cannibal ant? spider? wasp?
Hi there.
Could you help me identify this bug that is living on our deck (in Columbia, Maryland) near my toddlers’ slide? They have shiny black heads and thoraxes with seemly smooth bright red abdomens. Six long delecate-looking legs and a pair of thinner antenna. Their dead comrades are all missing their abdomens. Whether coincidence or not they are congregated around bits of spiderweb-looking threads and there is a sac nearby their "hangout" as well. They may bite as I was bitten by an insect I am sure was an exact copy at a playground a few miles away. I checked around the web as well as your website and couldn’t find anything convincing. I appreciate your help!
Karyn Hessler

Hi Karyn,
Your have a wonderful photo of Wheel Bug Nymphs, Arilus cristatus, a type of Assassin Bug. They have a painful bite, as you know. They are beneficial insects as they prey upon garden pests. Just don’t touch.

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