What Is This?

It is not uncommon to receive samples and pictures of “bugs” from family, friends and neighbors. Except for the spiders, most children and adults seem pleased with identification and brief information. Generally, the kids like it when they can safely touch the critter, the adults want to know what to spray!

This week, I have received both a live and photo (even in focus) of the same insect, but different areas of the state. Knowing all insect species have population highs and lows throughout the years, I going to assume that this insect is up in numbers and you might be seeing them as well. As you will learn, this is a good thing!

 

Here is the insect being found. (Photo Credit: John Obermeyer)

Here is the insect being found. (Photo Credit: John Obermeyer)

 

The assassin bugs, this species known as the wheel bug (Arilus cristatus), are predators of other insects. Both the immature (nymph above) and adult (below) lurk among foliage and flowers waiting for unsuspecting prey. Their straw-like mouthpart is jabbed into their victim, then they suck out the juices. Though that sound cruel, it is a good thing for us, so my plea is to leave them be and let them do their job! Within this paragraph you have just gotten my identification and brief information…with the added bonus of scientific name and pictures. With that, I’ll let you decide if you let it crawl over you!

 

Adult wheel bug (note the “cog” like structure) sucking the life out of a Japanese beetle in soybean. (Photo Credit: John Obermeyer)

Adult wheel bug (note the “cog” like structure) sucking the life out of a Japanese beetle in soybean. (Photo Credit: John Obermeyer)

 

Happy scouting!

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