Horrible bugs in Texas

Maggot tails: not as cute as puppy tails

Blister Beetles – Did you know Texas has 120 varieties of a horrible little bug called a blister beetle?  We see them everywhere and only recently learned what they are.  One of the girls found one in her bra last week. Right now my 22 month old nephew has blisters all over his arm, blisters that look just like a severe burn but are the painless result of being spit on by a blister beetle.   We discovered the same blisters on Becca’s shoulder years ago but didn’t know at the time what had caused them.

Rat Tailed MaggotsWe found some of these last year, and again today.  Ugh.  The name falls short of the true horror of the thing.

Hairballs of Daddy Longlegs – We saw precious few of these during the 2 year drought, but they’re back.  I hope I don’t have flashbacks.  The video in the link?  It’s not mine, and it’s only a very small and sluggish group of daddy longlegs.  It doesn’t begin to capture the horror of reality.  In the storage space under the house we often have groups the size of a soccer ball with many hundreds of occupants.

Scorpions – Hardly newsworthy here in Texas, but Kaitlyn found the cutest li’l baby scorpion in her shirt the other day.  It was even cuter after she squished it with a rocking horse.

Centipedes – No, you’ve never seen centipedes like these.  Over a foot long with bodies as thick as your finger.  We also have matching milipedes, though they’re not so scary with their teensy little legs.

Lichen Orb Weaver – Lydia found one of these in web that was 5 feet wide and high.  It had a body nearly the size of a golf ball.  It was so fat that when it fell over, it couldn’t right itself.  She decided not to hold it.

Cone-nosed Bloodsuckers – We used to lightheartedly call these “cowboy bugs” because they walk with a swagger and look like they’re wearing spurs.  Now we know that they can inflict a painful bite, and are generally full of blood (whose blood?!) when we smash them.


  1. What about brown recluse spiders, chiggers, fire ants, wasps that look like they are wearing Greek leather armor, just to mention a few not mentioned in the article. I was born in Texas but have spent most of my life in Colorado where bugs are rarely an issue. It is great to be able to lay on the ground without fear of serious injury from bugs!

  2. Aiiiiiiiiii! Bugs! I am reduced to a screeching mess when I encounter disgusting bugs like that, but usually after the fact. Oh, oh, oh! YUCK!

  3. Those critters would be enough to make me leave Texas on the next bus!

  4. I refuse to click on those links. : ) We are moving to Dallas this fall. Stop. Scaring. Me.!!! 🙂 Please tell me the bugs are much worse in the San Antonio area than in Dallas??!

  5. jinxed!!! this post jinxed me! lol. Woke up this morning to find the kitchen walls crawling with ants! this is after the battle of ants in the bathroom and in the CAR! Did I mention hating bugs?

  6. If Texas ever breaks off from the US, I don’t care, I’m NOT moving there. 🙂

  7. Well, I was thinking maybe we’d move to TX one day. Not now. EWWW!

  8. Yuck!! I live in Texas and with lots of bugs! But where are you that you have centipedes that large? I think I would scream if I saw that!

  9. Rachel C. says:

    Aaah! I’m moving to Florida soon, and I was traumatized enough as it was– what sort of state can’t you go barefoot in, geeze?– but this takes the cake!

    You all are brave souls, living there and nonchalantly squishing scorpions!

  10. Just found a blister beetle in my kitchen. Did I mention those suckers JUMP. EEK!

  11. Eeeewww! You definitely win. I thought Florida was the worst state for bugs, but I was wrong. You are one brave soul. 😉

  12. Really, Kim, was that necessary? 🙂 I’ve just moved to Texas and could quite happily have lived my whole life without seeing these pictures or hearing this information. Rat-tailed maggots… *shudder*

  13. *shudder* waaay more info on that than I needed!! But, I just couldn’t stop reading. I too am a resident of the Deep South here in TX, though I’m on the border..”the hill country of the valley” I was familiar with some on this list, but thankfully not all! eww. I’m gonna be feeling creepy crawly all day!

  14. Thanks. I think the *baby* just vomited in utero. Lord knows I did.

  15. I’ll take my cold, snowy, winters that keep bugs like yours away.

    We lived in Texas for 5 years and barely went outside in our yard due to red ants and various other critters. We are a true northern people! Yah, Michigan!

  16. Jennifer A says:

    Well, since I grew up going to Girl Scout camp every summer and have been the camp nurse there for two summers I have a few wisdom from experience things to share.
    YES, absolutely always, every time, shake out your shoes before you put them on.
    Unless you are allergic to them, scorpion stings really aren’t that bad.
    Scorpions and tarantulas are good cuz they eat up all the other bugs. This summer I killed a scorpion late one night in my cabin and then all the other little bugs came out. I should’ve let him live.
    I personally think that clusters of daddy long legs look really cool. (That is more of an opinion than wisdom)
    As the camp nurse I took care of A LOT of blister bug bites. The way to control blister bug bites is to intentionally pop each blister and control the juice flow into guaze and cover with a bandage. If you don’t let ANY of the juice spread to the surrounding skin they will dry up and go away.
    One year we had a counselor from Australia who was absolutely terrified of our bugs here in Texas. I found this extremely funny. I mean, isn’t Australia where they have some really huge, nasty and LETHAL (not just annoying) bugs?? When I asked her that she just shrugged her shoulders and said she was used to those bugs. So then of course, she was the one who got bit by a brown recluse that summer.

