Giant Bugs from Alien Planet Return to Bernalwood

Neighbor Regina is a new Bernal Heights resident. She IM’d me yesterday in a deep panic from her home on Folsom. Here is a transcript of our exchange:

Regina: holy sh*t balls i found an alien
Regina: on our street
Todd Lappin: Take a pic!
Regina: it’s a grashopper/ ant/ roach about three inches long
Regina: i’ve never seen anything like it
Todd Lappin: Oh, I know what that is…
Regina: it’s in a jar
Todd Lappin: Looks like this?
Todd Lappin: Same?
Todd Lappin: Take a pic!
Regina: yes
Regina: omg
Regina: i am going going to die
Regina: it’s in a jar
Regina: dead
Todd Lappin: Photo! Photo!
Regina: i am screaming
Regina: i just died

Good times. And indeed, now that the autumn Arachnid Invasion has subsided, it’s time again for the Extraterrestrial Migration of the Giant Jerusalem Crickets (or “Potato Bugs,” as they’re sometimes called in California).

Bernalwood posted about these creatures almost exactly a year ago, and as poor Regina discovered… they’re baaaaaaaaaaaack.

Here’s a Wikipedia photo of a healthier specimen:

And right behind the Jersusalem Crickets, we know who will be visiting next…

The Day Bernal Heights Stood Still

PHOTO: Top, Neighbor Regina

25 thoughts on “Giant Bugs from Alien Planet Return to Bernalwood

  1. Not a new phenom. I remember my little brother grossing me out with a “potato” bug when I was ?8? and living on Nevada St. That would be…..1956!

  2. Gag! husband and I are verbally dying over here.. I can totally see why her exchange was so visceral…ICK!

  3. Just convince yourself it is a true cricket and that crickets in the house bring good luck. Um…good luck with that.

  4. Ugh! We’ve found a few of those here in the LUndys/Coleridge area and I nearly passed out. So gross!

  5. These are so nasty. I was freaking out just looking at these pictures. Always wondered what these were when I see them up on the hill while walking the dog. Yuk!

  6. As long as they stay outside I find potato bugs really cool. Now moths, on the other hand, shudder.

  7. They’re not nasty — they’re harmless insects and we should let them go about their business. I say this as a person who immediately killed the first one I ever saw when I found it in my house and I’ve regretted it ever since.

  8. Now I am totally freaked out! I’ve never seen one. Obviously, I am destined to step on one in the dark, barefoot, while home alone, as the wind howls outside under a full moon.

  9. I haven’t seen one of those in ages…and I would prefer it stay that way! I remember seeing those quite a bit when I was growing up in Bernal. Not one of my favorite memories, of course. So nasty looking…and big! Please, Mr. Potato Bug, don’t come around my street. I’ve returned to Bernal Heights, but do not wish to have a reunion. I will not leave the welcome mat out for you. There are probably other Bernal neighbors that would be fascinated to see you. Please, grace them with your presence. I’m sure they would appreciate it, and you.

  10. I occasionally rescue the poor little guys. They are nearly helpless out of their underground lairs and nearly any small precipitation seems to drown them out. I know they are just insects but they are so large that they somehow seem to have personality.

  11. My chickens live for the day when I find these bugs in the garden. Each chicken fights for a share, tearing the bug apart in a feeding frenzy.

  12. When i was a teenager in Santa Cruz where i grew up, I had the chore of cleaning out our pool filter. One afternoon i came across one of these (not so) little aliens that had fallen into the pool. The pool also magnified it to the point i thought it was bigger than my hand or head! I went screaming to my mom and demanded that she give me some other unfavorable chore because i would NEVER do the pool again! I cant remember what chore i was assigned in place of the pool, but i never have seen one since. I still re-live that in my nightmares. It was the last time i have seen a potato bug… i hope that stays the case! I know they are harmless and that in a tiny way gives me empathy towards this poor creepy creature… almost no protection with their soft bodies, but that is what even made it creepier. You would definitely feel the “squish” if you stepped on one by accident. SHIVER!!

  13. Found one in a corner of our upstairs bathroom and emitted a version of the Spider Scream so piercing my husband thought I was being eaten alive. Even he, manly Spider Eliminator that he is, was squeamish about bringing it out back. And then he tried to kill it and it proved, shall we say, tougher than it looks. Full body heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

  14. we had one in our kitchen the other night. total alien.
    it was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. we managed to get it in a jar and put it outside. I’m still mentally recovering. yikes!

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