Feb 11

Fig. 17. Unexpected longhorned beetle, 1.5″ excluding antennae

BeetleWhen you live in the country it’s more or less a foregone conclusion that on a daily basis you’ll be forced to look at things that bum you out. For example, it’s a pretty painful tableau when you’re about to slice onions and you reach for the trusty mandoline, but suddenly, blamm! A big-ass beetle reclining insouciantly on the handle. It’s an entity-class bug. It has its own zip code, can be seen from space, etc.

“Whoa!” quoth the startled crone.

Gargantuan arthropods in the house? Come on. I get that bugs, even the big-ass ones, are diminutive relative to human architecture; nevertheless I can’t fathom how so many of them manage to get inside. The bunkhouse is constructed of solid, sealed and caulked material, but I swear I’d have fewer buggal encounters if I were camping in a tropical rainforest with nothing separating me from the poetry of the earth but a mosquito net with several large holes in it. And what’s with these huge specimens brazenly infesting kitchen gadgets in broad daylight? Look, I’m down if they choose to regard the dank, dark crevices of seldom-opened closets as luxury resorts, but it’s simply going too far when they start striking louche poses on the cheese grater.


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  1. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Hailing from a colder clime, I have little experience with bugs large enough to own property inhabiting my space. Although I have seen a few mantises of respectable size in the backyard.

    I was expecting one of those black armored-looking things, with an antler that resembles a can opener, know what I mean? Does this one bite, sting, spit or shoot anything caustic from its nethers?

    If I were a bug, it would be one a those little dung beetles that rolls its ball of crap around by starlight.

  2. gingerest

    After four years in Australia (albeit not Queensland, the really scary part), it is amazing what you get used to. “Oh, it’s just a LITTLE one,” I’ll muse of a palm-sized spider, “Tiny for a huntsman, really. They’re so shy, and their bite is painful but doesn’t do permanent damage. She can stay, I guess.”

    But moths in the pantry? Uncontrollable shuddering. Occasional screams. I don’t know why, because it’s just a little added protein. But they fly, and they get caught in my hair, and they lay many, many, visible eggs in my dried beans. Urgh.

  3. Tarr

    Having done some research on Texas long horned beetles, it is clear that more clarifying of their taxonomic relationships is needed. Can you ID your beetle here? http://www.texasento.net/TXBycidPix.html

  4. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Hey Tarr, that’s the first page I go to whenever I espy a longhorned beetle in my utensil drawer. But in this case the specimen was released into the wild toot sweet, before I could match it up, so a more precise identification will not, alas, be possible. If I had to guess, I’d pick one like this.

    Antoinette, you’re thinking of the rhinoceros beetle. Or maybe the staghorn beetle. Seldom seen in these parts. However, I often see smallish, iridescent green scarabs, the males of which have a single prong protruding from their heads, rifling through my manure piles.

    Glove (with rainbow scarab)

    Also, get a load of this gaudy bug.

    Longhorned beetle

  5. pheenobarbidoll

    Sometimes they hitch a ride on your clothes.

    Let *that* thought sink in a moment.

  6. Friend of Snakes

    Uh-huh. This isn’t like in Florida where they call their big honkin’ roaches something else like “Palmetto bugs” is it? That’s not just some roach with fancy-schmansy antennae? Not that I’d ever doubt your I.D., of course. Up North here, most of our bugs are asleep or dead, as it should be in one’s abode. Not that I’m against the glorious diversity of the natural world. Outside.

  7. Comradde PhysioProffe

    Was that louche motherfucker in a denim leisure suit?

  8. The Crone of Cottonmouth County

    Friend of Snakes, here in Texas the big honkin roaches are called “water bugs.” I don’t see’em too often out here in the hinterland, but when I lived in town they used to fly out of my chimney and chopper around the room like miniature Executors.

    “Executor,” as you no doubt are already aware, is the name of Darth Vader’s death cruiser.

    However, my beetle is really a beetle. Taxonomically speaking, beetles are of a different order than cockroaches. Although that makes precious little difference when the insect in question is parked on your personal mandoline.

  9. TotallyDorkin

    This is why I need to live somewhere that freezes for a month or two each year.

  10. quixote

    I was going to go all biological and say, “Oh, pooh. That’s not a longhorned beetle.” But I went to Tarr’s link and I take it all back. How about “Anelaphus spp. (Impossible to separate)”? Just for the parenthetical bit, at the very least.

    The other thing I took away from that site is that Texas has way too many beetles.

  11. Jezebella

    In New Orleans we refer to the giant flying roaches as “Palmetto bugs” for reasons I do not know, and probably have nothing to do with No. 1 Science Information. Alls I know is that flying roaches are the Worst Thing Ever.

  12. Hattie

    For roaches nothing beats these.

  13. TotallyDorkin

    Is Cottonmouth a reference to the snake, or perhaps a certain herbal remedy…? Because there is no Cottonmouth county that I could find.

  14. Nolabelfits

    When I hear Cottonmouth all I can think of are fond memories of smoking shitty weed back in the seventies.

  15. speedbudget

    Those bugs you’re finding could have been little baby fuckers when the house was built, or dormant eggs that are now hatching. I had a cricket infestation in my basement. This is a brand-new house, built three years ago, with a finished cement basement with one egress window that is TIGHT. There is no reason those assholes should be hopping around my basement lair making that infernal racket. I have a particular shoe that I used to arm myself with whenever I went into the basement, and now the cricket infestation is over. It took a couple of years, cause I guess even in the dire-straits situation of cannibalizing the cricket bodies you find, crickets still want to get it on.

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