burying beetle from Nebraska

Asked October 3, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

I found a burying beetle in my kitchen today. Orange and black and its offspring are all over it. What would be a good thing to do with it? I sure don't want to kill it. Is this one somewhat rare? I know that the one with orange antenna is. Maybe the university here in Kearney, Nebraska, would be interested in it.

Buffalo County Nebraska

1 Response

This is a carrion beetle, most likely Nicrophorus tomentosus. It is not the American Burying Beetle, N. americanus. What you see on the back of the beetle is not her offspring they are mites. The mites on the beetles are hitching a ride (called phoresis), and they are likely a Macrocheles species which feeds on maggots and other larvae or eggs in carrion.

I would just release the beetle to the outdoors. The entomologist at UNK (Dr. Wyatt Hoback) who was working on American burying beetle is now at Oklahoma State University. I am not aware of anyone at UNK working on this beetle now.