Wheel Bug

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by billyb, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. billyb

    billyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Found one of these little suckers (literally!) snacking on my bees yesterday. It's a wheel bug and I only saw one ... from what I can gather they are generally considered beneficial insects around the garden. Do they pose a serious threat to the bees? I would think their numbers are just not sufficient to cause any appreciable damage to the hive, but does anyone have experience?

    IMG_1137.JPG

    I posted a few more photos to my blog (http://billybsbees.blogspot.com/).
     
  2. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Looks like an assassin bug- and it's one of many critters that snack on bees. I've even seen dragon flies munching on them but as far as I can tell, they don't pose much of a threat.
     

  3. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Unless the Wheel Bug has ninja skills like the Praying Mantis, he is probably just a scavenger....
     
  4. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    "he is probably just a scavenger...."

    dave, how do you that nasty looking bug isn't a SHE...........:queen:

    :lol:
     
  5. ndm678

    ndm678 Member

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I've watched my hives go into high activity mode in the afternoons, this moves the dragonflies in by the dozens. I started keeping my cats in around this time, which brought the birds back, which solved my dragonfly problem.

    Sorry billyb, I don't know enough about the wheel bug to help. I just wanted to give my 2 cents about dragonflies.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    From Wikipedia:

    The wheel bug (Arilus cristatus), in the family Reduviidae, is one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, being up to 1.5 inches, or 38 mm, in length. A characteristic structure is the wheel-shaped pronotal armor. They are predators upon soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, Japanese beetles, etc., which they pierce with their beak to inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue. Because most of their prey are pests, wheel bugs are considered beneficial insects, although they can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly.

    Wheel bugs are common in eastern North America, although many people in the region have never seen them. They are camouflaged and very shy, hiding whenever possible. They have membranous wings, allowing for clumsy, noisy flight which can easily be mistaken for the flight of a large grasshopper. The adult is gray to brownish gray in color and black shortly after molting, but the nymphs (which do not yet have the wheel-shaped structure) have bright red or orange abdomens.

    The wheel bug has characteristic dorsal armor, shaped like a wheel or cog. It moves and flies slowly, and in flight produces a noisy buzzing sound. It has one of the most developed set of mouth parts among true bugs. Its beak arises from the anterior end of its long, tubular head and unfolds forward. The bug plunges its beak into its victim, pinning its prey with its front legs. It then injects enzymes into the victim, paralyzing it and dissolving its insides, and proceeds to drain all of the victim's bodily fluids. The bite of a wheel bug is painful and may take months to heal (sometimes leaving a small scar), so caution is highly advised when handling them.

    The wheel bug is also noted to be very vicious in the wild, and cannibalistic behaviors between them have been noted; for example, nymphs may prey on nymphs and the female may feed on the male after mating is concluded.
    It possesses two scent sacs (red-orange in color) that can be fired from its anus, usually in reaction to being disturbed. The scent produced by it is not as powerful as that produced by the stink bug, but is still strong enough to be detected by human noses. Colors include black and gray.

    The reproductive cycle of the wheel bug initiates in autumn. When a pair of wheel bugs encounter each other and mate, the female will lay 40-200 small, brown, cylindrical eggs on a tree twig, and eventually die. The eggs will hatch in the next spring into eighth-inch long red nymphs, which will undergo 5 molts until they reach the adult stage the following summer.
     
  7. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You got me Becky, excreting my male influence at every opportunity, ha :grin:. They do sound like ninja...camouflaged, Japanese, ahhh-grasshopper, plunging and paralyzing skills....yeap, ninja...... But, unfortunately, one those bugs that eats their mates after boogie...poor men bugs...why oh why.....:sad:
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

    Messages:
    3,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    "You got me Becky, excreting my male influence at every opportunity, ha :grin:."

    well dave, you have an excuse, being is you are surrounded by females who need to be heard.......btw BOOGIE, alrighty then! :lol:
    i know what i'd be doing with that bug....
    man_vs_spider_by_cookiemagik-d48tqg8.gif
     
  9. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I had a few robber flies hanging around one of my hives this summer. I made a game of it. On nice days when I wanted to sit outside and watch the bees, I kept the BB gun close by. Got pretty good and picking those little varmints off when they would land on one of the plants by the hive. :club::lol:
     
  10. jim314

    jim314 New Member

    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    He/she (to be politically correct) does have ninja skills. It can snatch a bee right out of the air.
     
  11. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I couldn't resist Andy, when you said you shoot flies you reminded me of one of my favorite Little Rascal episodes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlLakWAdsY0 Spanky's laugh is great!

    Simply priceless....:grin:
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think that wheel bug is way cool. I never saw one before this thread! I'd let it have a few of my bees! Dragonflies too. Everyone's gotta eat! My queen bee can lay 1000 eggs a day in the Summer...I can spare a few bees to help support the amazing Web of Life. :thumbsup:

    P.S. Spanky rules.
     
  13. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You kin to Josey Wales?

    "Buzzards gotta eat . . . same as worms"

    :rolling:
     
  14. billyb

    billyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    These are definitely cool bugs and they definitely have some ninja skills. They aren't scavengers by any means ... watching them hunt is fascinating. The move slowly and approach the hive pretty much unnoticed by the bees. When a bee gets close enough, they react swiftly and decisively.

    They are a bit creepy, but the not the creepiest of the assassin bugs. The kissing bug is a near cousin to the wheel bug, though it sucks blood ... your blood! Attracted to your CO2 emissions while you sleep, it moves up close to your mouth and feeds from the blood of the soft flesh of your lips!
     
  15. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Billy, between your description and your avatar, I'm now thinking Chupacabra !!! =8-o
     
  16. tommyt

    tommyt New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    not a fake one

    Dats a " Wheel Bug fo shoe"


    Da da dats all folks:lol:
     
  17. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I once mentioned the famed Chupacabra to a group of New Englanders (Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts) and they were totally in the dark. They had never heard the word. I am impressed with your broad knowledge of all things.
     
  18. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I lived in Puerto Rico for thirteen years...home of the original ChupaCabra (goat sucker) sightings!
    Maybe we should call this bug the chupa-abeja ! :eek:

    P.s. New Englanders can be 'in the dark' for much of the year anyway. :lol: