I was up late reading on a Monday night when I heard it.
Clickety clickety click. Clickety clickety click.
Living in Eastern PA, I'm used to the percussion of stink bugs slamming into, well...everything, but whatever was flittering around our bed on this particular night was decidedly LARGER. I had to investigate.
And that's when I found it, a disturbingly large insect flailing around on its back, trying to flip itself over in hopes to continue its late night romp around our vaulted bedroom ceiling.
|My late night catch- keys used to show scale|
If you've read my previous blog about spiders, you know I'm not a squisher. The simple notion of the mess a bug this size would make if squished is enough to make my stomach turn. We're a scientific family, so I mustered up all my courage (yes...I actually left my husband sleeping and did it myself) and grabbed my bug jar to trap the offending insect. In hindsight, this is one bug that I should have destroyed.
Truth be told, I did let out a mild squeal while trapping this big guy. Now you can see why...
The next morning, the research began. I used my trusty Audubon book to search for a photograph that matched the insect I had in captivity. Because the body shape looked similar to a stag beetle we had caught recently, I quickly found a match in the beetle section of my guide. We had a pine sawyer beetle on our hands. Click here for more detailed information on this ominous insect.
|My favorite bug identification resource|
It turns out that this 2 inch insect had probably been feeding on a dead pine tree somewhere in our woods. We found another pine sawyer beetle a few months ago, outside our home, so now we'll have to continue our investigation through the woods on our property. These beetles are notorious for causing pine wilt disease which destroys conifers throughout the United States. We will need to determine if pine sawyers are forming a base here, and if so, create a plan of action to eradicate them in order to protect our trees.
|This bugger barely FIT in the bug jar!|
What can we say? Bugs love it here. What's not to love?
We have strong stomachs in this family, but this insect was no joke.
Until then, keep your eyes peeled. If you find any interesting bugs, you know we'd be happy to do our homework to learn about what you've found.
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