  17. No Way. I looked at the centipede pictures and am trying to convince myself they’re a joke so I can actually sleep tonight.
    On another note: I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now due to the home tours and had not made the connection until just now that your family republished the Princess Adelina book! Funny timing as I probably started reading it to my husband around the same time I started visiting your blog. We’re loving it, so thanks!

  18. Two thoughts occur in reading the comments here:

    1. Different parts of TX are different, please don’t rule out the whole state because parts of it are full of bugs. We have eleven different biomes and different adventures in all of them! Here in the Gulf Coast region we mostly deal with mosquitos and some roaches and fire ants. Others from time to time but this is rare.

    2. These creatures give new meaning to your blog title “Life in a Shoe”. After all, having spent church retreats in cabins near where you all are, I know you must shake out your shoes in order to make sure there are no scorpions in them! And of course wear your shoes to avoid contact with the horrible creatures!

  19. I only clicked on one link, the cowboy bug. Looks like a giant tick to me! Yuck!
    I didn’t not click on anymore! It’ sbedtime for me and I don’t want nightmares!!
    Although I complain about the cold northern province I live in you have made me truly thankful for the cold, since we can only grow small bugs and the really bad ones, tick, mosquitos, black flies, wasps. Only come out in our 2 months of summer! Ok it’s not so bad here!

  20. What about Texas Fire Ants? I grew up in Minnesota where we could roll around in the grass and then I moved to Texas where I lived for a couple years, and I was NEVER able to walk around barefoot without getting stung, no way was I going to roll around in the grass!

  21. Sitting here slapping at my ankles and back now.

  22. Oh my WORD!!! *SHUUUUUUDDER*

    I don’t think I ever want to visit Texas afterall. EVER.

  23. That is sooooo disgusting!!!!!!!!! We have those beetles out here, but I did not know that is what they where!!!! The bugs in Tx are really bad this year. I was stung for the 2nd time ( I think ) in the last two months by huge scorpions, the 2nd time it was in my hair. (and I’m allergic to them) That was this last Sat., and my arm is still itchy and red!!!!! Which ever one of you girls had o go through that, I sympathize with you!!

    See you soon,

  24. This post should have had a terror level warning! I’m extremely phobic about bugs of any sort. And just when I thought having heart palpitations over roaches was bad I read this and realize that their the least of my worries. No Texas for me!

  25. I’m. going. to. be. sick….. 😛
    Wow, double yuck. I can’t stand bugs! And that’s here in Michigan where they don’t get nearly that size!!
    Ditto the commenter who said she has good reason not to complain about the cold weather and snow!! 🙂
    You are so brave. I guess we northerners get a little bit sissy about some things….

  26. I was having a discussion with my daughters this morning where I said I wanted to move to Idaho and they said they want to move to Texas. I thought showing them the bugs in your post would win my side of the arguement but they both said “I don’t care, I still want to move to Texas. 🙂

  27. good grief, if I needed a reason to never move to Texas, you just gave me it! I’ll stay in Ohio, tyvm. I can barely take the bugs we get here (that happily stay mostly in the yard, where they belong, but if they venture into the house, I freak out). Centipedes a foot long would probably give me a heart attack! I hate, HATE things with more than six legs! And centipedes (the little one inch long ones we have here) are enough to elicit blood-curdling shrieks of terror from me.

  28. Lisa in ND says:

    Ugh . . . just ugh. And I am grateful to live where we don’t have such horrible things, even if we have to deal with subzero temperatures for most of the winter.

    When I’m grumbling about 2 feet of snow and wind chills that are minus 40 next January, I’m going to read this blog post and I won’t feel so bad!!

    Your family is very brave.

  29. Now I’m itchy all over… and considering moving to Maryland… I was hoping you’d identify 2 bugs I’ve never seen before in my life until last summer and this summer. Now they keep showing up in my house, and they’re still a mystery.

    • Shannon,
      Try What’s That Bug. It has helped us identify several bugs. It also sometimes works for us to just type a description into the google search bar, like large beetle black orange spotted texas, or whatever terms apply.

  30. When they say everything is bigger in Texas, they ain’t kidding are they! **shudder** I think I need therapy now.

  31. I only recently heard about the giant Centipedes. They are suppose to eat all kinds of bad bugs. Just DON”T touch it. LOL Texas is full of all sorts of bugs. Yuck!

  32. I just had Terminix out today, thank you very much! Texas bugs are certainly an adventure, but thankfully we don’t get as many super scary ones here in the city!

    I think I’d pass out if I saw a daddy long leg ball.

  33. I looked at the past post of the rat-tailed maggot things and I’m wondering if the maggots actually ate the frog. He looks not a match for those creeps…I’m still speechless…

  34. I will never, never, never again click on any link that says “bugs”


    Greetings from Germany
    (where most bugs are not so horrible)

    *still shaking*

  35. I just don’t know what to say…..

  36. Moving to Texas from Maryland, I was amazed at the creatures that seem to enjoy this hot, dry land. In fact, in Maryland, you can roll on the grass, without a blanket, without fear of anything that will sting you, bite you, stab you or stick you. Not so in West Texas. We dare not venture outside without protection for our feet, skin and heads. Today it will be 107 degrees in the air, and most likely double that on any concrete or metal surface. Two weeks ago, I got stung on the toe by a bug I saw but have yet to identify! (That’s what I get for being barefoot on my own porch, right?!) The scorpions grow big and fast, the beetles are so various we quit keeping count (right now there are these light green ones that seem to like to congregate by the hundreds on our hay bales), and the flying insects all seem intent on pestering you wherever you go. Yes, life in West Texas just keeps you on your toes – in your shoes, of course!

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: