We see a lot of bugs around our home and yard this time of year in Indiana, but there is one in particular that you want to keep your distance from...the Wheel bug.

During the fall months in Indiana, we have a lot of invasive insects that are a nuisance. The first of which is one that you probably see all of the time in your home and hear all about on social media, the dreaded stink bug. Another insect that we see around the house this time of year is one that looks terrifying to a lot of people because it's commonly confused with a spider. I'm talking about spider crickets. However, there is one other insect that you might see in your yard this fall that you will want to avoid at all costs.

What Are Wheel Bugs?

Wheel bugs are a type of assassin bug that is found in Indiana. These things are very large and robust bugs that have cog wheel-shaped structures that can be spotted above the head. It makes them look pretty intimidating. According to the University of Purdue Department of Entomology, wheel bugs "grow from very tiny, newly hatched insects in the springtime to adults measuring 1.5 inches or so by mid-summer and fall."

wild wheel bug, Arilus cristatus is a common, widely distributed, beneficial assassin bug that preys on pest insects - grey color red legs - crawling on wood fence post
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Pros Of Wheel Bugs

Wheel bugs can be considered beneficial because they prey upon pest insects using a series of vicious stabbing motions with the 'fang' at the front of its head. Its creepy appearance is nothing compared to the ferociousness it has when attacking its prey. The Wheel Bugs saliva contains a substance that paralyzes their prey within 30 seconds, dissolving their insides, and proceeds to drain all of the prey's bodily fluids, leaving nothing behind but the shell of its victim.

Wheel bugs typically prey upon caterpillars, moths, and other soft-bodied insects. They have also been known to eat stink bugs too. So not only do they prey upon cause harm to your plants, but they also help take care of that stink bug problem that you might have.

Juvenile Wheel bug (Arilus christantus), a species of assassin bug. Long beak-like mouth parts pierce prey and suck out insides. Bite can be painful. Crawling on aged wood, green bokeh background
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Why You Should Avoid Wheel Bugs

While Wheel bugs are not aggressive and will try to avoid contact with humans, there are times where you might get too close to one and they feel threatened. They will then attack you like they do their prey, and the outcome is not pleasant. According to the University of Purdue Department of Entomology, their bite is extremely painful. Some people describe the pain as 10 times worse than a hornet bite. If bitten, not only will it hurt (a lot), but it could take several months for it to heal and will likely leave a scar. So it's best to just avoid these insects all together so you don't have to deal with that.

(H/T- University of Purdue Department of Entomology)

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