Bessbugs
Where do they live?
This type of bessbug is found in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. It is possible to find them under rotting logs during any season of the year.

What do they eat?
Rotten wood. The adults prepare decaying wood by chewing and moistening it before feeding their young.

Cool things to know about them
Other names
Bessbugs are also called Patent-leather Beetles, Horned Beetles, or Bess Beetles.

Dad feeds the kids
Unlike most insects, bessbugs take care of their children. Even more amazing, it is the adult males that chew up wood and feed it to the young larvae. The larvae (also called grubs) look like fat white worms. They grow for up to a year before changing into adults.

Surviving the winter
Even in the coldest part of winter, you can find bessbugs if you roll over a rotten log. During cold weather, they replace the water in their bodies with glycerin, a natural antifreeze. The glycerin makes bessbugs sluggish, but it prevents them from freezing.

Good classroom pets
Because they are large, slow-moving, and harmless, bessbugs are great for teaching children (and squeamish adults) about insects. Even though they can chew through solid oak, bessbugs do not bite humans. They can be kept in an aquarium filled with moist rotten wood, but should eventually be returned to their natural habitat like all wild creatures.

How do humans affect them?
Loss of habitat
Bessbugs are not endangered, but they are not as common as they once were. Every time a piece of wooded land is cleared, you can be sure that many bessbugs were killed. They need undisturbed land with logs that are allowed to remain on the ground and rot.
What can you do to help?
Welcome bessbugs to your yard
Leave a pile of firewood or large branches in a moist, shady spot. Oak and other hardwoods work best (pine trees do not attract bessbugs). After the logs began to rot, roll them over and look under the bark. More than likely, you will find adult bessbugs, and maybe even some young larvae.

Be a responsible nature observer
If you roll over a rock or rotten log to see what creatures are underneath, it is very important to put it back the way you found it! It may have taken years to develop into a habitat for the tiny plants and animals that live there.

Spread the word
Education is the best way to protect our environment and the animals who share it with us. Tell others about these amazing creatures, the problems they face, and ways they can help. People won't get excited about saving animals if they don't even know anything about them.
Check out these great web sites:
Bessbugs at Hilton Pond
Most of the information on my page came from this site.