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Potato Bugs That Bug

Updated on January 24, 2015

Potato Bug - or ?

When I was a kid, I would see lots of these bugs not really knowing what they were and where they came from. As kids, we said they came from outer space. All I know is they looked ugly.

I was out walking, after a heavy rain had occurred the day before, a saw a large group of these potato bugs on the side of the road, near the drain area. I am not sure if they got carried up in the rain and then came down later or what! Most of them were dead.

Today, as I do this study for my lens, the little guys don't look as creepy as I remember them. To find out that the other names for the bug is Jeruselum Crickets, well that kind of makes sense. They do have similar characteristics of a cricket. And, if indeed, they are related, maybe they can make a similar noise (read below). In any case, you will find out some very interesting facts about this ugly creature. But remember, each one was some mother's baby bug. All of God creatures have a purpose!

Potato Bug - a Communist Scapegoat

Tale of the Potato Bug

Can you believe the little bug played a role behind the Iron Curtain. That's right. This little guy was, according to the Soviets, the fall guy (excuse the pun) for a plot with the United States Air Force to invade Germany with these potato eating critters. Potatoes, it seems, is a main food source for the Germans.

The United States was accused of dropping these bugs from the air. According to the story, another tactic we Americans used was to infestate as an American experiment in bacteriological warfare. It was reported by Berlin radio press that the American planes had been scattering potato bugs over not only Saxony, but also the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Mecklenburg.

Find out the truth by reading more of the story: Potato Bug Story

Real or Phony? - Do Bugs Cry?

From none other than John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath":

Joad plodded along, dragging his cloud of dust behind him. A little bit ahead he saw the arched stripe back of a potato bug, crawling slowly along through the dust, its legs working stiffly and jerkily. Joad stopped to watch it, and his shadow fell on the bug. Instantly the head snapped back and mandibles were opened. Joad picked it up and turned it over. It let out a cry like a hoarse baby child...

sound of the Potato Bug/Jerusalem Cricket

Does The Potato Bug Cry?

No, that is nonsense.

No, that is nonsense.

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    • anonymous 4 years ago

      i think they don't no one really knows

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      What a hard question, I'll choose, "I don't know".

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      i really dnt knw,i remember being a lil girl n my brother scaring me about this thing witch by the way i had never seen before,lol ..yeah silly

      so,if they r not venomous ,then u deffinetly wont die of laughter in case one dose get you,then NO,i dnt think they cry at all. by the way im hispanic,therefor all the crazy myths .....

    • blue22d 7 years ago

      Hi Laraine, thanks for stopping by. They may rub their little legs together to make a sound because just about this "Does The Potato Bug Cry?" is a link to hear an actual recording of their sound. Give it a go. It is more of a thump.

    • Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      No, it is a myth, they do not cry like children, nor rub their legs together to make sounds

    • Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      No, it's a myth, they do not cry like children, nor rub their legs together to make sounds.

    Yes, I have heard their cry.

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      • anonymous 4 years ago

        It makes a short sharp cry/scream when you kill it. I killed one as a kid and will never forget that sound.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        at school it cried so i have proof it sounds like a baby cry mixed in with a roar so it probably does i still have my doubts it's a myth so nobody knows it may never even be solved so lets keep believing

      • julieannbrady 5 years ago

        It cries because all of the starch in its diet!

      • julieannbrady 5 years ago

        It cries because all of the starch in its diet!

      • spunkyduckling 7 years ago

        I have heard them cry or the more appropriately make noises and sounds.

      • JanaMurray 7 years ago

        I have seen a lot of cool bugs, but I've never heard of this little guy. Sounds like a little drummer. I didn't realize there were sound files on wikipedia :)

      • blue22d 7 years ago

        Yes Margo, I believe that is so. Good to see you here.

      • MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

        Every sentient being cries. Ask Buddha!

      How do you make a tick laugh? You tickle him.

      By: Mark Rickerby

      Here he is, folks - the creepiest insect around!

      He'll crawl under your covers without a sound.

      With hard, spindly legs and a razor-sharp beak,

      He'll make the strongest man's knees go weak.

      He's called the Jerusalem Cricket, or the Potato Bug.

      He may be in your shoe, your bed, or under the rug.

      You just never know where the little guy will appear

      But you can tell by all the people stampeding in fear.

      The Dreaded Potato Bug

      Story from


      Potato Bugs

      When we were kids, we were often sent to the field to pick potato bugs. There was no DDT to spray the potatoes with in those days, and there were always extra kids to send out for a chore like this. So we spent the day in the potato patch with our baking-powder cans. What a backbreaking job to go up and down the rows collecting potato bugs! When we complained about our backs hurting, we were told that we were too young to even have a back!

