Currently viewing the category: "Ambush Bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange/Yellow & Black Insect w/Crab Legs…?
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
September 11, 2016 7:24 am
I’ve seen this insect in the same spot for two nights now. It appears to be a black and orange, or black and yellow, and has crab-like front legs, sort of like a predacious diver! It measures only around 3.5 to 4 millimeters and I *think* it has wings, although I’ve never seen it move or fly from the expired lily stalk it’s on. I’d be very grateful to find out what it is and whether it’s a friend or foe to my garden(s)!
I haven’t seen anything even remotely similar to it all summer -and I’m definitely somebody who pays attention! I believe that entomology is a HUGE part of being a good horticulturist! Thank you for any clues/identification you can provide me!
Signature: Maggie Hart

Jagged Ambush Bug

Jagged Ambush Bug

Dear Maggie,
This is a predatory Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata, and like many predatory species including the Preying Mantis, the Jagged Ambush Bug is not that particular about what it preys upon, so many beneficial insects like Honey Bees can become prey, but generally speaking, we would have to say that predators are necessary to keep populations of other species in check.  Your individual is much darker than most Jagged Ambush Bug images we have seen, but it does match this image on BugGuide of a Pennsylvania Ambush Bug, Phymata pennsylvanica, a species with a range not limited to its namesake state.

Jagged Ambush Bug

Jagged Ambush Bug

Holy smokes!
I can see the resemblance between the photo I took and the one you sent me a link to!  It’s no wonder my searches for “black and orange” or “black and yellow” insects weren’t yielding anything similar!
Thank you very much for your speedy response!
Maggie Hart

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird Bug
Location: Schaefferstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania
August 17, 2016 7:53 pm
This bug was located in south central PA on a fruit farm. I have never seen a bug like this before. Any idea what it is?
Signature: Jeremy

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear Jeremy,
This is a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata.  Ambush Bugs are predators that often sit camouflaged on blossoms where they await prey that they ambush and feed upon.  Unfortunately, they do not discriminate when feeding, eating both beneficial pollinating species as well as insects that are injurious to the plants.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug ID required
Location: Tiny Marsh, Elmvale Ontario Canada
August 15, 2016 10:43 am
Not sure what I’ve got here. Is this mating behaviour or lunch?
Signature: Ken MacDonald

Mating Jagged Ambush Bugs

Mating Jagged Ambush Bugs

Dear Ken,
These are mating Jagged Ambush Bugs in the genus
Phymata, but what is interesting about the mating activity of Ambush Bugs is that it is occurring at the restaurant.  Ambush Bugs frequently sit on blossoms, where they are often quite well camouflaged, and they wait for insects to be attracted to the blossoms upon which time they are ambushed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: This thing BITES!
Location: Vermont
August 7, 2016 7:04 pm
Does anyone know what kind of insect this is? Its a cross between a mantis and a wasp. It also bites!
As you can see it has wings and a round Abdomen. I had two other angles, but I sadly somehow lost them. I unsuccessfully tried to capture it as it bit two family members. One bite on the arm was very red the next day and was about half dollar-sized.
It is light-green with a brown stripe and had mantis-like claws in the front.
Edit: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/insects/predators-ambush-bugs
Signature: Curt

Jagged Ambush Bug

Jagged Ambush Bug

Dear Curt,
This is a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata, and it seems you have already identified it since you included a link to Ambush Bugs in your request.  Ambush Bugs, which were once in their own family, are now classified as a subfamily of the predatory Assassin Bugs.  Ambush Bugs often lie concealed on blossoms where they use their raptorial front legs much like a mantis to capture prey.  Though they are not aggressive towards humans, they can inflict a painful bite if carelessly handled or accidentally encountered, as you have already learned.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wanting bug ID
Location: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
July 12, 2016 10:10 am
I was at my son’s BMX practice when I looked down at my arm and saw this little guy. He didn’t seem to fall into any major category, so I got a couple of shots with him. The pronounced bright green claw-like appendages got my attention. It was a park-like setting with large pines around. He stayed with me for quite a while as he seemed intent to stay where he was. The fabric is a t-shirt; between that an the hairs on my arm, you should be able to get a sense of scale—maybe not much more than a quarter inch long, and almost as wide. Any clues?
Signature: P. J. Orlando

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear P.J.,
This is an Ambush Bug in the subfamily Phymatinae, and it is most likely a Jagged Ambush Bug in the genus
Phymata, a group that according to BugGuide:  “Typically wait for prey on vegetation, especially flowers.”  Of the genus Phymata, BugGuide notes:  “Coupling may involve several males riding around on a single female. Sometimes it allows them to take down larger prey, although coupling individuals have been found each with their own prey as well. Mating occurs with the male mounted on the side of the female.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Any idea of what this insect is?
Location: Chicago Illinois
October 10, 2015 2:38 pm
I was in my garden just this past Thursday, October 7th. I live in Chicago, Illinois and was deadheading flowers and saw this insect at the base of an empty seed pod dried up dill. At first I thought it was a tiny leaf stuck at the bottom but after a while, It had crawled up one of the stems and I was mystified. I am sending several views. This is 1/4″ long, so very tiny, but larger than any aphid I have ever seen, plus the look of wings from the top really makes it look like something else. I have sent an inquiry to the Chicago Botanic Garden but they have not responded Maybe I stumped them?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Signature: Janet Green

Ambush Bug

Ambush Bug

Dear Janet,
This Ambush Bug is a beneficial predator that is not uncommon, but they are often overlooked because they are such excellent camouflage artists.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination