It has been an amazing few nights here with the weather so last night I decided to take a walk and make a phone call to a friend to catch up. While walking I spot something out of the corner of my eye. It was lingering near some goldenrod and another white aster-like plant. It was big in terms of bug standards and as I got closer I see it, the very distinctive wheel on its back. I have found The Wheel Bug, or Assasin Bug, it is one of my favorites!
The Wheel Bug is about 1.5-2 inches long with a very distinctive wheel on its back. It has a long hinged mouth part that allows it to pierce and paralyze its prey. The Wheel Bug then sucks out all of the soft tissue of its prey for its meal. They are a good insect to have in your yard – they eat a lot of the bugs that can damage your flowers, vegetables, etc. Don’t get too close or try and pick up these guys with your hands – that piercing mouth part can hurt you too (they say it is worse than a bee sting).
I say this all the time about things in nature (and more and more often I am saying it about bugs) – they are fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.
The photo on the left is one from earlier in the year and is a nymph. The photo on the right is the one I found tonight!
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