New honey bee predator? I have seen this insect around my bee hives all...

Asked October 18, 2013, 11:43 AM EDT

New honey bee predator? I have seen this insect around my bee hives all summer and recently I got a photo of one eating a honey bee (see attached photos). I have also seen honey bees attack this insect. Do you folks know what it is?

Howard County Maryland insect identification assassin bug

1 Response

The insect is a 'wheel bug', one of many species of 'Assassin bugs'. These insects are excellent predators and are considered to be beneficial since most of their prey are less desirable than honey bees. Wheel bugs will predate just about any insect, even those larger than itself. They can also deliver a painful bite to humans, so it is recommended that you avoid touching them or trying to pick them up.
No control is recommended. They do not hunt in 'packs', so the hive is not in danger of being depopulated by wheel bugs. As you observed, several bees should be able to fight off the aggressor.
LS