Horned Beetle that Grows to Seven Inches Long
What is that huge beetle in your yard that resembles a mini triceratops, and looks like some type of prehistoric insect? The Eastern Hercules Beetle, that lives right here in Nashville, Tennessee. This beetle is in fact one of the largest beetles to live in the United States. With a total body length of up to 7” (including horns) and close to 2” in width it can be quite a scary encounter when you see one. In addition to being so large they are equipped with two large horns protruding from their heads. Although they are such a large and scary looking insect, they are practically harmless to humans.
The Eastern Hercules Beetle actually takes care of decomposing stumps and wood in the forest. They are equipped with two pairs of wings and can fly, but are not adept at using these wings for anything other than clumsily flying from one place to another. They are so big and awkward that they are many times found on their backs just trying to get themselves back on their feet. Although there are many species of the Hercules Beetle, The Eastern Hercules Beetle that lives among us here in Nashville are gray or a yellowish tan with black spots. It is quite easy to tell the male from the female, as it is only the male that possesses horns. Their horns make up the majority of the massive overall length, and horns vary in size due to genetics and local food sources. These horns are primarily used in battle with other males when sparring over a potential mate, with the winner having the opportunity to fertilize the female. They lock horns and wrestle until one is flipped over and incapacitated. The female is able to lay up to 100 eggs and does not stick around to protect them. After twenty to thirty days these eggs hatch into larvae that also feeds upon decaying wood found in the stump that they were born in. They overwinter and develop into adults in about twelve months.
Many people catch and keep them as pets to observe there beauty and outrageous physical size and attributes. But this should be limited, due to deforestation and development taking their natural habitat. They are nocturnal and are attracted to light. Therefore many seek out the light at night, and then find themselves in harm’s way in the middle of a road. They are also delicious meals for other nocturnal meals such as raccoons and skunks.
Eastern Hercules Beetle’s are not to be feared, with the larvae eating rotten wood and the adults feeding on decomposing and rotten fruit that has fallen to the ground. They are rare to find, unless you are searching the woods or garden ground in the middle of the night. But if you do, don’t be surprised by this large prehistoric looking, yet harmless beetle. They don’t harm your garden, so let them be, clumsily bumbling around your garden looking for some delicious rotten fruit. The Eastern Hercules Beetle is not a Nashville Pest Control problem, but we do have many beetles that can become major pests in and around your home. If your home has any unwanted invaders, please contact our local family owned and operated service provider – Certified Pest Control. Contact us to learn more about our affordable year long pest control protection plan.