Wheel Bug

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

Next Up

Milkweed Bug

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

Kudzu Bugs

These international stowaways are causing problems in American gardens.

Assassin Bug

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

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 garden writer Gayla Trail the willies.

Keeping Ticks Away

Tips for making sure these bugs don't bite.

Protecting Yourself From Bites and Stings

The hidden hazards—yellow jackets, spiders, ticks and more—of gardening.

House Centipede

Harmless and even beneficial, this insect can point to other problems in the home.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

What's New in Outdoors

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

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