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Giant Water Bug
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Giant Water Bug

Order: Hemiptera

Family: Belostomatidae

Pest Status: Water bugs are not pests but may deliver a painful bite if mishandled.

Appearance: Giant water bugs are 2 1/2-inches long and brown in color. Their bodies are flat, elongated ovals in shape, but pointed at both ends. The front legs are enlarged and pincer-like. A short beak is visible on the front of the underside of the head.

Life Cycle: During warm months, females attach eggs to underwater vegetation. After hatching, the wingless nymphs resemble small adults. They molt several times before becoming full-sized, winged adults. Adults usually overwinter.

Where to Collect: Water bugs prefer clear, freshwater streams and ponds, especially those with aquatic vegetation. When they complete their development, the adult forms leave the water for a short time to mate. In so doing they are highly attracted to lights to find mates and may be collected under street and porch lights during late summer.