      We had been promised some money to do this,- 1 penny for 100 bugs. So when we got home, and Mother wanted to pour boiling water over the bugs to kill them, we insisted that we count them first.

      Lensmaster's note: I could not finish the fate of the bug here in this story. Contine here: potato bugs

      photo credit: Disney

      From Outer Space?

      This Will Bug You.

      Spring Potato Bug Strata?


      Spring Potato Bug Strata

      Everyone enjoys Spring, a season filled with warmer, sunnier days - perfect for weekend gatherings. What better way to celebrate Spring than over a relaxing Sunday brunch with family and friends? Spring Potato Bug Strata is the perfect dish for any seasonal gathering. This simple yet hearty dish layers spring vegetables, eggs and cheese between tender, sliced potato bugs. Serve with fresh squeezed orange juice and a crisp spring vegetable such as asparagus. With its easy preparation, Spring Potato Bug Strata allows plenty of time to entertain guests.

      8 servings

      Preparation Time: 30 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


      No-stick cooking spray

      2 tablespoons butter or margarine

      3 medium leeks, thinly sliced

      IS THIS FOR REAL???? Bug Strata

      Potato Humor

      Why didn't the mother potato want her daughter to marry the famous newscaster?

      Because he was a commontater.

      The Day of the Triffids

      Be careful, there might be potato bugs in there.

      The triffid is a highly venomous fictional plant species, the titular antagonist from John Wyndham's 1951 novel The Day of the Triffids and Simon Clark's 2001 sequel The Night of the Triffids. Triffids were also featured in the 1957 BBC radio dramatization of Wyndham's book, a considerably altered film adaptation which was produced in 1962, and in a more faithful 1981 television serial produced by the BBC. Since 1951, when The Day of the Triffids was first published, the word "triffid" has become a popular British English term used to describe large or menacing looking plants.

      Credit: Wikipedia

      What Are Your Thoughts?

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        • vineliner57 profile image

          Hal Gall 4 years ago from Bloomington, IN

          I remember seeing these as a kid in our garden. They're pretty harmless. Didn't know about the mating sound they make. Cool lens.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Hmmm, this bug really looks nasty. I don't think that we have them around here. I guess our Slovenian potato is safe for now:).

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          My Grandma would have said, "Everyone has to eat".

        • spunkyduckling profile image

          spunkyduckling 7 years ago

          Thanks for sharing a few facts about these bugs. Seen them around and heard them too, but never knew they were called 'potato bugs'. Fun read..5* and I fave

        • spunkyduckling profile image

          spunkyduckling 7 years ago

          @Faye Rutledge: Must second you on that. Agree it is a unique idea.

        • Faye Rutledge profile image

          Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

          Yes, I've seen those pesky potato bugs. Unique idea for a lens!

        • Lee Hansen profile image

          Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

          Man those potato bugs are HUGE and CREEPY - perfect for Halloween! I've never run across one of these guys, but I have seen cicadas and their discarded shells around our yard. They make a real racket day and night in the summer time in eastern PA. Lensrolling to BUGS coloring ... 5*

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          anonymous 7 years ago

          That poem by Mark Rickerby is hilarious. Thanks for posting it.

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          poutine 7 years ago

          Just digged your potato bug lens.

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          poutine 7 years ago

          What an interesting lens! I'm glad that you invited me

          to visit your potato bug.

          I have never seen them before, boy, they are ugly.


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          Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

          Not sure I've seen one...very interesting!

        • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

          MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

          Those are ugly little suckers! But neat lens, 5*, I have lensrolled it to Fruit flies Potatoes, Oatmeal and Onion!!!

          Also I am going to add it to Stumble, making sure I finish that process so as not to get it put into the stumble graveyard.

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          Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

          Fun! They are ugly, they creep me out.

        • LaraineRoses profile image

          Laraine Sims 7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

          I have seen them. At the time I had to look them up on the internet just to be sure. Yup, was a potato bug .. the only one I ever saw 'in person.'

          p.s. I didn't kill it.

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          Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          I am not sure that I have seen a Potato Bug or at least I didn't know what it was. I sure will know next time thanks to this lens.

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          kimmanleyort 8 years ago

          I think I saw one of these on my gazebo yesterday and I didn't know what it was! Now I know all about it. Thanks.

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          Yvonne L. B. 8 years ago from Covington, LA

          I learned something from your lens. In our neck of the woods, the potato bug is a dark red beetle that looks a little like a ladybug. I was not familiar with the Jerusalem Cricket / Potato Bug. Thanks for teaching me something new, today.

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          anonymous 8 years ago

          Interesting lens about the potato bug.