Mystery Beetle with Cute Antennae
Could you identify this beetle that I found in our backyard this morning? I am attaching a picture – the antennae are so unusual – and I have to say it – cute. We live in Pembroke Pines, FL – south Florida just south of Ft. Lauderdale.

Dear Suze,
I must say I admire that you polish your nails before digging in the dirt. You have a magnificent photograph of a female Rainbow Scarab, Phanaues vindex, which is relatively common in Florida. These are scarab beetles further classified as Dung Beetles or Tumblebugs. The male Rainbow Scarab has a single long curved horn which arises from his head. These insects are unusual in that they work in pairs, rolling a ball of animal dung which is buried with a single egg. The dung is the food source for the developing grub. They are important in that they help clear away and break down the animal excrement, making for a more beautiful environment as well as more fertile soil. This type of beetle is the scarab of Egyptian heiroglyphics and jewelry. The ancient Egyptians were fascinated by the appearance of the beetles rolling a ball of dung in the sand and likened the ball to the orb of the sun.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Dear What’s That Bug:
Thanks for your informative web site. I had the misfortune of moving into an apartment that was infested with German cockroaches about a month ago. On average I see around 10 of the critters a day throughout the unit, sometimes more. After negotiations with my landlord, I’m planning to move out in the next few weeks but I’m terrified of taking these pests with me. I took very few clothes to the apartment and never used two of the closets nor did I ever use the kitchen normally. Most of my belongings are in lidded plastic bins and anything that has remained in a box I plan to re-pack in a plastic bin. I plan to get rid of my dresser drawers as I often saw roaches on them. How worried should I be about taking these things with me? Can you recommend anything else I can do in terms of my furniture to help prevent them coming with me? Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you bug man!
Nervous in Virginia

Dear Nervous,
You have every cause to be concerned. These roaches are insidious. Unfortunately, you can never be positive that you are not transporting tiny immature roaches to your new apartment. I don’t normally endorse fumigation, but it would be wise to find some way of poisoning the stowaways who might be infesting your belongings. You might want to take your clothes to the laundermat and wash them before going to your new place. Do not return them to the site of the infestation or you may get new hitch-hikers. Good luck.


Dear Silverchicken,
I think your sister was pulling your leg. Earwigs, on the other hand, have a reputation for seeking
refuge in ears, hence their name. Earwigs will not burrow or do any permanent damage, they are just
seeking shelter. No need to fear silverfish or earwigs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

I live in the Northeast and I having a problem with these black bugs in my basement. I always thought they were called potato bugs but when I looked for a picture of potato bugs on the net, I realized that the bugs in my basement are something else. I would like to know what they are called. The are black. They have a shell-like back. They roll into a perfect ball when they are touched. They don’t bite. I use to play with them as a child. I have not seen them in the winter months. However, somehow, they find there way in my home when the weather breaks. Do you know if they have a name?

Dear Connie,
It sounds like you are describing Sow Bugs or Pill Bugs. These are not insects but Isopods, a group of Crustaceans. They are often numerous in damp places including basements and gardens. They are called Pill Bugs because of their habit of rolling into a ball. The Common Pill Bug, Armadillidium vulgare, is dark in color, often approaching black. They are omniverous, and feed on young and decaying plant material. Unless very numerous, they do not make significant damage. They have few predators because of a distasteful secretion, but a spider, the Sow Bug Killer, is a natural enemy. Here is a photo we just took in our garden.

what are palmetto bugs and where did they get that name??????????

Palmetto bugs are very large, flying cockroaches. They are found in warmer climates, like Florida, and they get their name because they are often found near palmetto trees.

is there anyway to get rid of them?

Since they live outdoors, and can fly from location to location, mass annihilation of the species is the only way to keep them out of your yard. Since this is not feasable, and since they are not really pests, just a frighteningly large annoyance, I suggest learning to ignore them.

Hi – Sorry I don’t have a picture to send, but this all happened far too fast for me to grab a camera. I was setting in a chair on one side of the room very early in the morning, when I noticed something moving near the front door. When I got up to check it out, it turned out to be a spider like I have never seen before. It was a light brown color,with a darker brown abdomen, and almost looked like it had hair growing on it’s abdomen. And it was quite large, about the size of a quarter. The strangest thing about this spider was, when I opened the door to shoo it out, hundreds of baby spiders jumped off of the abdomen and scurried in all directions. They were too small for me to get a good look at and moving far to fast. I was living in So CA at the time, and I have spent at least five or six years trying to find out what this spider was. Can you help out?
Thanks in advance,

Hi Linda,
Female Wolf Spiders, Family Lycosidae, carry their eggs around. When the eggs hatch, the young spiders, called spiderlings, ride around on their mother’s back for a short time. These are hunting spiders which do not build webs. The females are highly maternal. You obviously caught them the minute the apron strings were cut. Congratulations on seeing a wonder of nature that obviously left an impression. Here is an image I downloaded from a Florida website. Wolf Spiders of different species are found worldwide.