Do Potato Bugs (Jerusalem Cricket) Bite?

Potato Bugs (Jerusalem Cricket) Bite


When you are looking to explore the activity of gardening, there are things you often tend to overlook. You may not even be aware of the possibility of bugs which may make their home in your garden. One such common variety of bugs that you need to be careful about is the potato bug.


What Is A Potato Bug?

Potato Bugs are large flightless insects, also known as Jerusalem Crickets. They are most commonly found in some parts of Mexico and western areas of the United States. Though their name suggests that they may be crickets or bugs from Jerusalem, however, these bugs do not have any relation to Jerusalem. Their name takes inspiration from the type of food which they feed on.


The potato bugs reside below the surface of the soil, which they can dig easily. Measuring up to 2.5 inches, potato bugs have a large head, red and yellow thick legs, and brown and black striped midsection.


About Potato Bugs: AKA Jerusalem Crickets


Are you already wondering, ‘do Jerusalem crickets bite’? Well, you are about to find out the answer.


Do Jerusalem Crickets Bite?

Potato bugs look mean and large, which might look frightening to many. But if you leave them in peace, they will hardly give you any reason to worry. But if at all do potato bugs bite humans? The answer to that would be a yes.


If you find potato bugs in your garden or fields, do not attack them head-on or agitate them in any way. Let them flee. While some may be shy to shoo them away from a distance, others might be inclined to attack and kill them. This will cause the potato bugs to retaliate and bite you back. This might give you an idea of why do potato bug bite.


In case you manage to agitate them, you might get a clear understanding and answer for the question ‘do potato bugs bite humans’! Especially if they are angry, yes, they do! You must be aware of the warning signs that include a unique hissing noise and a potato bug raising the back of its legs, ready to pounce for a bite.


By choosing to react to the bug, you can now expect it to retaliate! This will result in the potato bug attacking you back and answering the thought, ‘do Jerusalem crickets bite.’ Indeed, they do, and the next thing you may want to know would be ‘are potato bugs poisonous?’


Are Potato Bugs Dangerous?

Though your question ‘do potato bug bite’ has been answered, you might have several questions like ‘are potato bugs poisonous’ or ‘are potato bugs dangerous.’ You should know that they are not venomous but can emit a horrible smell and are quite capable of inflicting a painful and harsh bite.


So, are potato bugs poisonous? They indeed are not. But they do have strong jaws that they use to cause you pain with a harsh bite. Potato bugs do not inject any venom on their bite. They are known to scurry away from humans.


What It Feels Like After A Bite?

Before a potato bug bites you the first thing you will hear is a hissing noise. Then you would find the potato bug raising its hind legs to make it look more enormous and more frightening. Finally, you will feel a sharp stinging sensation along with horrendous pain in the affected area.


This is where you may be compelled to question, ‘are potato bugs poisonous.’ That will be the first thought to come to your mind, and you would wish to rush to a doctor. But let us assure you that they are not poisonous. In some cases, the bite might cause an allergic reaction, and the treatment must be delivered accordingly.


The bite signs include flu-like-symptoms such as sores, swelling, redness, and even for some, it might look like you have rashes in the affected area. The symptoms may differ from person to person. There have been cases where people felt the pain slowly leave a few minutes after the bite. The chances of this happening once again depend on each case.


To conclude – are potato bugs dangerous, we can simply say that they are not life threatening. However, they may cause certain allergic reactions and slight pain.


What To Do If A Potato Bug Bites You?

If you have been bitten by a potato bug then you have sated your curiosity to know; ‘do Jerusalem crickets bite’ and you have understood the gravity of the answer for ‘why are potato bugs dangerous’. In this case, it is necessary to take care of the bite at an early stage to prevent any possible escalations in the condition.


To prevent the development of any infections, the surrounding area of the affected region must be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly. This can be done simply by washing the area with soap and warm water. This will get rid of most of the germs around the bitten area. Furthermore, if you begin to experience any severe pain and itching, then it is important to apply apple cider vinegar and water mixture to the bite area.


What you need is a mixture of equal quantities of water and apple cider vinegar. Using a cotton ball, you can apply the mixture softly and thoroughly over the bitten region. If you continue this treatment for a few days 3 to 4 times every day, then you will notice that any itchiness, redness, sores, and pain dull over time.


