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Assassin Bug


COMMON NAMES:  Assassin Bug, Giant Wheel Bug, Wheel Bug

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Order Heteroptera, family Reduviidae, many species
SIZE:  Adult--3/8" to 1 5/8"

IDENTIFICATION:  Various colors and sizes, look like skinny stink bugs or leaf-footed bugs. Abdomen often flares out beneath the wings. Head is elongate with a groove between the eyes. Short curved rostrum (swordlike snout) fits in groove under body. Strong front legs to hold prey. Adults can give you a painful bite if handled but rarely do.  
This is a form of assassin bug called the giant wheel bug.

Photo courtesy of Robert Forsbach

BIOLOGY AND LIFE CYCLE:  Eggs usually laid singly or in clusters on branches, in crevices, and under stones and the like. Nymphs are often brightly colored. Incomplete life cycle - with normally one generation per season. Will hibernate in all life forms - eggs, nymphs, and adults.
HABITAT:  Many ornamental and food crops.
FEEDING HABITS:  Eat adults, nymphs, and larvae of many plant-eating insects. Like to eat troublesome insects from mosquitoes to large beetles. Favorite foods include aphids, leafhoppers, beetle larvae, caterpillars, and small flying insects.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE:  Control many troublesome plant-eating insects.
NATURAL CONTROL:  Spiders and themselves. The young feed on each other.
ORGANIC CONTROL:  None needed, highly beneficial.
INSIGHT:  Assassin bugs in the genus Triatoma, called kissing bugs, bite people at night. They are blood feeders. See Kissing Bug.


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