hercules beetle but the thing doesn’t have any pinchers & a small head. The picture was taken in late spring a few years ago. I love this site by the way. My friends think I’m crazy ‘cuz I don’t kill bugs & I’m female. We’re suppose to run screaming I guess.
Nancy S.
Northeast Tennessee

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Nancy,
Congratulations on not being afraid to handle harmless insects.  This is indeed a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  The larger male has the horns in the family.

Letter 11 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Possible Female Hercules Beetle?
July 11, 2010
Dear Bugman,
We found this monster in NE Oklahoma at my family’s cabin on 7-July. It was sitting motionless about 15 ft up an Oak tree. We have been identifying insects up there for about 20 years but have never come across one of these. Can you help identify it?
Lee
Kansas, Oklahoma

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Lee,
You are absolutely correct with your identification of a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus.

Daniel,
Thanks for the quick confirmation…your website is super cool by the way.  We’ve added to our favorites…
fyi funny enough, we had a run in with Japanese beetles on this trip as well…I collected them off of our juvenile peach trees for my daughters bug box.  In about every third peach three or four Japanese beetles were bored in….that was the first we’d seen that species as well up there.
Thanks again,
Lee

Letter 12 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Giant green beetle
Location: Deep South – Rural Alabama, about 80 miles north of Gulf Shores off of the 65 highway
June 24, 2011 10:24 am
While traveling near Gulf Shores Alabama, during mid June (06/17 exactly), my ”City Girl” girlfriends and I came across this BIG green beauty. I’m not a city gal but I’ve never seen anything like this guy. We sent a picture to one of the husbands out west and he doesn’t believe it’s real! A little boy we met was more than happy to pick it up and display him for us 🙂
Signature: T.S.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear T.S.,
“He” is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dyanstes tityus.  The larger males have horns and they are considered to be the heaviest beetles in North America.  Here is a photo of a male Eastern Hercules Beetle we posted earlier this morning.

Ed Note: Like ships passing in the night, T.S. wrote back as we were creating this posting.
Naturally I found out what SHE was after I wrote to you…I believe she was a Herculese Beetle

funny, we just replied to you and created the posting.  Glad you were able to find your answer.

I found the answer on YOUR website  which I might add is awesome!

Letter 13 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

What kind of beetle is this?
Location: Shenandoah Valley Virginia
June 27, 2011 6:40 pm
I found this beetle on a screen window at my house and I can’t figure out what it is. It’s about 1 1/2” long. Can you help. Thank you. Jim
Signature: Looking for the bug.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  Males have prominent horns on their heads.

Letter 14 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Large Mississippi Bug
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
July 26, 2012 10:46 am
I took this picture in a flowerbed July 26, 2012.
This beautiful bug is 1” wide and 1 3/4” long.
Would like to know what it is.
Thanks
Signature: Dennis

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Dennis,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles are the heaviest beetles in the United States and they are quite stately with their impressive horns, large size and unusual coloration.  Because of their horns, these beetles are also called Rhinoceros Beetles.

Letter 15 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: yellow with black spotted beetle
Location: North West GA
May 17, 2013 11:50 am
This bug was on our back porch and we are curious what it was. The image was taken in June 2012. The bug came and hung out for a while and was gone the next day.
Signature: Thanks, Bunny

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Bunny,
This is a female Eastern Hercules BeetleMales are horned.  This is the heaviest North American beetle and we generally get reports in June and July, so posting your image from last year should act as a nice preview of this year’s sightings.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I had done quite a bit of searching last year but the no horn threw us off. Am new to your site, but find it very interesting.

 

Letter 16 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: What’s this giant bug? A beetle?
Location: Knoxville, TN
June 27, 2013 5:04 pm
Please tell me what this giant beetle is. He has a hairy underside and is a little green. He was found near a furnace in the basement in Knoxville, TN today (6/27).
Signature: SKA

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear SKA,
We wish you would release this female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus, outdoors so that she might have a chance to mate and lay eggs.  While they are not considered rare, they are hardly plentiful.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles are even larger and they have quite impressive horns.  This is the heaviest beetle in North America.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Wow! That is it…thanks! She was released in the woods last night as a matter of fact! I have never seen one that size before…and to think it had somehow made its way inside is frightening! I just don’t know how she could have come inside undetected!
Thanks again!
– Kirk

Letter 17 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Whoa, big bug!
Location: Bowling Green, KY
July 5, 2013 9:25 pm
This big guy was just chilling in my living room and scared me to death!
Could there be more of these guys?
What is it?
My husband let him go in the woods by a lake.
Signature: Abby

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Abby,
Her coloration is darker than what is typical, but this is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles have horns and they are considered to be the heaviest beetles in North America.
  The grubs of the Eastern Hercules Beetle live and feed on rotting wood, especially stumps, so if there are numerous dead trees in your area, you may expect to encounter additional Eastern Hercules Beetles.

