Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University
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Wheel Bug
 
Wheel bug, Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus), preying on a squash bug. Photo by Drees.
Click on image to enlarge
 
Wheel bug,
Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus)
(Hemiptera: Reduviidae),
preying on a squash bug.
Photo by Drees.
 
Common Name: Wheel bug
Scientific Name: Arilus cristatus (Linnaeus)
Order: Hemiptera

Description: Adults are up to 1-1/4 inch long, dark brown insects with a prominent spiny ridge or "wheel" on the thorax. See other Reduviidae.

Life Cycle: Females deposit bottle-shaped eggs in the fall on twigs and other surfaces which overwinter. Nymphs, with red and black patterns, hatch in the spring. Older nymphs resemble adults but lack fully-developed wings. One generation is produced annually.

Habitat and Food Source(s): Wheel bug nymphs and adults are predaceous on a wide range of insects including honey bees and caterpillars. Therefore, they are beneficial because they help control various other insects. They are rarely numerous so they have limited impact on pest insect populations in agricultural crops.

Pest Status: This large predaceous insect is known for its painful bite. However, they do not bite unless they are threatened or cornered.

Management: No management is justified.

For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Literature: Frank & Slosser 1991; Slater and Baranowski 1978.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999
Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.
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