I swear, you can’t go anywhere in Wichita Falls these days without running into them.  The large, black, ground beetle that seems to be everywhere this year.  Mater of fact, our Digital Managing Editor’s daughter stepped on no less than 20 of the creepy-crawlies walking into the Carmike at Sikes Center Mall.  I have also seen them in droves in the Fidelity Bank building parking lot and flower beds coming into work.  So, we asked somebody who would know, What gives?

Ken Putnam is the owner of Putnam Pest Service here in Wichita Falls, TX.  Ken has over 14 years of experience in dealing with all kinds of gross things from bugs to pythons.  When it comes to this year’s crop of black beetles, well, he says it was kind of to be expected:

The black beetles running wild this year are just your ordinary ground beetles. They tend to be a very cyclical insect, meaning that every few years they tend to hit a population peak.  Add to that all the rain we have had this spring and they were destined to be out in force.

While I was speaking with Ken, our General Manager popped her head into the office and wanted to know if they are what you call “Stink Bugs”? Ken went on:

A lot of people think that, but a stink bug is a different type of insect.  I will say this, though, the ground beetles will release a smelly chemical that they use as a defense mechanism so if you handle them your hands will get smelly.  Of course, if you step on them, you get a real dose of unpleasantness.  Other than that, the only other danger to humans is the small chance they might actually grab some skin in their pinchers, but even that would be a minor thing.

So, what’s the deal, Ken? How long are we stuck with these things all over the place?

Two things could happen, first, if we end up with another dry, and very hot summer like last year, they’ll disappear pretty quickly as their food source will dry up.  However, if that is not the case, expect to see them around for the next 3-4 months provided they have food and water.

Great, I’d rather have the bugs than a repeat of last years miserable summer.  So I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they stick around.  One more gross thing about the bugs, though.  Maybe their food supply is starting to get low already, seeing how I have seen a couple already turning to CANNIBALISM! That’s right, when their food gets low they start eating each other. I saw one today enjoying his friend with some fava beans and a nice Chianti, Hannibal Lecter style.

Ken Putnam and Putnam Pest Service can be reached by calling 940-632-7378 or by clicking here.

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