Wheel Bug Nymph Carnage

Subject: What is this
Location: Virginia
June 9, 2016 1:19 pm
I have killed 3 of these so far
Signature: Betty

Wheel Bug Nymph
Wheel Bug Nymph

Dear Betty,
This is a Wheel Bug nymph, a beneficial predator.  When they hatch in the spring, Wheel Bug nymphs often arouse attention as they look somewhat like spiders as they cluster around their distinctive grouping of eggs.  They soon set out as solitary hunters, taking small prey like Aphids, a scourge to any home gardener.  It actually appears that the individual in your image is feeding off a small insect, possibly an Aphid.  Mature Wheel Bugs have a distinctive “cog” along the upper surface of the thorax that makes them very distinctive looking.  Mature Wheel Bugs are able to take much larger prey, and they help eliminate many unwanted insects in the garden.  Wheel Bugs are also quite large and they are probably the largest members of the Assassin Bug family in North America.  All Assassin Bugs might bite if carelessly handled, but we almost never receive reports from folks who have been bitten by a Wheel Bug.  If it occurs, a bite may cause temporary local sensitivity and swelling, but it will have no lasting effect.  We hope we have convinced you to refrain from future Unnecessary Carnage of Wheel Bugs.

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