Cool Looking Assassin Bug
This beautiful bug is swift and deadly when it comes to insects. And thankfully, they're on our side, eating pests that would normally attack vegetable and flower gardens. There's more than 100 species of assassin bugs in North America. The wheel bug is a familiar one due to its unusual name (find info and photo here). Adults are about 3/4" or more in length with a sharp, curved, daggerlike mouth held under their body until it's time to eat. Then they ambush their prey and pierce it with this "sword" and inject with a lethal toxin which kills the insect in seconds and then liquifies its insides to be sucked up like a milkshake. Not a pretty picture, but consider the job they do for you in the garden! They eat tomato hornworms, potato beetles, leafhoppers, cucumber beetles, Mexican bean beetles, aphids and caterpillars of all sorts, which is the only downside since some caterpillars are beautiful butterflies and moths.