Ever since the pandemic started, Florida has seen a huge influx of residents. Whether they come here for our sunny warm weather or for a political environment which is more conducive to their own opinions one fact remains, they are moving here in droves.
This migration has seen a dramatic rise in housing demand and prices have skyrocketed. But there is one group of new residents which aren’t paying rent at all: The Hercules beetle.
This giant horned beetle known as Dynastes Hercules (in scientific language) is native to South America and can be found in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. But now it has sown up in Florida. Scientists have discovered the beetle in rural areas around Tampa Bay. They say it is only a matter of time before it fans out through Central Florida.
Add the giant beetle to Florida’s ever growing list of exotic and non-native species. The animals and plants get here mostly through cargo shipments. Many animals are kept as pets and set free. Florida is the perfect environment for tropical or sub-tropical species to take hold.
Adult beetles range in size and vary between 50 and 85 mm (2.0 and 3.3 in) in length and 29 and 42 mm (1.1 and 1.7 in) in width. Only the males have the large horn. The females do not have the horn. They are olive-green in color but darken to black in more humid environments. The effect is caused from light refraction.
Adult beetles can live for three to six months. They feed on rotting wood as well as fruit, both fresh and rotting. They forage at night and hide in foliage during the day. Being startled by one of these at night has to be an experience on its own. Yikes!