Biting or Stinging Grape Vine Insect

Asked August 30, 2020, 2:24 PM EDT

I went to pull a dead a leaf off my muscadines and felt an instant powerful bite or sting. I didn't see what it was. Left a barely visible blister looking (it's not) spot and stung/burned for several minutes after. Thumb is still red 10 minutes later but I think it's going back to normal. What could that have been?

Forsyth County North Carolina

1 Response

My first guess would be that it was an assassin bug or "wheel bug". They are predators and have piercing mouthparts which they use to attack a variety of insects including caterpillars, beetles, etc. They typically don't bite people, but the sudden appearance of your hand (and thumb in particular) probably put the insect into a defensive posture and it struck. At this time of year, it's a good idea to wear gloves while doing any garden chores because you may also encounter wasps and other critters.