KGUN 9News


Woman's 'demon bugs,' the Palo Verde Beetle, appearing in Arizona yards

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 08:19:47-04

In a yard filled with angel figurines and a series of ‘demon’ black beetle sightings, it’s more like the War in Heaven for one Arizona woman.

"I didn't know what they were called, until a few years back, my family always called them demon bugs,” said Bettina Therkildsen.

Bettina Therkildsen says she’s stopped short of calling a priest to rid her yard of the demon bugs, more commonly known as the Palo Verde Beetle.

"People like me and my daughter, we are terrified of them,” said Therkildsen.

“They fly, they get your face, they get in your hair, and they can grow anywhere from 3 to 6 inches long," said Therkildsen.

Experts says the bugs like to come out during monsoon season to mate. They’re protected by strong body armor and like to feed on nectar and fruit.

The young larvae live underground near the root systems of the Palo Verde tree.

"You can't step on it and squish it, I've seen cars run over them and they just kind of walk away," said Therkildsen.

The beetles are harmless to humans, but their big size can be unnerving.

Therkildsen says her gardening spade is the tool she prefers to get rid of the beetles she sees.

The adults die shortly after they mate, so if it's any consolation they're only around for a short time.