Scarab Grubs: June Beetles or Rhinoceros Beetles?????

Gigantic grubs
November 19, 2010
Found these in our compost heap (and no you are right – I do not turn it over nearly often enough…).  I’ve never seen or heard about giant grubs like these – they are placed on a standard sized garden trowel to give you a sense of the scale.  I was honestly a little too grossed out to try to straighten one out to measure it though I know right where to find more if you need me to.
I didn’t destroy them all outright (my 1st impulse) just in case they are beneficial or morph into something gorgeous.  Can you identify them for me?  Location:  Rollingwood, Texas 11/19/10…Thanks as always!  Deb Wilson

ADD a Trowel Full of Grubs

Hi Deb,
We love your photo.  You have a good cellular camera.  We increased the resolution to make your tiny file larger, and it held up nicely.  We hope that by making a reference to a recipe, we could get David Gracer to salivate and entice him into sending in an edibility comment.  Though we are certain they are Scarab Beetles, we are unsure if they are June Beetles or Rhinoceros Beetles.

Thank you!  I do have fun with my camera out in the garden.
I am fairly certain (due to the size) these are rhinoceros or ox beetle grubs.  I’m basing that (though I admit I am lousy at bug ID) on the fact that I unearth June Bug/Beetle grubs out in the soil consistently in these parts.  They are much smaller – about the circumference of a pencil and rarely more than 1/2 inch though in their curled in the ground state, length is a guess.
These grubs were in our compost heap, and were up to 3 1/2 inches long, with a diameter ranging from 3/4 to a full inch or more on the larger tail end side.  Since I was thinking they were ox beetles (and therefore not out there garnering strength and numbers to launch a beetle apocalypse on my garden beds) I simply put them back into the compost heap after I took the photos.
If these grubs are edible (and I say that knowing how a person defines “edible” varies), then a few of them could make a fairly decent meal, depending of course on if you have to remove any parts, if they shrink during preparation, etc.   And now I have to go look at photos of puppies and rainbows because I just totally grossed myself out.
Have a great weekend! /Deb Wilson

5 thoughts on “Scarab Grubs: June Beetles or Rhinoceros Beetles?????”

  1. Hi Daniel and Deb,

    For the record, only a few insect species make me salivate. I tried some of these in the summer of last year, I found a couple dozen in a log in southern AZ. I think that both these pictured here and the ones I had were Rhinoceros beetles in the genus Strategus.

    I had high hopes for the experience but wasn’t fond of them. Their insides are really muddy with digested wood — slow metabolism — and their skins are tough and chewy. I’ve read accounts of them described as delectable: not my findings.


  2. Hi Ezzarat,
    Actually, witchetty grubs are caterpillars of moths in the Cossidae family. Therefore they’re pretty different from these grubs (for example they feed on the roots of certain bushes, whereas these beetle larvae consume compost or rotting wood).

    Bardi grubs are also traditionally consumed in Australia, and they are the larvae of Cerambycid beetles, so that’s a bit closer.


  3. I have found these lg grubs in a damages silver maple tree trunk that is decaying but still very much alive. It also has carpenter ants. Would like to prolong life of this tree , any suggestions?

    • The Carpenter Ants are far more detrimental to the tree than are the Grubs, which feed on already decaying wood, though we suspect neither will kill the tree directly. We predict that the tree will most likely fall during a wind storm. We would let nature take its course. The tree may live for years.


Leave a Comment