Tomentose Burying Beetle Melee

Subject: I wonder if you’ve seen some of these before…
Location: Pointe-a-la-Garde, Quebec
August 31, 2013 6:20 pm
This evening, 8 of these bumblebee/beetle type insects invaded my house. My dog injured one of them and then three other of these insects attacked and killed the injured one.
Signature: Thanks for taking a look! Alex.

Tomentose Burying Beetle
Tomentose Burying Beetle

Dear Alex,
This is definitely a Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle in the genus
Nicrophorus, and we are relatively certain it is the Tomentose Burying Beetle, Nicrophorus tomentosus based on photos posted to BugGuide.  Burying Beetles often bury small dead animals and the putrefying flesh acts as food for developing larvae.  Adults often work in pairs to bury small animals and they defend the young, a behavioral trait that is very rare in beetles.  We don’t understand why you had such a sighting, unless you have an earthen floor in the basement or there was a dead animal somewhere in your home that acted as a breeding ground for this group of beetles.  The feeding melee that resulted after one individual was injured was a very interesting observation.  They are probably very hungry and just want to get out of the house.

Burying Beetle Melee
Burying Beetle Melee

Thank you so much Daniel.  I have been digging out my 100+ year old foundation, and I have found some quite large burrying holes around the exterior of the house.  Although I do have many grass snakes that take care of my rodent (non-issues).  Plus there are bats, hawks owls and eagles here, so the odds of finding dead rodents are probable.
Thanks for having your site!


Leave a Comment