May 23, 2013

Beneficial Insect - The Wheel Bug

I first came across the wheel bug last summer. When I went to go check on my bee hive I noticed a very strange, prehistoric looking creature cruising around on top of the hive roof. I snapped a few pics and posted them online to see if anyone knew what it was. I found out that it was known as a wheel bug and it was probably doing some bee hunting. I will admit that at first I was not too fond of this bug, considering the work I put into my bees only to have them eaten. Yet, there was only one lone bug that I saw and I couldn't imagine it doing that much harm.

If you do encounter this insect in your yard be careful though! They are capable of piercing skin and secreting a substance which is said to be 10x worse than a hornet sting! Eek..

This spring I saw some other strange looking insects inundating one of my nectarines trees. It was quite unlike the wheel bug. But after doing some research I discovered they were one in the same. The wheel bugs I saw this year were nymph wheel bugs. They look like little spiders with big orange abdomens and long, yellow/orange tipped antennae. 
During my research I discovered that they eat all kinds of bugs and not just honey bees! I may even put some in my garden as I've read that they eat aphids, cabbage worms, caterpillars and more. Organic pest control at its best!

Wheel bug nymphs hang around the egg cluster from which they hatched