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.

“Carnage” for your site
Hi there,
Thanks for your informative site, which I found when trying to ID an
insect shell we found on our fencepost. It was a Cicada, and your site was the best information I found on the web, leaving no question that I’d gotten the right answer. Then I was pulled into looking at all the photos and reading about all the bugs. Fascinating! Attached is a photo for your “Carnage” page, and it leads me to a question you may not be able to answer because it’s about a cat. We live in an old house and have always had an ample supply of House Centipedes in our basement. When we got a cat, our Centipede population dwindled remarkably. The thing is, though, the cat doesn’t just squash the Centipedes, and she doesn’t eat them. She pulls off their many, many legs and leaves the bodies and antennas behind! She’s incredibly neat about it, clearing all the legs (on the attached photo she happened to leave one behind, which is unusual) without marring the body or disconnecting the antennas. Is this typical cat behavior, or do we have a psycho-kitty on our hands? Should we sleep with one eye open?
Minneapolis, MN

Hi Tammy,
I was very off-put by your subject heading and have been avoiding opening your letter. I was pleasantly surprised that some bug hater hadn’t squashed some poor critter just to get the image posted online. We are not the best choice for advice on normal cat behavior since our own Mathilda is the most neurotic cat on the planet, and the little monster brought two mice into the house this week and bit off their heads.

I know these pictures are not the greatest but it’s the best I could do at the time. This is what I know to date: I live in Detroit, MI. I have seen about 5 of these in our area. I have lived in MI my entire life 45 years and in this house location for 10 years and I have never seen one of these bugs or their tunnels in the area. They tunnel in the dirt that is between the sidewalk and the grass. Their tunnels seem to always be on a 45 degree angle through the dirt. They mound the dirt up outside the tunnel, it’s a huge mound about as big as my shoe. Could you please help in identifying this creature? Thanks for your help.
Byron E. Freshwater

Hi Byron,
I hope this Cicada Killer met a death by natural causes. The Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus, is a large solitary wasp. A female digs a burrow and provisions it with cicadas. The cicadas are often larger than the Cicada Killer. She stings the cicada oftne in a tree, and then flies down toward her nest while carrying the large cicada. If she does not reach the burrow, she climbs another tree lugging the cicada and then attemps again to fly to the burrow. The cicada is only paralyzed by the wasp and once the cicada is buried an egg is layed. When the larva hatches, it feeds on the still living cicada, a source of fresh meat. I would guess that an unusually large population of cicadas in your area this year is also responsible for the increased numbers of Cicada Killers.

PLEASE help! Please identify this bug.
Dear Bugman,
I found two of these so far. I think it is a beetle larva. Not sure if it is or not, and if so not sure what kind it is at all. They have six legs up front that seem short and it has VERY strong pincers up front/mouth area. The first one bit/pinched a plastic fork pretty good as I tried to pick it up to inspect, and the second one bit/pinched my dog on the tongue when he picked it up with his mouth. They are shiny black on the back and a grayish white color on the complete underside. PLEASE see attached photos. I am asking because I have disposed of both of them and do not want to kill a non destructive insect.
Thanks you for your time!!
Matt A.

Hi Matt,
Stop the Carnage. This is the larva of a Caterpillar Hunter, Calosoma scrutator, one of the larger Ground Beetles. Both the beautiful green adult and the larvae devour quantities of harmful insects, including the introduced pestilence, the Gypsy Moth.

Found this bug on the dock at our family cottage near Bancroft Ontario. Any ideas?

Oh, the carnage. This is a Sugar Maple Borer, Glycobius speciosus. This beautiful beetle lays eggs in the bark crevices of hard maples and the larvae mine between the bark and the wood.

Please tell me I didn’t kill it.
Bugman Hi,
At first I was astonished by its majestic shape (hence the picture), but after ten minutes of it just staring at me, I freaked and washed this centipede, which occupied my kitchen sink, down the drain with tap water. It put up a good fight and didn’t seem to mind it for the most part.
a friend directed me to your site and now I am ashamed of my ignorance and my reaction. I have never seen anything like it and obviously overreacted.
Could you pass on my apology? being a bugman and all.

Hi Rami,
We and the House Centipede forgive you because we know it won’t happen again.