Potato Bug

Unsual bug in the garden
December 11, 2009
I was tying back some plants in preparation for rain…soon after that I saw a large bug (quarter sized) that looks like a mutation of a grasshopper, an ant, and a bee. Not sure what this could be…Is it a beneficiary garden bug or a pest? Thanks!
Southern California

Potato Bug
Potato Bug

Hi Calie,
This has to be one of our favorite images of a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket ever.  The Navajo name for this amazing creature translates to Skull Insect and the Spanish name translates to Child of the Earth, both of which refer to the almost human characteristics.  Your photo reminds us a bit of a naughty puppy trying to dig its way under the fence.  Potato Bugs are subterranean dwellers that feed on roots and they are generally sighted in the winter.  Rains often force them to the surface.  We don’t consider them to be harmful, but they do have powerful jaws and they will not hesitate to give a painful pinch if carelessly handled.

Photo of author


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.

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