What Are Potato Bugs And What To Do About Them

We’re heading into the middle of March, which means it’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day! This Irish holiday has us thinking about ways to relate Ireland to bugs that we deal with as your Sacramento pest control team. We had to stretch to find today’s blog topic, but we think it’s a good one. Today, we’re talking about potatoes.

No, not the roughly 190 pounds of potatoes that the average Irish person consumes each year in the form of roasted potatoes, chips, fries, baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes, nor are we talking about the rich history that Ireland has with potatoes. Instead, we’re talking about a much smaller, much more creepy potato: the potato bug.

Common in this area of the country, the Jerusalem cricket, known colloquially as a potato bug, is a squishy-looking, potato-like insect that can make even bug-lovers squirm. Today, your Sacramento pest control company is going to help you learn more about potato bugs and what to do if you find them in or around your home.

What’s In A Name: The Jerusalem Cricket

Jerusalem crickets are neither from Jerusalem, nor are they true crickets (and they certainly aren’t potatoes either). It is not entirely known where they got the name Jerusalem cricket, but it is believed to have been a translation error from way back when. There are about 30 species of Jerusalem crickets which are part of the family Stenopelmatidea, which include flightless insects resembling crickets. They are in the insect order of Orthoptera, which includes grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, katydids, and wetas.

Why Are They So Creepy?

Potato bugs are one of the bigger insects you are likely to find on your property, growing up to nearly 2.5 inches in length. While their exoskeleton is hard and shell-like, they look fat, squishy, and almost slimy thanks to a natural sheen that covers their body. Already, they look unlike most bugs we encounter.

They also have a different body shape than we are used to seeing. With a huge abdomen and large head, they look almost like a giant ant but with spider-like legs and big mandibles. Their heads, with two prominent eyes, resembles that of a cartoon alien.

Potato bugs move slowly and cannot fly, so you can get up close and personal with these critters. And while they are not venomous, they can give you a painful bite, so it is best not to handle them.

Potato Bug Behavior

Potato bugs are nocturnal and spends a great portion of its life burrowing underground where it feeds on small insects, tubers, and roots. When threatened, the insect can create a loud hissing sound by rubbing its back legs on its body.

Potato bugs are not generally considered a pest control problem because, while they might accidentally wander into a home, they do not infest a property like some other pests might. However, that doesn’t mean a pest control company can’t help keep them away!

As your preferred Sacramento pest control company, we use a method of pest control called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This system is great for general pest exclusion, which is what you need if potato bugs or other insects are finding their way into your home. Pest exclusion services involve performing a detailed inspection to find key areas where critters are entering your home.

Then, we will give you help you need to prevent bugs, potato or otherwise, from entering the premises. We’ll identify areas around your property that might be attracting them and find ways to mitigate these hotspots to reduce that chances that insects and other pests enter your home.

Have Potato Bugs? Give Us A Call!

If you find potato bugs in your home, chances are other pests are getting into your home as well. Because big ol’ potato bugs have found a way in (and they aren’t even looking for food in there!), other home-loving insects won’t be far behind.

Our pest control team can perform a thorough inspection and find ways to keep potato bugs and other pests out of your home without dousing the place in chemical pesticides. Get in touch with Earthwise Pest Management today and let us know what your pest problems are. We’ll be back in touch with a long-term solution that works.