Thank you very much!!!  I feel better.  I just did not realize beetles were that big in North America….. WOW!!

Letter 18 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: large beetle on porch
Location: carthage, tn
July 11, 2013 9:08 pm
Kids found this beetle, I know nothing about beetles but the sheer size grabbed my Attention! We live in Carthage, TN, on the river. It has recently rained a lot, never seen a bug line this one.
Signature: thank you in advance, jen shelton

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Hi Jen,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityusMale Eastern Hercules Beetles, with their impressive horns, are even larger.

Letter 19 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: What tha’ Giant Beetle
Location: Dothan, AL
July 19, 2013 9:59 am
Another critter I left where I found him…he was HUGE…probably a good 2+ inches long. What is it?
Signature: Bug Lover

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Bug Lover,
Upon lightening your photo, we could see the markings that indicate this is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle.

Letter 20 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: The Biggest Bug I’ve ever seen!!
Location: Virginia Highlands area
August 20, 2013 4:59 am
Hi. My daughters and I were wondering what the heck is this?
We live in Virginia, near Bristol. My youngest, 8 years old, saw this bug in the front yard. She grabbed her well used butterfly net and snagged it. She was equal parts excited and apprehensive.
The date right now is Aug. 20, 2013. She caught it at 7:50 a.m. . She found it by the barbed wire fence that keeps the cows contained. The fence does how very old wooden post, if that helps. It was a slightly foggy morning, about 68 degrees.
We have lived here for 8 years and this is the first one we’ve ever seen. Are they new, or just hiding? I’m kind of scared of insects, but my girls are curious about the chance of seeing more of them.
We researched online and thought that maybe it was a female Stag Beetle, but the color seems to be too dark. We would be thankful for any help in discovering what kind of bug this is.
Thank You!
Signature: Jessica

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Jessica,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus, and the males of the species, which have horns, are the heaviest North American Beetles.  They are harmless.  The larvae feed on rotting tree stumps, so any nearby wooded areas probably provide a welcoming habitat for the Eastern Hercules Beetle.

Letter 21 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Miss identified
Location: Almost all over the USA
August 12, 2014 11:12 pm
Hey guys! I was looking through your posts and noticed you miss identified a beetle I’m very fermiliar with. You claimed the beetle to be “a June bug on staroids” when it was intact a female eastern or western herculese beetle. It may have been hard to identify because when they go into the soul their shells absorb the moisture and turn dark brown. I know this well because I have recently been rearing this specious. I will include a photo of the original post and my own photo of the species (although in the photo she is light colored because she hadn’t been in moist soil)
Signature: Best regards, Nikki

Female Hercules Beetle
Female Hercules Beetle

Hi Nikki,
Thanks for providing a comment on our Scarab Beetle posting.  For the record, we did not claim it was “a June bug on staroids” but the person who submitted the image called it “a june bug but on steroids.”  We informed Cathy that it was a Scarab, but we couldn’t identify the species because of the camera angle.  Thank you for recognizing the genus for us.
  Since you have provided us with images, we are also creating a unique posting for your comment, but we would love to be able to provide a more specific location for your Hercules Beetle that “almost all over the USA.”

Oh, I appolagize, I’m still getting used to the website format. Well I can’t tell weather that is an eastern or western herculese so the range would be different.
Oh :3 my little girl was found in st.louis Missouri

Letter 22 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Beetle I’m Effingham County, Georgia
Location: Effingham County, Georgia
July 3, 2015 4:40 pm
I would appreciate assistance in identifying this beetle found in Effingham County, Georgia. Thank you.
Signature: William R.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear William,
We are really excited to get your image of a female Eastern Hercules Beetle because we just posted an image of a horny male Eastern Hercules Beetle.
  We are going to create a new featured posting with both inquiries combined.  You can get better images in the future by keeping the shadow of the cellular telephone out of the shot by slightly moving your body relative to the sun.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle in the shadow of a cellular telephone.
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle in the shadow of a cellular telephone.

