Wheel Bug

Bug in my wife’s mums
Thank you for your site. It has come in handy on multiple occasions. We live in the hills of North Carolina and find all kinds of strange critters up here. As for this photo, I’m curious what kind of bug this is. I haven’t seen one before and it was creeping in my wife’s mums. When I came close it rared back and wielded a nasty looking stinger looking appendage near it’s head. The appendage was red and then black at its tip. When I see red on a critter, I get a bit nervous as it seems like a caution sign to me. What is this bug and is that really a stinger? By the way, the dog hair caught in the bug’s folded wings is from our Alaskan Malamute. My wife had brushed the dog earlier near this flower bed and the bug must have picked it up while folding it’s wings. Oops.
Thank you in advance for the information on this critter!
Kevin Hendrickson

Hi Kevin,
You were very wise to heed the warning. Though Wheel Bugs are advantageous in the garden as they have voracious appetites and will feed on many harmful insects, they will also bite the unwary human and the result is reportedly quite painful, though not serious.

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