Beetles take over the grounds at Pima

One of hundreds caterpillar hunter beetle that have taken over Pima Community College campuses.

Story and photo by Carlos Miranda

If you live in Tucson, you have to have seen these ugly-looking beetles a lot recently and wondered what kind of beetle it was.

According to pest control company Truly Nolen, this bug is called a caterpillar hunter beetle.

The beetle can be either black or a very dark green. The length of this beetle is about 38.1 mm, or 1.5 inches. It has six legs and two antennas. This beetle contains two wings with a rigged design-looking wing. 

The caterpillar hunter eats edible insects. Its lifespan is about two to three years.

The amount of rain that Tucson has experienced in the past couple of months has attracted the caterpillar hunter to come out to blanket Tucson.

This beetle normally tries to hide during the day, but at night it will come out. There have been some cases, however, where you can see them in the daylight at Pima Community College.

If you look at the ground when you’re walking on campus, you’ve probably seen lots of these beetles in the buildings dead and alive just chilling on the floors, corners, roofs, and mostly outside College buildings.

“At this time of the year, the cleaners at Pima usually clean up lots of them,” said Michael Baker, director  of facilities operations and maintenance of Pima, said, 

Considering that we see lots of these beetles dead in the daylight and they aren’t even smashed, we wondered how they were dying en masse.

So, we asked Baker what kind of bug spray the cleaners at Pima use to kill these beetles.

“We do not commonly use pesticides at PCC,” he said.

So, maybe it’s so hot outside that the beetles can handle the heat, and if Pima doesn’t use pesticides, then perhaps they are getting overheated and dying. But it would not explain the unscathed carcasses that are not smashed inside the buildings.

Marisol Cordova, a Liberal Arts major at Pima, has seen the caterpillar hunter beetle in a variety of places on campus.

“I see them everywhere, and I actually just saw some today,” she said. “I really don’t pay attention to them as much, and I don’t really mind them.”