Wheel Bugs

assassin bug

What do wheel bugs look like?

Wheel bugs are the largest species of assassin bugs in the U.S. They are easily identified by the the “wheel” just behind the head with tiny spikes on it. They are fairly common to find in our area. Adult wheel bugs grow to about 1.5 inches in length. They appear gray to a brown-gray in color. After molting they will become darker almost black in color. The nymph wheel bug does not have the “wheel” and are actually bright orange or red. They have 6 long legs, long antennae, broad body, and a thin long head with a beak mouth part. 

Having trouble with wheel bugs?

Are wheel bugs dangerous?

If we were just going off of looks you would expect the wheel bug to be dangerous. It’s size and  weird appearance make it look  threatening. It is actually considered to be a beneficial insect to garden owners, as it kills other insects considered to be pests.  It is not aggressive toward humans but will bite if provoked. The bite is considered quite painful, lasting several minutes. Avoid picking up wheel bugs and most other insects unless you know what you are handling and take precautions. Handle wheel bugs with gloves. 

Wheel bug habitat.

Wheel bugs are well camouflaged and quite shy. They are considered beneficial because they prey on pests. They can be found hanging out on cotton, sunflowers, goldenrod, and locust tree trunks. You will also find them in fruit and tree groves. Wheel bugs hunt silently, stalking their victims by moving slow and mimicking the wind blowing. When they get close enough they strike with their beak. Holding their prey with their oversized front legs, they drain the body fluids of their victims.   

How do I get rid of wheel bugs?

The chances of any large wheel bug infestation are extremely rare. These insects are very shy and prefer to be in gardens and fruit groves where the pests they feed on are easy to find. If you have identified a problem with wheel bugs try to locate and seal the entry point if inside. If outside you will need to look into eliminating the pest food source they are there to eat. You may have beetles, caterpillars, or other lawn or plant damaging pests that they are there to feed on. Once the food source is removed the wheel bugs will no longer stick around. 

How can I prevent wheel bug problems at my home or business?

Start off with a routine maintenance pest program from a pest control expert like those at Walker Pest Management. Follow the tips below to help prevent any wheel bug problem in your home. 

  • Seal up around windows and doors with weather stripping or silicone caulk. 
  • Fill gaps around pipes or vents where they enter the structure with copper mesh or expanding foam.
  • Turn lights off at night that attract insects that the wheel bug would prey on.
  • Physically remove the wheel bug with gloved hands. They pack a punch if provoked. 

If you suspect a wheel bug problem contact Walker Pest Management for a free quote.

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