Big Beetles
September 22, 2004 8:02 AM   Subscribe

BugFilter: We have these huge beetles (not cockroaches) in our house these there a good pictoral guide on the internet for figuring out what they are? I live in Chicago, so anything that would be searchable by region would be great too.
posted by agregoli to Science & Nature (19 answers total) is pretty useful. Is this your beastie? Soft shell, wings, 1-2 inches long? They're fairly active this time of year, looking for places to overwinter.
posted by bonehead at 8:18 AM on September 22, 2004

semi off topic: I've always thought some sort of OCR type thingy would be perfect for bug identification. Just place the bug on the scanner...

Certainly some nerd out there could whip this up in a day or two, if they haven't already.
posted by bondcliff at 8:28 AM on September 22, 2004

I think it might be the water bug, thanks. The first one I ever saw was in the bathroom sink, so that might be the answer. When it happened every month or so, I didn't mind but now we see one every few days and it's alarming me. I don't know what else to do besides cover all the drains, but maybe they're coming in elsewhere?

All I know is they give me the heebie jeebies. Excite the cat though.
posted by agregoli at 8:38 AM on September 22, 2004

My bugs definitely have antennae though, and the giant water bug doesn't seem to.
posted by agregoli at 8:42 AM on September 22, 2004

If you have a picture of it, send it to the folks over at Fond 4 Beetles. It might take them a day or two but they will definitely identify your bug in question.
posted by codger at 8:52 AM on September 22, 2004

Does it look more like this? It looks much like the waterbug (and is about the same size) in bonehead's link but has long antennae. If so, it's a "palmetto bug". I won't tell you what other names it goes by.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:02 AM on September 22, 2004

This is a great resource I found while searching for giant water beetles, but I couldn't find what I was looking for.

They're definitely pitch black, the largest is at least two inches long, they have attenae and they seem like they might come out of the sink/area where pipes are. They can move alright but seem to be easily killed by my cat.
posted by agregoli at 9:07 AM on September 22, 2004

The only hope I have that these aren't roaches is that they are pitch black. They really don't look brown in the least.

At any rate, I'm scared to go home now.
posted by agregoli at 9:09 AM on September 22, 2004

Cicadas maybe? They are black from above and quite large. They have short, horn-like antenae, but very distinctive eyes and wings.

American cockroaches aka palmettos aka water bugs are brown. Most of the common roaches are brown. If your bugs are black, then they're almost certainly not a 'roach, if that's any comfort.
posted by bonehead at 10:32 AM on September 22, 2004

Oriental Cockroaches are black. Cool bug guide.
posted by cardboard at 10:52 AM on September 22, 2004

Boring beetles get that big, are sometimes black, live in Chicago (a Chinese species invaded the area in 1998), and could be the sign of something really bad because they like rotting wood. On the other hand Oriental cockroaches seem a likely suspect. I'd be real surprised if they were cicadas.
posted by furiousthought at 10:59 AM on September 22, 2004

Ground Beetles are another possibility as an accidental visitor into the house, but if there are lots of them, things don't look good that they aren't roaches.
posted by cardboard at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2004

Don't look like cicadas in that their wing structure (if those are wings) are very close to the body and not clear. They also have flatter bodies than the cicadas suggest. Don't seem to be Oriental Cockroaches either.

I don't know whether I should be relieved. I will try to take a picture of the next one I see but usually I just want to be as far away from it as possible.
posted by agregoli at 11:17 AM on September 22, 2004

Boring beetles - I don't think so.

The Ground beetles are close, but the shell doesn't look quite the same, and these ones get much bigger than the size specifications on that website.

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys, I appreciate all the help!
posted by agregoli at 11:23 AM on September 22, 2004

Ok, now I'm really horrified, as I seem to have some species of cockroach. I think it's oriental, although I'm a little confused as all of the size requirements seem like ours are mutants.
posted by agregoli at 11:39 AM on September 22, 2004

Plus, they say they emit an odor, and I've never noticed that.
posted by agregoli at 11:42 AM on September 22, 2004

I've used the Gardenweb forums successfully for insect identification in the past. I'm not sure whether the appropriate topic area is Name This Animal or just plain Insects. But they'll answer whether the critter is in your house or eating your garden, and tell you what to do about them.
posted by kmel at 4:30 PM on September 22, 2004

I posted a link to a photo to an entomology newsgroup and had identification within a couple days. (the group did not contain binaries, so I didn't post the photo there).

For cockroaches, it seems odd that you see so few. Are you in an apartment or multi-family house? If so, perhaps the infestation is in another unit. Your landlord may be interested.
posted by Goofyy at 12:46 AM on September 23, 2004

Yeah, we really don't see them very often. It's maybe once a week. We're in an apartment, and while I saw one of these suckers over a year ago in the sink, it's only recently we've started seeing them every other week. A lot of strange things have happened though, since they finished the work upstairs, and I suspect that they might have disturbed some bugs in the walls/plumbing?

Anyway, I'm going to go searching for cracks this weekend, and I think I'll keep our drains plugged for awhile to see if that helps.
posted by agregoli at 7:14 AM on September 23, 2004

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