Currently viewing the tag: "unnecessary carnage"
Insects are prone to unnecessary slaughter, be it from an overzealous homemaker who doesn't want to see bugs, or from a strapping he-man who is a closet arachnophobe, or from a youngster who likes to torture. At any rate, we get a goodly amount of photos of poor arthropods whose lives ended prematurely. In an effort to educate, we present Unnecessary Carnage. This page is not intended for the squeemish.

Scary Australian bug
I saw your site listed as a Bonzer site on This Is True a little while back. When my wife found this terrifying bug last night, I immediately thought of you in trying to identify it. My wife went to the loo last night and saw this thing sitting on the top of the doorframe. She exited as quickly as possible and called me. After about ten minutes of spirited discussion we summoned up the courage (and tools) necessary to approach it. I took the first photo after we’d managed to knock it on to the toilet floor. After that I took it outside, emptied it from the container we’d captured it in and executed it. I took the second photo this afternoon, just so that you could see the bottom of this creature in case it helps with identification. I’ve failed to identify it from anything I could see on your website. I had a look on BugGuide, and I’m *guessing* that it fits in the subclass Apterygota. I live in Lauderdale, Tasmania, Australia. The bug is roughly 4cm from the head to the end of its abdomen, and the terrifying spike thing on the back adds almost another 2cm. I’m not sure whether I want you to tell me that it’s dangerous, and that I’m therefore justified in killing it, or that it’s harmless so I can sleep at night without worrying that more will turn up. We found a dried up husk on our front porch which obviously belonged to one of these, so we know there are more around. Anyway, I hope you like the pictures, and I hope you can tell me what it is!

Hi John,
We can assure you this gal was perfectly harmless. It looks to us like a Weta, a primitive Orthopteran that is endangered in New Zealand. There are close relatives in South Africa and Australia, and the North American relatives are the Potato Bugs. In New Zealand, the Giant Wetas can grow to 8 inches. Here is the Wikipedia page with more information.

Update:  February 1, 2014
This is a female King Cricket, Australostoma australasia.

Note from bug central
First of all, I apologize for the first photo I send you being of carnage. Yesterday my sister, who lives in San Rafael, CA, eMailed me and mentioned she had murdered a 3 inch long termite in her garage the evening before. I am not a bug expert, but I quickly told her it wasn’t a termite, ha ha! Meanwhile I visited your website to quickly compare visually what her bug may have been with what I would picture my sister thinking would be a gigantic termite. After seeing the Potato Bug I knew right away this was her bug. After finding out that she performed this act by dropping a brick from waist high, wearing knee high rain boots while her husband protected their family dogs from this horrible monster!…I broke the news as to what kind of bug it probably was. I gave her the link to your Cricket pages and she thought I may be correct. I told her next time to make sure she gets a photo of the bug, preferrably alive. Just as I told her this, she went to the outside trash can and believe it or not found the bug right on top of everything. She snapped a photo and proved to both of us her giant termite was indeed a Potato Bug or Jerusalem Cricket. I promise the next photo(s) I send you will not be of carnage. I just had to send this one.
Great site, thanks.
Bald John of Tucson

Hi Bald John of Tucson,
While we feel sorry for the poor Mashed Potato Bug, we can’t help but chuckle at your colorful story. We wish there was a photo of your brick wielding sister in her boots with the cowering husband and dogs, preferably from the Potato Bugs point of view. A dramatic recreation is in order.

oil beetle
my boss [runs a tree-trimming, spraying etc company] found a bug … i’ve attached a photo – not the best photo = i took it. do you think it is an “oil beetle”? we are located in stockton new jersey, but do tree work in new jersey and pennsylvania, so is it possible that oil beetles are in our area?
thanks for your help?

Hi Lynnie,
Yes, this is an Oil Beetle. They are also known as Short Winged Blister Beetles and are in the genus Meloe. They are found in your area. According to the Audubon Guide: “If disturbed, this beetle feigns death by falling on its side. Leg joints exude droplets of liquid that cause blisters.” We are hoping your photo shows this feigning death behavior and is not the result of extermination.

Monster in my bathtub!
I found this freaky creature in my tub on November 15th 2005. I live in Redlands, California which is located in the southern part of the state. It had tenticles out either end and has stripes going lengthwise down it’s body. It had many legs, I’d say about 11 or 12 legs on each side. It was about 2 inches in length total from antenna to antenna. I think I have possibly seen relatives of this bug in my toilet when I’ve come home from vacation, but I could be wrong.
Christina Coffield

Hi Christina,
Somehow, we don’t think your House Centipede died of natural causes. We do find the Disney ruler somewhat amusing.

Any idea about this spider like creature
Hello again,
My name is Susan and I recently sent you a message about a garden orb spider. Thank you again, for your research. The attached photos were taken in Long Beach, CA at a horse barn. I accidentally found him under a patch of hay that had been tossed out of a stall. I went to pick up the hay, and this thing touched my finger and very much surprised me. After we kind of mushed it, I decided to take the attached photos in hopes that you might be able to help me determine what it is. I’m only guessing that it might be of the crab spider family.
Hope to hear from you,
Torrance, CA

Hi Susan,
We haven’t had a posting on the Unnecessary Carnage page of our site in a month. Your Mashed Potato Bug is also called a Jerusalem Cricket. We get 100’s of letters per year with requests for their identification. They are harmless, but people fear them and are grossed out by their appearance. We at What’s That Bug? are much more grossed out by the gore.

Can You tell me is this ……. Hi
My Name is Osiris and I live in NY and live in ah private home recently I have been spotting and killing ah type of bug of which I find very repulsive because it has very long legs and 3 tails on both sides, I have found then in my basement near de boiler room and also in between doorways. I have killed about 6 of them and of which 4 were very big like about ah inch long and the rest were half inch non the les I found something similar to it called ah silver fish but as I see the pictures it does not exactly look like the ones in my house. I hope you can tell what kind of bug it is I took some pictures of it.

Hi Osiris,
House Centipedes are your friends. They will kill and eat Roaches.