Letter 23 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Cool bug
Location: St. Augustine, FL
June 23, 2017 7:52 pm
Found this bug in St. Augustine, never seen anything like it!
Signature: Yoda

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Yoda,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, and just yesterday we posted an image of a horned male.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles are the heaviest North American Beetles.

Letter 24 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Giant beetle
Location: Troy, VA
July 3, 2017 12:44 pm
I hope this goes through. As I said in my other message, this was a big beetle, about 1″ x 2″. I don’t think it is a Hercules beetle, it seems to me the shape and markings are all wrong.
Thanks for the info on the insect eggs. I immediately went and looked for a photo of a tiger moth, and it’s lovely. I haven’t seen one, but I’ll keep on the look out.
Would you be interested in a photo of the wonderfully named, green marvel moth?
thanks for all you do.
Signature: Grace Pedalino

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Grace,
There is quite a bit of color and marking variation in the Eastern Hercules Beetle.  Your image is of a female and you should be able to spot the similarities with this individual posted to BugGuide.

Letter 25 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Large green beetle?
Location: Southwest Virginia
July 7, 2017 8:45 am
I’m back with another beautiful creature. I believe this is the large green beetle. And I thought you would enjoy the pictures. Thanks again for what you do.
Signature: neanderpaul

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Neanderpaul,
Thanks for your kind words.  This impressive creature is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle.  The larger, horned male Eastern Hercules Beetle is the heaviest North American beetle.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Letter 26 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject: Identification of large beetle please
Location: Southern US
July 13, 2017 11:27 am
Can you please help identify this beetle?! Thanks!
Signature: Sarah

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Sarah,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle.  The male is much larger and has an impressive horn.  The male Eastern Hercules Beetle is the heaviest North American beetle.

Letter 27 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject:  Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Winfield, Missouri
Date: 06/12/2018
Time: 06:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I grew up in Winfield, Mo and have never seen this bug ever in my 44 years. What is it? Should we be worried? Is it dangerous?
How you want your letter signed:  Tracy C.

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Tracy,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, the heaviest North American Beetle, and it poses no threat to you.  Instead of being worried, you should feel lucky to have sighted her.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles are even larger and have horns.

I am a true country girl and love nature. This type thing interests me a great deal. I do feel lucky. It took me 44 years to see one. She is neat looking. Thank you for your response. Now I know who to go to whenever I find bugs I don’t know about.

Letter 28 – Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

 

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Parkersburg wv
Date: 07/24/2018
Time: 05:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This was dead when I found it but largest I have seen in my area.
How you want your letter signed:  Vivian

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear Vivian,
This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, and the trauma on her thorax indicates she did not die of a natural death.  Horned male Eastern Hercules Beetles are the heaviest North American Beetles.

Letter 29 – Female Eastern Hercules beetle attacked in parking lot and rescued!!!!

 

Subject: Odd, Damaged Beetle
Location: Hartsville, South Carolina, USA
July 26, 2013 12:06 pm
Hey, There,
Today (July 26, 2013) my daughter and I saw this beetle staggering across the Wal-Mart parking lot. Upon closer inspection, we discovered it had a large crack in the shell covering it’s head. It seemed unable to move it’s right front leg and held it pinned close to its head. I’m not a bug person, but I felt bad for the little fellow so we scooped him up in a little paperbag and planned to take him somewhere green and let him lose. Then I decided I needed to take a picture of him first so we put him in a stainless steel bowl, took his picture, then set him lose in the shade of some pine trees in our backyard. I tried to look him up and thought he might be a grapevine beetle, but he has more than 3 spots running down each side so I kept looking, but couldn’t find anything else. Any ideas? We’re in Hartsville, SC. Thanks if you can help me. Lillian Turner
Signature: L. Turner

Oh I think it must be a female Eastern Hercules Beetle.  As I was scrolling through your site, I found a picture of it!  Thanks.  Lillian

Female Eastern Hercules Beetle:  attacked and rescued!!!
Female Eastern Hercules Beetle: attacked and rescued!!!

