Crazy as a Bessie Bug

Posted by: DJin Mama-isms

Mama always said…

He’s as crazy as a bessie bug!

Actually everybody in my family said this or some variation thereof (Betsey bug, Betsy beetle, Bess bug). Often. Seems they knew a lot of people who had issues.  Apparently, this saying is common only in the South and has been in use since the late 19th century.

Recently, I told someone they were “crazy as a bessie bug” and they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. They suspected the ‘crazy’ part probably wasn’t good (rightly so), but the bessie bug completely threw them for a loop.

What is a bessie bug and just how crazy are they?

Well evidently, a “Bessie bug” is a beetle that lives in or between wet, rotting logs in a pile or something similar.  They fly around erratically in circles, seemingly to get nowhere, until they fall out from exhaustion.  They say you can capture two of them, rub them together and they will fight to the death. 

I can see where the expression came from.  Sounds pretty darn crazy to me!