How to flip a bug over

Bug uside downI’ve been getting a lot of random bugs in the house due to the warm weather. For some reason I’m finding a lot of them on their back, flailing legs-up trying to turn over. The pet’s water dish outside gets several bugs each night, mostly beetles.

Sometimes I don’t want to flip over the bugs with my fingers because I’m afraid I’ll damage the fragile legs or body. Other times I don’t want to risk getting bit/stung. And in the case of the water dish, it’s ridiculous to try to fish those little suckers out or dump the bowl without drowning them.

Flipping them over each time and/or removing them (part of the Insect Relocation Program) has been comically awkward until I stumbled onto this tip by accident:

  • Fold a piece of tissue or paper in half.
  • Hold it over the insect’s body lengthwise, hovering between the insect’s legs.
  • The little legs will immediately stop flailing and clamp onto the tissue/paper (it’s actually kinda cute and funny to watch).
  • The little critter will then climb up and over the tissue/paper, righting itself.
  • Done!

Once it’s on the paper you can either easily carry it outside, or just lay the paper on the ground and let the bug walk off, happily right-side up. This works when you’re fishing bumbling insects out of water too. If the critter is on its back in the water, then just follow the same instructions above. If the critter is right-side up in the water, place the paper almost level with the water surface and slightly under the bug — it will respond in the same way, allowing you to relocate it.

This has worked with several kinds of beetles and general bug-like things, so I imagine it’ll work with most insects.


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