Dear Lillian,
Your submission saddened us, but we were also touched by your kindness.  You are correct that this is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle,
Dynastes tityus.  Male Eastern Hercules Beetles are the heaviest beetles in North America.  Many insects fall victim to Unnecessary Carnage, but large insects in busy parking lots tend to become statistics of human violence at a disproportional rate.  Perhaps it is related to road rage or not being able to find convenient parking at Walmart, but whatever the reason, many people have no qualms about stomping and smashing insects they encounter in public places.  Your kindness to this living creature is greatly appreciated, so we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award as well as tagging it as Unnecessary Carnage because of the misguided rage of the anonymous shopper who encountered this magnificent creature before you did.  Sadly, she is mortally wounded and will likely die soon.  We have been called away from the office unexpectedly for a family emergency, so we are postdating your submission to go live on August 6 during our absence.

Injured Female Hercules Beetle
Injured Female Hercules Beetle

Letter 30 – First male Eastern Hercules Beetle of the season

 

Subject: Possible Dynastes in Christiansburg, Virginia
Location: Christiansburg, Virginia
June 23, 2017 5:44 am
Dear Sir,
We saved this specimen from certain death by car tire and are wondering if you can identify him. I thought it might be a male Dynastes tityus but the yellow coloring does not seem to match that species.
Signature: John Burke

Male Eastern Hercules Beetle

Dear John,
You are correct that this is a male Eastern Hercules Beetle, and it is our first reported sighting of the season.  Because of your kindness, we are tagging your posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

25 thoughts on “Eastern Hercules Beetle: Quick Guide to These Impressive Insects”

  1. this is amazing! I just found one of these beauties at work. I’ve lived in NE OK all my life and never seen one until today.

    Reply
  2. If you still have this female Hercules beetle, would you be willing to part with it? We found a male locally after searching for a while but we are trying to find a female so we can continue our biology lesson with our kids and hopefully end up with some larvae. We are in Georgia and would be happy to pay to have him sent here (they can make the trip via USPS if packaged properly).

    Reply
  3. iqladen :
    Hey I have a female one we found today in the rain and live in georgia.. You want me to keep it for you.. We were gonna release it but we can keep it for a little while.. That is if it doesn’t die.
    email me at jnesaki@gmail.com

    Reply
  4. I found one of these too, and would like to submit a pic. Was in Georgia. Are they harmless? If you have one as a pet, how and what do you feed it?

    Reply
  5. I found one of these on my driveway today. She was on her back so I flipped her over. Later on she was gone, so I hope she made it safely to the woods. Never saw one like this-it was big and beautiful!

    Reply
  6. So glad you posted this. I lived in Pasco when I was a kid and I saw a huge beetle walk across our driveway. No one believed me when I told them about the size. Now I know what it was. So cool!

    Reply
  7. Felt something on the inside of my shirt and it was her! Scared the life out of me. After I peeled out of my clothes faster than I ever had in my life, I put it in a Tupperware container and Im gonna scare the hell out of my co eorkers in the morning.

    Reply
  8. I live in Northern Virginia (Falls Church) and until yesterday had never seen an Eastern Hercules beetle. In 4 separate trips to my car over the last 36 hours, I have found 4 dead ones (1 female, 3 male). I’d be lying if I say it doesn’t concern me that they seem to be dropping out of the tree I park underneath…what could be killing them? (The townhouse community I live in does not spray pesticides to my knowledge) Is it normal for E. Hercules to die around the same time? Again, I’ve lived here for 12 years and have never seen an E. Hercules until now…why all of a sudden? They sure are cool, though! Hope I can see a live one soon!

    Reply
  9. Thanks, I can see now that it is a Hercules beetle. After reading through bug guide I found an interesting note suggesting that the color variations might be due to the beetle being able to change color and being mid-change. I also see that while it’s not endanged, it is at high risk, so I’m glad to see so many submissions for them. Hopefully, she laid some eggs, and they’ll be more in our area.

    Reply
  10. What a lovely photo! I recently ran across a male of this same species (literally, by stepping on him; he was unharmed) — I’ve been living here in Alabama most of my 45+ years and had never seen one before, either!

    Reply
  11. Dear Bug Professional- I found a Male Hercules Horned Beetle at Fort Belvoir VA! Beautiful creature, he didn’t survive though one of his legs was damaged, I tried to save him.

    Reply
  12. I found a beautiful specimen today upside down on my patio. It has now died but is perfectly intact. Rappahannock county VA.

    Reply
  13. I just captured a female in my garage. I thought it was a big junebug until it landed. We have it in an aquarium to find out what it is. Western PA

    Reply
  14. just found one of these at a sonic had to take it home and show the kids. released afterward. shelbyville tn

    Reply

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