Wheel Bug

July 17, 2011

I have never seen a wheel bug until this morning. This majestic looking bug reminded me of a cross between a stink bug and a praying mantis. I saw it sitting on my Meyer Lemon tree and was fascinated. I took some photos and run inside curious to find out what it was. It did not take long to identify it.

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

A wheel bug (Arilus cristatus)  is a predator both in its mature and immature stage. It feeds on caterpillars (including webworms), beetle larvae, aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Unfortunately, they also prey on lady bugs and honey bees. Wheel bugs got their name because of the ridge (or wheel) located on their back.

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bug

They are typically solitary and their population is fairly low. They do bite, but are not agressive, and will only bite when threatened, so do not try to handle them. Their bite is painful and will last for several minutes.

I will be looking out for a wheel bug next time I am in the garden. It is not an insect that you would forget.

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