To ensure that you do not suffer from this, it is necessary to realize the importance of understanding the quoted thought; ‘do potato bug bite’.


How Does A Potato Bug Look Like?

After answering your questions about ‘why do potato bug bite,’ ‘are potato bugs dangerous,’ ‘are potato bugs poisonous,’ ‘do potato bugs bite humans,’ and ‘are Jerusalem crickets dangerous,’ we can safely move forward and get down to detecting the presence of potato bugs in your garden.


What is the first thing when it comes to detecting a potato bug? Perhaps, it is knowing what a potato bug looks like and how to identify it. Jerusalem crickets are a cross between a wasp and an ant, both large and thick. These crickets have made many people question, ‘are Jerusalem crickets dangerous,’ with their large bulging head, beady eyes, and long antennae like an ant.


What most people find truly dangerous is its huge head that has a strangely humanoid appearance. Their shiny orange and black striped body consist of 3 thick and equally frightening legs on either side. These spider-like legs enable them to move around and hop. These creatures are wingless as they are inclined to remain hidden underground. They tend to use their thick legs to dig the soil and stay under its layer for most of their life where they do not bother anyone with questions like why are potato bugs poisonous.


To add to the many question marks surrounding the thought about why are Jerusalem crickets dangerous, you can most probably consider their size is a primary concern. These crickets can grow as tall as 6 cm or 2.5 inches with a length comparable to the width of an adult human hand. To sum it up, they are the little monsters of a garden, where anyone can find them and immediately retreat at the thought are potato bugs poisonous!


Since it is now easier to spot them out with the description mentioned above, it is necessary to know where they may be found before you encounter them by chance and think regrettably, why do potato bug bite!


What Do They Commonly Feed On?

Potato vegetation makes its appearance around the late spring. That is the time potato bugs come out from their hidden residence under the soil. Apart from that, potato bugs are often looking to come out at the time tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are available in the vegetation. They mostly feed on tubers and roots. They are found in moist conditions where there is plenty of organic material. After spending the winters in the soil, their presence can be estimated if you encounter damaged flower buds around this time. The larva attacks the flower buds first then goes for the leaves. If you are wondering, then yes, the potato bugs can feed on plants both as larva and adult bug forms.


You would not have to think of the answer to the question, ‘do potato bug bite’, unless you find them and try to attack them yourself.


Different Ways To Keep Potato Bugs At Bay

You have invested yourself in answering doubts about; ‘do potato bug bite’, ‘are potato bugs harmful’, and ‘do potato bugs bite humans’. Now it is time that you delve into the ways how you can simply avoid their presence in your garden in a safe way.


One good thing about a potato bug infestation is that they do not appear in huge clusters. This makes the task of getting rid of them from the garden easier. You can use one or more of the following methods to do that:


Baiting the bugs

One way is to bait the bugs and lead them away from the garden using the things that attract them. These things might include moisture and dampness that is the favorite of the potato bugs.


Neem Oil Spray

This is an effective way as neem oil is a natural pesticide and has insect repelling chemicals to make the task effective. This also is a good way to ensure that the bugs halt their feed on the plants in your garden.


Trapping the bugs

If you wish to trap and eliminate bugs, you can prepare traps. This can be done by digging deep trenches and covering them with a plastic sheet at the base. Baiting the bugs to fall in this, you can easily round them up in the sheet and move them elsewhere or eliminate them.


Removal by hand

Through this method, you can snip away a branch on which this bug is feeding and carry it to a different region to remove it physically from the garden. In other cases, you can simply wear gloves and hand pick and remove them from the plants.


Diatomaceous Earth

This is a specific type of soil dug from the underground that consists of fossilized algae. This is harmful to potato bugs but safe for your plants and crops. You can spread it evenly around the area of the crops and eliminate chances of potato bugs feeding on it.


While you are doing this, it is important to keep in mind the relevant and already gone over the answer to the question; ‘are potato bugs dangerous’, and ‘do potato bug bite’. Taking care of yourself while finding ways to get rid of the potato bugs is a must.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: Do potato bugs scream?

Ans. When you find yourself asking if the potato bugs make noises like a scream, then you can be satisfied with this answer.


Potato bugs do not scream. Though they do make certain sounds depending on the action they are performing or they are about to perform. For example, potato bugs or Jerusalem crickets make a hissing sound when they feel cornered, agitated, and angry, and are ready to attack you to save themselves. This is where you should acknowledge the answer to the question; ‘do potato bugs bite humans’. This will help you be prepared.


