The Elephant Stag Beetle (aka the Kentucky Scorpion) Looks Nightmarish but is it Dangerous?
Picture it... you are sitting on your back deck, having a cool drink, and relaxing after a long day. Then, an insect made directly from your worst nightmares flies directly into your lap.
A. Scream and run away?
B. Stay and inspect this monster?
C. Light your whole house on fire - and the surrounding neighborhood too, just to make sure?
This exact thing happened to a friend of the station, Sarah Stewart. She had some choice words for the bug.
It's OK... I'm still alive and finally able to control my shakes and heart palpitations enough to share. So... I'm out on the patio, enjoying the beautiful evening when I feel something land on my sweatpants. Look down and found this demon monster looking at me. Good Lawd, y'all. After swatting it and sending it a good 20ft away, I yell for Cory to grab the flash light and here we have the Kentucky Death Beetle Scorpion with pincher claws. #ihavenoidea #whatisthis #isitpoisonous #ineedadrink
Now, before you answer, let's take a look at this guy. According to the University of Kentucky Entomology Dept, "Stag beetles are slow-moving herbivores that climb well and are believed to feed on leaves, sap, and aphid honeydew. Kentucky species are found in wooded areas, but there are a few species from other parts of the world that live on beaches. Stag beetles are not considered pests. They are beneficial insects because they help with the decomposition process of dead wood in forests."
Two-thirds of the 30 species of stag beetle live in the Western half of the US, but the tri-state is home to several species as well. And those scary looking "teeth"? They are called mandibles and the males generally use them in combat when they are trying to woo a female beetle.
I've read that they are affectionately called "pincher bugs," "death beetles," and "Kentucky scorpions," and pioneer women used them as clothespins and belt buckles! LOL So, they look terrifying but they are harmless! I know, I know you are still burning down the house!