Subject: Large with serrations on back has wings
Location: Near Pittsburgh, PA
October 25, 2012 9:16 am
Hello, This bug was found 10/24/12 near Pittsburgh, PA (in the country)on my Mother’s deck. What is it? Is it dangerous? Have never seen anything like it before.
Signature: Laura

Wheel Bug

Hi Laura,
We have been getting several requests each day recently to identify Wheel Bugs like yours.  With winter approaching, Wheel Bugs,
 Arilus cristatus, have matured and they are attracting more attention.  Wheel Bugs are stealth predators that should be handled with caution.  Though they are not aggressive, they are capable of delivering a painful bite with their proboscis that is designed for piercing prey and sucking fluids from the bodies of other insects.  A recent request called it a Stegosaurus Bug.  Your excellent photograph nicely focuses on the coglike crest that gives the Wheel Bug its common name.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for the explanation. Have these insects always been found in the Northeast? I have never seen one before. Should we be concerned that where there’s one there’s more?  And, when do they lay eggs and where? We thought maybe the one we found was sick because it only moved a few inches in 2 days. We have a lot of stink bugs this fall so maybe that’s what attracted it?
All the best,

Hi Laura,
The Wheel Bug is the largest Assassin Bug in North America and they are found in the Northeast.  The female lays eggs in the fall, often on a branch or wood siding.  The eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring.  The hatchling Wheel Bugs are often mistaken for ants or spiders.

Location: Pennsylvania

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