–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth
We have had several reports about wheel bugs (fig. 1) this year from all parts of the state. These bugs are always around but are very shy, well camouflaged, slow deliberate moving, and relatively large bodied. They are predacious, often feeding on lepidoptera (butterfly/moth) larvae that are considered pests. They, thus, are considered beneficial but there just are not enough of them to really cause an impact on pests. They look relatively imposing because of their size-and they should be avoided, although they do rarely bite people, but when they do it is an EXTREMELY painful experience!
Figure 1. Wheel bug (picture by Cody Wyckoff)