If you live in Iowa, you’re well aware that there are some pretty strange, creepy-crawly critters running around our state. Now, I’m not usually scared too badly by these things (okay, yes I am) but these 10 creepy bugs found in Iowa will make you never want to go outside again.
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1. Pelecinid Wasp
This terrifying-looking insect looks like a mini scorpion with wings - as if scorpions weren't terrifying enough. But unlike scorpions, the Pelecinid Wasp's tail isn't just for stinging. The female wasp places eggs on her tail, then uses it to poke holes in the ground until she finds a grub. Once she does, she puts her eggs onto the grub's back, and when the eggs hatch, they eat the grub from the inside out. Nothing beats a mother's love, huh?
2. Carrion Beetle
The saying "you are what you eat," is especially true in the case of the Carrion Beetle, who only eats carrion, or decaying flesh. These little guys need to be on "Dirty Jobs" because while their job sucks, someone has to do it to keep the ecosystem in natural balance.
3. Acorn Weevil
These little guys may look somewhat nicer than the rest of this bunch, but don't let them fool you. Acorn Weevils are actually dangerous killers when it comes to Acorn trees. They suck the nutrients out of the tree's seeds, (the acorn) then insert their larvae into the acorn, covering the hole with their own dung. If a tree becomes infested with Acorn Weevils, then it's game over for the tree.
4. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug
These stinky bugs emit a foul odor when threatened or disturbed, so if you run into one, just keep walking. These stink bugs, accidentally imported from Asia, are a pest to fruit crops, as they suck out the juice and nutrients from the fruit.
5. Mantis Fly
This is what happens if you give a mantis wings...it gets ten times scarier. This mantis fly is a predatory insect that hunts other bugs. Their larvae also eat other bugs, and usually are transferred into a spider's sac, where they eat the spider's eggs, and sometimes the spider.
6. Oil Beetle
This little guy may look like your harmless garden beetle, just minding his own business, but don't let him fool you. These bugs secrete a chemical that can blister and irritate human skin on contact. It's best just to avoid them in general.
7. Toe Biter
With the Toe Biter, the name is pretty self explanatory. This giant water beetle can deliver a painful bite and pinch to its prey, or anything that threatens it. This fierce predator feasts on small fish, frogs, and sometimes snakes. The males deliver the eggs into the water on their backs (like in the photo) and the females aggressively defend them. They can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and even pools. Looks like my days of swimming are over...
8. Evergreen Bagworm Moth
These funny little bugs actually spend much of their life hiding. In the cocoon stage, they wrap themselves in their silk cocoon, then roll around in dead plant matter like leaves and pine needles so they look like a walking pile of leaves. The males eventually grow wings and leave the cocoon, while the females remain wingless.
9. Masked Hunter
These strange bugs are born killers, and are a type of Assassin Bug. They're known for their very strong beak, which can inflict painful bites on humans when it's not being used to rapidly stab other bugs to death. These guys feast mainly on bedbugs, but will eat earwigs and roly polys if there's nothing else. As a juvenile, the bug is covered in sticky hairs, which collect dust and dirt, making them look hairy and dirty.
10. Hag Moth
I'll admit it, for a bug, this one isn't so bad. He looks almost cuddly. These odd looking Hag Moths are covered in a fur, and have tentacles almost like an octopus. They don't sting, and they are vegetarians, so they may be on the list of nicer bugs in Iowa, although they're still kinda creepy.
My skin is crawling now… I know some people appreciate these things, even like them, but the only way I would get near any of these bugs is if they were behind a glass case – double pane.