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Eastern Hercules beetle

Q: I found the largest beetle I have ever seen. Could it possibly be from one of the Caribbean countries?

Q:  I found the largest beetle I have ever seen.  Could it possibly be from one of the Caribbean countries?  I found it on one of the tropical plants which comes from a warmer climate.

A:  The large beetle is the Eastern Hercules beetle, Dynastes tityus.  The adults are beige or yellow-green in color. Some have mottled spotting on the outer forewings, called elytra, while others have no spots at all. Larvae are large C-shaped grubs similar to June beetles.The grubs spend six months to one year feeding underground on decaying matter typically found in forest areas.  Eastern Hercules beetle grubs can grow up to 4 ½ inches long, whereas the adults reach only 2 ½ inches.  Because of their large size, these grubs are often sought after by a variety of predators such as raccoons, skunks, centipedes and spiders.  Even the eggs are preyed upon by mites and fly maggots. All of these adversaries keep the Eastern Hercules beetle population to small numbers, which is probably why so few of us see them lumbering about our landscapes.

Your beetle was a male with a set of “C” shaped horns. The horns on the males are used to vie for a mating opportunity with a female. Generally, no deaths occur but one male beetle must ultimately yield. Females have only small raised areas (tubercles) in place of the horns.    If you see one of these adult beetles count yourself lucky. In all my time searching for insects, I have yet to come across one. There is little reason to reach for an insecticide as they seldom cause severe damage to any of our landscape plants.