Bug of the Month November 2010: Wheel Bug

What is this bug
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
October 25, 2010 8:41 am
It was outside our work. Looks prehistoric.

Wheel Bug Stalks Stink Bug

Giant Stink Bug?
Location: Pittsburgh PA
October 25, 2010 1:28 pm
I took this photo yesterday (10/24/2010) of a large bug in my driveway. This is in SouthWestern Pennsylvania which is under a stink bug assault right now. The funny thing is several others at work have seen this bug just this weekend. One person brought in the same thing but it was entirely black instead of brown colored. We’ve called it the ”stink bug queen” and ”mutant stink bug” but really have no idea. What is this?
Signature: Eric

Wheel Bug

Dear Eric,
We have gotten so many requests in the past week to identify Wheel Bugs that despite it being chosen Bug of the Month in November 2008, we felt it warranted receiving the title again this year.  The Wheel Bug,
Arilus cristatus, is the largest Assassin Bug in North America.  They are slow moving predators, and though they are capable of biting, we receive very few reports of people being bitten even after handling Wheel Bugs.  Many people describe the Wheel Bug as looking prehistoric or comparing them to dinosaurs, particularly the Stegosaurus.  In the spring, we get numerous identification requests for Wheel Bug hatchlings that look like red and black ants clustered around the remains of the egg mass that has passed the winter attached to a tree branch or fence post.

7 thoughts on “Bug of the Month November 2010: Wheel Bug”

  1. I found and took a picture of a wheel bug, in western Pennsylvania on about the same day…I am not sure how to post pictures, but, I am just wondering, did they all have a convention of sorts, because I had never seen on before in my lifetime.

    The green eyes fascinated me! So happy to find it to be bug of the month…they must have decided they were due some recognition!

  2. I found one in my house. My dog was almost laying on it, I thought my dog had actually brought in a stick and chewed it up, that’s how big it was. It must have been 3 inches long and the back of it was shaped just like a giant stink bug. I picked it up with my hand at first because as I said it looked like a chewed up stick at first, but when it moved in my hand I dropped it quickly and saw that the bottom of it had a red stinger like thingy on its but, do the bite or sting humans?


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