Around The Farm: Weirdly Wonderful Wheel Bugs

Big, beautiful Wheel Bug

One of the really amazing benefits of not using chemicals on our pastures is the great diversity of bug life. While some are breathtaking (Monarchs joyfully flitting about), others are troublesome (Japanese beetles making lace doilies out of leaves). Fortunately, the “pests” have natural predators, like the stately and stealthy Wheel Bug.

“Wheel Bug” is an oddly innocuous name for a member of the Assassin Bug family. See that proboscis? Yes, it’s like a hypodermic needle, and you definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of it…which shouldn’t be a problem if you respect them and leave them alone.

The Wheel Bugs we’ve encountered have been reclusive insects: they’re slow and deliberate in their movements, but they always try to escape, rather than attack, when we encounter them. Their movements are strangely mechanical-looking and a bit hypnotic – check it out below.

We leave them be unless they’re somewhere dangerous, like places where they could be accidentally stepped on or run over; in those cases, we very carefully relocate them to a safer location. If you need to relocate a Wheel Bug, you should do so with caution because their bite is reputed to be extremely painful. Learn more about these bugs here: Wheel Bug: Assassin of the Insect World.

This Wheel Bug was right in the middle of a vining plant full of Japanese beetles – a veritable smorgasbord. Here’s hoping that big bug has many Japanese beetle meals!

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