A Wheel Bug



A Wheel Bug (not a mis-pronunciation of "Real Bug") is easily identified by the spiny "wheel" on his back. Being 1 1/4 inches long and unusual in appearance, it can be quite intimidating. However it will make every attempt to avoid human contact. If handled, it may emanate a foul odor (it is in the same family as the stink bug) and try to bite.

The bite is more of a sting because it has a syringe-like beak (that reddish thing folded down under his face) that the bug inserts into its victims. It injects a venom which dissolves its prey's insides. In humans, this venom causes a burning sensation (similar to a bee or wasp sting) that lasts several minutes and leaves a wound that can take several weeks to months to heal.

Don't be too quick to shoo them out of the garden though. They are very beneficial because they eat soft bodied pests like caterpillars, aphids, moths, etc. I even read that they may eat Japanese Beetles!! Since we had an issue with Japanese Beetles this year, these bugs are more than welcome. In fact, my husband wants to look into how to encourage more.

They are a slow moving insect and generally won't land on you just to bite you. If one happens to land on you, gently brush it off. Once you know they have taken up residence, make sure you watch out for them when working in your garden.

Now that you've been educated on this nifty bug, check out all the other macro shoots here.

8 comments:

Nicole said...

That IS one scary looking creature :)
Cool shot and thanks for the explanation!

SquirrelQueen said...

Great macro, very cool bug. I have never heard of the wheel before today, thanks for the info.

lisaschaos said...

I don't think I've ever seen one of those before! You made him look grand!!

BPOTW said...

Strange looking guy! I don't think I've seen one, either!

Sarah said...

Oh how cool is that!! Not only the great shot but the information too!!! Sarah

Liz said...

Ick! I thought it was a crab at first, I've never heard of a wheel bug and I hope I never meet one. But cool shot!

foto CHIP said...

Interesting! I am impressed of your knowledge :) and of course your shot :)

LynnP said...

Researching this bug - great photo. They creep me out so I am usually looking for them in our vineyard to avoid them. At first we were so excited because they eat Japanese beetles. But then I found out about their bite. Five years later I got my first bite today. It is awful - just like everyone says: much worse than a wasp sting.