Beneficial Bug – Wheel Bugs

Beneficial Bug – Wheel Bugs

Beneficial bugs like the wheel bugs or assassin bug are considered good guys. Most people never heard of wheel bugs as they are not readily seen around the yard. The reason is they easily get camouflaged and hide so as not be seen. hey are great friends of the gardener just like lady beetles. Wheel bugs are even better due to the diversity of their diet. Beneficial bugs like the wheel bugs or assassin bug are considered good guys.


Wheel bug  from

Wheel bugs are true bugs, long grayish-black to silver in color, with a brown section toward the end. They look prehistoric from the side due to the wheel-looking plate-like armor on top that resembles a circular saw covering all the thorax area. Then, toward the posterior end, they have protruding armor, like a dinosaur. They have two sets of eyes; one set is a compound eye and the other is simple. Near their anus they have orange sacs. Two segmented antennas at the top of their head move slowly sensing for prey. Lastly, they have a segmented beak and six legs. They grow to about one and half inches in length.

Flying Habit and their Bite

When they fly, they tend to be noisy, as they are clumsy fliers and move slowly. Handled them carefully, as their bite can be quite painful and can last months to heal. Many claim they cause more pain than a wasp sting. When they are disturbed they give out a horrible odor, like their cousin stink bugs. See my video and learn more about Organic garden pest control

Eating Habits

Wheel bugs are also known as the ‘assassin bug’, as they use the two front legs to capture insects or caterpillars (their favorite) and suck their fluids. By injecting saliva with an enzyme that paralyzes the victim and dissolves their insides, allowing them to easily suck out all fluids, thus devouring the prey. Mating takes place in the fall and, upon completion, the females kill and eat the male. The female will lay up to four hundred eggs on a twig or tree branch. The eggs look like small circular tubes. Once the eggs hatch the nymph’s are small, wingless, with an orange or red abdomen in color.

To read about other beneficial insects beneficial insects and their habitat.

Both the nymphs and adult alike are prey to predators. Birds eat them, as well as rodents and spiders. During their early stage of development, they are small and more susceptible to being eaten by other animals. If you do see one in your garden, it is a sign of the ecosystem being in great balance.

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