Wheel Bug

A member of the assassin-bug family, the wheel bug is a beneficial insect.
wheel-bug

wheel-bug

A member of the assassin-bug family, the wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) is a beneficial insect that preys on other insects, usually plant pests. Typical prey are Japanese beetles, fall webworms, cabbage worms and cucumber beetles.

Its method of killing is efficient: The wheel bug punctures victims with its powerful beak, injects a saliva that digests the "innards" of the insect prey, then sucks out the body fluids.

The adult wheel bug varies from brown to gray, measures about an inch long and derives its name from the semi-circular, cogwheel-shaped crest on its back. There is one generation per year, with the young appearing in late spring.

Caution: The wheel bug's dietary habits make it a friend to gardeners, but this beneficial insect isn't a pet. Don't handle it; if disturbed, it can inflict a very painful bite.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Milkweed Bug

This insect is a problem only if you're trying to grow milkweed.

Assassin Bug

Despite its unfriendly name, this critter is a friend to gardeners most of the time.

Kudzu Bugs

These international stowaways are causing problems in American gardens.

Stink Bugs in the Garden

Because the stink bug releases its unpleasant scent when crushed, drowning may be preferred to squashing.

Ordering Beneficial Bugs By Mail

Send insect pests packing with mail-order beneficial bugs.

Bug Off: Get the Earwigs Out of My Garden!

Learn why earwigs give Gayla the willies.

What Do Ladybugs Eat?

Keep pest problems in check with these adorable garden visitors.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth

Here's a critter that looks vaguely like a bee but behaves like a hummingbird.

Cool Weather and Indoor Insects

Find out how to prevent infestation during the off season.

Millipedes

These slow-moving critters feed on decaying plant matter and can be found in dark, cozy places.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.