Currently viewing the tag: "Aquatic Bugs"

Hey Bugman!
My husband found a giant brown bug on our screen door. He was so impressed with it , that he brought it inside to show me and our daughter. It was 2 1/2-3 inches long. It was brown and looked like a large leaf-on it’s back and belly. It had 6 legs. The front legs almost looked like pinchers. We live in the bottom of the pan handle in Idaho. I’m from Kentucky and used to seeing big bugs-but this one blows my mind. Haven’t been able to find it on the internet-you’re my last chance. Help! Need to Know In Idaho

Dear Need to Know in Idaho,
That should be your state motto. I’m guessing a Giant Water Bug, also known as a Toe Biter or Electric Light Bug. We will soon be featuring it in a special Bug Biography section due to be posted in the next few days.

Hi, this is Jay again on my home address.. I was
asking you about the bug that looks like the Water scorpion but not quite.. well, since I saw it I kept
my digital camera in my car in case I came across it again, well the other night I saw his little brother I
think.. that looked like a smaller version of the big
guy I saw.. I found him on his back kicking his legs and snapped this picture.. Looks like a water scorpion without the breathing tube? I can’t say for sure this is what I saw the other night.. it’s similar in shape.. This guy was about 2.5 inches in length.. the other one was literally 5 inches. So tell me what you think…

Thanks Jay,
It is a Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus americanus, and we have been getting numerous reports about them, especially the south, more specifically Florida. They will bite painfully, and swimmers call them "toe Biters."

Hi bug man!
My name is Stephanie, and I live in a suburban neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama. I have a question about a bug that I have noticed sitting at my front door every night for the past week. It only comes out at night, and boy is it hideous looking. For starters, this thing is huge. It appears to be black on its back, yet when turned over, seems to have a lighter-colored abdomen. Also, to make it even uglier, it has two long siphon-like extensions that come out of its (i guess) “head,” and these appear to be a color similar to its (?) abdomen. I have not yet been able to approach it, for I have a fear of strange insects (and some not-so-strange ones!)…so my details are few. It apparently likes our porch light, for, as I’ve said, it only comes out at night. A few nights ago, my fiance drove me home so he could take a look at it. He attempted to kill it, spraying it with Raid. It got very upset and flew all around my front porch, banging into the door and anything in its path. (sidenote: when it hit the door, it made a very “hard” sound, as if it were a rock) After about 5 minutes, it stopped flying around and landed by our front door mat, appearing to be dead. Wanting to investigate exactly what this strange bug was, I told my fiance not to pick it up and said that I would take a look at it the next day, when it would be light outside. So, the next day, I went down….and no bug. I assumed that possibly another animal of some sort had taken it and had it for supper, and that was that. Yet, tonight, again, as I returned home at around 1am, it was back in the EXACT same place that it had been the past 5 nights. I am so terrified of it, that I will not enter my parents’ house through the front door as long as this thing is there, guarding the door….so I go around to the back (where it’s dark) and enter there! If you could, please, please, please, tell me any information that you might have regarding what the heck this nasty-looking thing is. Thanks a bunch,
Dear Stephanie,
You have written such an amazing letter, I only hope I can help you. The siphon, as well the habit of being attracted to lights leads me to think it might be a Giant Water Bug,
Lethocerus americanus, sometimes called an Electric Light Bug. We have been getting several letters about them, especially from the South. They have a common name, “Toe Biters” due to their habit of biting the toes of swimmers. They are aquatic, and equally at home in the air or water. Here is a photo:

My wife is a native to Florida and has in the last few years noticed a bug/beetle that she has never seen before. It always seems to hang around the same small bushes that one of our local restaurants have and the only other place she has seen it is at work where they have the same type of bush.
It is completely black, around two and a half inches in length, about half an inch wide and has large pinches on the front of it’s head and it also flies.
We would both appreciate it very much if you could tell us what this bug is as, we have looked on many websites and have never found it listed.
Thanks in advance,
Robert & Laura Kitchener

Dear Robert and Laura,
It sounds like a stag beetle. We have been getting reports and sitings lately.

Thanks but that is not it. The bug I mean doesn’t have such a hard shell and has similar dimensions of a palmetto bug, but larger, with claws and a bit different in color. We are going to try to get a picture of one for ya (If we can stand around it that long, ha, ha)? Thanks for all your help!

Please send that photo. Meanwhile, I’m guessing a Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus americanus). The Giant Water Bug is a true bug, a member of the order Heteroptera. They have sucking mouthparts. At nearly three inches in length, they are among the largest insects in the continental United States. The mature insects are strong fliers and because of their streamlined, keel shaped bodies, are equally comfortable in the air or in water. The adults have a variety of common names including Toe Biters and Electric Light Bugs. Any swimmer who has ever been bitten would attest to the origin of the name Toe Biter, since the bite is extremely painful. The Giant Water Bug is a ferocious hunter which uses its front claws to grasp its prey which can include small fish as well as tadpoles and water insects. Huge swarms appear periodically in brightly lit parking lots in the South. An even larger relative in South East Asia reaches five inches in length and is prized as a delicacy in Thailand. A recent news story covers a veritable invasion of Giant Water Bugs in New Port Richie, Florida that terrified the local population. Here is an image.

Thanks for the info I think that is the right bug. At first glance of the water bug out of the water, the ‘claws’ didn’t seem to stand out. Everytime I have seen this bug, it looked as if it had ‘claws’ so I wasn’t sure until I saw the PIC attached. This looks like the bug on land as well as in water. Thanks for finally settling our minds and we wont be touching one anytime soon !!!

Hey bugman,
I was recently vacationing in Orlando, FLA visiting the mouse that lives there with the family. Anyhow, we ate out one night in Kissimmee and came across an interesting bug. I would estimate it at about 3 inches long excluding pinchers or claws (whatever you want to call them). It was blakc and reminded me of a large roach or long beetle. Anyhow, at it head extended 2 long pinchers or claws. They were jagged and pointed at the end. Dumby me though the bug was interesting and dcided to toe it a little with my sneaker to get it to move. It moved away but seemed a little aggressive. Anyhow that sucker, after enough stupid taunting by me, latched onto my sneaker and wouldnt let go!!! My wife, with open toed shoes ran like hell into the resteraunt swearing at me the whole way…LOL.. Do you have any idea what bug I was dancing with?
Description : Black , I believe 6 legs, long curved and jagged pinchers (claws) about 3/4 body length extending from head area, 2 -3 " in length, fairly flat insect Anyhow, thanks for reading this and I hope you can tell me what it was. I apoligize for ticking him off too…LOL!

Hi Rick,
I don’t believe I ever answered your question, and have been in the process of posting new letters, despite the whatsthatbug site being down for heavy traffic. You have encountered a Giant Water Bug also known as a Toe Biter. As you know, they deserve their name.