Passalidae

These shiny black beetles are 30-40 mm long and are often called bessbugs or bess beetles. Adults prepare food, which is decayed wood, with their salivary secretions and feed it to the young. Passalids infest moisture-damaged and decayed logs in modern log houses and wood in contact with the ground in other buildings. Logs exposed to rain and roof runoff often have pockets of decay, and wood in the ground is subject to decay fungi. These sites can become infested with passalids. They do not increase the decay and damage to the wood, but contribute to the propagation of decay fungi. Three species occur in North America.

Horned passalus, pegbug, Odontotaenius disjunctus Adults are 30-40 mm long and shiny black, and with a short horn at the front of the head. Full-grown larvae are 37-40 mm long. The body is bluish white, and the head dark yellow. Metatho-racic legs of the larvae are reduced to one segment, which gives the appearance of having only four legs. When disturbed the adults stridulate to produce a squeaking sound or the so-called bess notes. Larvae have stridulatory organs on the third pair of legs. These beetles are found in eastern North America in rotten logs and stumps ofdeciduous trees, and decaying logs in a modern log house.

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