Apart from that, they can appear to be threatening validating your doubt; ‘are potato bugs dangerous’. They do this by making scratching sounds as they rub their rear legs against the skin of the abdomen. This makes them appear more frightening with an intention to keep you away.


Crickets can also communicate by drumming which is done by tapping their abdomen on the ground. This is mainly the signal for mating.


So, the crickets do not scream, while they may drum, scratch, or hiss.


Ques 2: Where do potato bugs come from?

Ans. Potato bugs are most commonly found in the western and southern parts of the United States including the Pacific Coast. Also, they can be found in Mexico in the south and British Columbia in the northern region. These potato bugs are mostly nocturnal, which means that they reside inside the ground. Their habitat mostly consists of moist grounds, around manure heaps, and damp areas.


Within the United States, they are commonly located in most of the areas except for Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, and California. You can find them in certain parts of Europe and Asia as well. While you won’t be able to locate them in winters as they live under the layer of soil, their eggs are laid mostly on the underside of the spring leaves, the time that they come out of their hiding to feed.


Ques 3. Will dawn dish soap kill potato bugs?

Ans. Dawn dish soap is an ingredient of pesticides and is found to be very effective in killing potato bugs. It does not exactly eliminate them, rather it destroys their protection and skin leading to their decimation.


Though the dawn dish soap is great for protecting your garden and crops from a potato bug infestation, this is quite harmful to your plants and crops. Repeated use of this soap dish might lead to damage to the foliage. Therefore, it is advisable to use it wisely and in a controlled way.

Ques 4: What home remedy kills potato bugs?

Ans. There are some easy home remedies to get rid of the annoying potato bugs in your garden.


Introducing Ladybug

This is a method where ladybugs are released in the night to first get them acquainted with the environment. These are natural predators of potato bugs that when covered and sprinkled with moist air would attract the bugs for easy termination.


Coffee Can And Dish Soap

Take a coffee can and fill it with water and dish soap solution. Wear a pair of gloves and pick off the potato bugs from the plants. Drop them in the solution. That would be an easy way to get rid of them through the handpicking method.


Using Netting

It would be a great idea to buy a net of appropriate size that covers your plants that may be a potential feed for potato bugs. Once covered, the net holes would continue the transfer of moisture and air as necessary while forming a concrete barrier against the potato bugs.


Wheat Bran

Wheat bran is a great way to get rid of the bugs. All you have to do is sprinkle it thoroughly over the plant and leaves. When the potato bugs feed on it, it will settle inside the stomach and gradually expand in size as is the property of wheat bran. This will eventually cause the potato bug to die.


Whichever method you use, it is necessary to be very careful that you do not forget the facts that clearly answer ‘do Jerusalem crickets bite’. You must be well aware of the answers before proceeding with these remedies as given in the article above.


Ques 5: Are Jerusalem crickets same as potato bugs?

Ans. As we have mentioned above Jerusalem Crickets is just another name for potato bugs. Though they are not a native of Jerusalem and the name does not mean that they are a species of crickets, it is a coined name for potato bugs. It is the name of a Stenopalmatus fuscus, which is a wingless insect having a human-like head.


Many questions have been asked about them such as: ‘do Jerusalem crickets bite’, ‘are Jerusalem crickets dangerous’, ‘are potato bugs poisonous’, ‘are potato bugs harmful’, ‘do potato bug bite’, ‘are potato bugs dangerous’, and so on. Answers to these questions have been provided in the above article.

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Do Potato Bug Bite: Concluding Note

Many people keep wondering; ‘are potato bugs harmful’, or, ‘are potato bugs poisonous’. The most settled answer to these is that potato bugs or Jerusalem crickets are not very harmful, neither are they poisonous.


Most people are biased about this because they have suffered through and experienced the true effect of; ‘do potato bug bite’, and might say that they are harmful. In reality, they are not harmful to humans. They might bite when provoked. Otherwise, they are shy creatures that are going about their routine of feeding on their potential food. What is more, they feed on insects and pests that may be more harmful to your crops than the potato bugs themselves.


Since you know the answer to ‘are potato bugs harmful’, you can realize the importance of keeping a safe distance from them by letting them feel your presence which will make them shy away.


Disclaimer: The advice mentioned in this article should not be substituted for expert advice.