The Q&A Archives: Big Ugly Bugs!

Question: I recently moved into a house with a great outdoor planter. When I started to dig in it, I was horrified at finding a big (about 1 and 1/2 inches) ugly (striped body (bee-like), head with mandibles (grass-hopper like), and big spider-like legs - wet looking) bug (big! gooey! threatening looking! dark brown and kind of tan to yellow). What are these things and how do I get rid of them? I recently planted nasturtiums in the planter and a garden near by. I don't want to lose it all!

Answer: I think the insect you're describing is a cave cricket, sometimes called Jerusalem cricket, or potato bug. They live in moist habitats such as underground, under logs, in tree hollows, or in burrows created by other animals.

Jerusalem crickets are common from California to Washington, and some are found in the mid-Atlantic states. They feed on other insects, plant roots, decaying vegetation, and potato tubers.

There are no chemical controls that I can find, so you may want to just hand pick and toss them. The female usually devours her mate, so you may have fewer pests to dig if you wait until late spring, after the mating season.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by Char and is called "'Diamond Head' Sunrise"