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Old 11-02-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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I've only seen one of these and it was dead, but I thought it looked like something from outer space or made out of spare parts from other insects. Are they common anywhere?


AND
http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/201...lla/a92efe.jpg
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Location: oregon
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You know are these common is a good question...
I've only seen a few down at home in northern ca and so far
not up here in Oregon.
they are so nasty looking that they give one the creeps..
hope someone responds to this that knows about these big bugs
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Old 11-02-2013, 04:42 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Likewise, we saw a lot of them in the East Bay Area, California. I have never seen one here in WA. They dislike cold winters
and are native to CA and Mexico where it's warmer. They actually have nothing to do with potatoes, but eat any decayed matter and some smaller insects.
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Little Rock AR USA
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A long time ago when I was a country kid here in AR, potato bugs were common and each morning, while it was still cool, granny and I would go to the garden to pick them off and drop them into a snuff can which had kerosene (we called it coal oil) in it. But I don't remember them looking like the bug in the photo. Of course I never got that close to it Then in mid-summer if they got really bad, Papa (grandpa) would put powdered arsenic in a flower sack and dust the potato plants. Yes, I know (before y'all jump in here), we now know arsenic is poison, probably contaminated the soil in the garden, we probably ingested it when eating the potatoes, and Papa probably inhaled lots of it, but granny and Papa both lived to almost 90 years and as I sit here typing this I'm rapidly approaching that age, so go figure
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArkansasSlim View Post
A long time ago when I was a country kid here in AR, potato bugs were common and each morning, while it was still cool, granny and I would go to the garden to pick them off and drop them into a snuff can which had kerosene (we called it coal oil) in it. But I don't remember them looking like the bug in the photo. Of course I never got that close to it Then in mid-summer if they got really bad, Papa (grandpa) would put powdered arsenic in a flower sack and dust the potato plants. Yes, I know (before y'all jump in here), we now know arsenic is poison, probably contaminated the soil in the garden, we probably ingested it when eating the potatoes, and Papa probably inhaled lots of it, but granny and Papa both lived to almost 90 years and as I sit here typing this I'm rapidly approaching that age, so go figure
I've lived the life, too, ArkansasSlim! As I mentioned to you, I thumb my nose at the you-know-whos.
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:43 AM
 
2,063 posts, read 7,185,032 times
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Originally Posted by Priscilla Martin View Post
I've only seen one of these and it was dead, but I thought it looked like something from outer space or made out of spare parts from other insects. Are they common anywhere?


AND
http://pics.davesgarden.com/pics/201...lla/a92efe.jpg

As several people noted they have seen them in CA but rarely see them, if at all, all the way up north in WA. Their natural habitat is the hotter part of the west and southwest as far east as the Oklahoma panhandle, parts of Texas and down into Mexico. They don't like the cold much so points east of there they just don't exist naturally. Their other, much more common name is Jerusalem cricket and your description of them is pretty right on. I've never seen one in person but have seen them in entomology lab and can imagine seeing one up close and in person in your garden might be very memorable.

While they aren't aggressive they have been known to have a painful bite when cornered or threatened. If you want some fairly down to earth information on what they are, and more, try reading this from the Calafornia Academy of Sciences: http://www.calacademy.org/science_no...m_crickets.php

If you have problems with them in your garden this is an excellent site for remedies (they work with other members of the cricket and grasshopper family as well and are less toxic to the environment and you).
Natural Remedy to Kill Potato Bugs | Home Guides | SF Gate


ArkansasSlim since the bug the OP mentioned is not naturally found in your area and tends to be only out at night I am wondering if what you had to pick off the plants were Potato Beetles. The following is a closeup of them from the University of Florida website:



They are a serious pest that seems to be able to resist just about every method of getting rid of them.

There was time in our youth where people smoked like chimneys and dumped toxic chemicals right and left because they didn't know better and it worked on the pests of the day so beautifully. Many people paid with it by getting cancers and horrible neurological disorders but we all know at least a few people who seemed to survive it all without getting sick. I'm sure you are grateful to be among them.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:23 AM
 
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Right-on Em You beat me to the Jerusalem Cricket. As kids during the hot California Central Valley summers we used to have endless fun with these bugs. When my family moved up North from LA when I was about 10 I used to spend lots of summers in the country with my cousins at Tata and Nanas house. I remember me and my cousins used to trap them, put them in glass mason jars and get them all riled up. Those things get REALLY pissed being confined and pestered. Then we would release them in shoe boxes to fight. Lots o fun for a new from the city kid. Pre-teen boys
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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We would often dig them up when planting in the yard. They were favorites of my younger brothers, who played with them endlessly but were never bitten. They liked to keep them in their pockets with sowbugs and pillbugs, which would sometimes give mom a fright on laundry day.

Whenever I saw them in homes they were sitting in a corner. I don't know if they felt safer there or were waiting for the next meal to pass on by. Nowadays I occasionally see one in a swimming pool.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
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We used to see them as kids all the time in the Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Ventura area of California. I have seen a few within the last year but nothing like when I was a kid.
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Old 11-04-2013, 01:33 PM
 
Location: oregon
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Growing up in Napa, they would just show up and startle the pants off of you.I just think they are nasty looking.
Had no idea you could play with them..Thanks for the laugh Bulldogdad..Have not come across them up there in Oregon.
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