Subject: Burying Beetle?
Location: Just south of Louisville, KY
August 22, 2014 10:40 pm
I found this guy (3/4 inch?) in my house. In trying to find out what it was I decided it must be a Nicrophorus pustulatus and ran into your website in researching it. Sadly, he or she seems to have expired over-night and my daughter threw it out in the morning. (It did have a pungent smell!) I live in Bullitt county KY on 10 acres and we have always had large(7-8 ft) rat snakes around. I haven’t seen any this year….might there be a cause and effect relationship between not seeing the usual snakes and seeing one of these beetles?
How efficient are they at finding clutches of eggs and do they also attack hibernating adult snakes? (Or sleeping humans?) Do snakes leave the area if they are around or have they been killed off by them?
Any info would be appreciated.
You are correct that this is Nircrophorus pustulatus, the Pustulated Carrion Beetle, which we confirmed on BugGuide. We would not have thought that Pustulated Carrion Beetles would have a negative impact on the rat snakes in your area, but according to BugGuide: “Also reported to parasitize the eggs of Black Rat Snakes, Elaphe obsoleta (Blouin-Demers & Weatherhead 2000, Trumbo 2009).”