I was today years old when I heard of the Wheel Bug.

Maine doesn't really have much in the way of poisonous anything that'll kill you. Whether it's snakes, bugs, storms, whatever... Maine is a wildly safe place to live, generally speaking. However, we do have some critters that will try hard to wreck your day. We hate them all with a passion. Ticks, skeeters, toe biters. You all suck. Well, you all bite at least.

But today, I was just skimming the internet, I saw some random piece about these nasty little insects called Wheel Bugs. The way it was described, the bite from one of these little jerks was comparable to a gunshot! So naturally, I wondered if we had these violent critters here in Maine, and did a little investigating...

Of course, we have them here in Maine! Ugh...

It's a member of the "assassin bug" family. This means they basically lie in wait for other smaller critters to come by, and then they ambush them. In particular, these wheel bugs have a single fang and use it to repeatedly stab their prey to death. the description I found is equally icky...

...best identified by the ridged, or spiny, wheel on its pronotum (back). Adults are a dusty gray color that may be pale enough to look white. The narrow head has two large black eyes on either side. The long, dark fang tucks in under the face. Antennae are red-orange...

Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash
Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash
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The photos of them aren't much more pleasant to look at. And again, their bite is alleged to be straight-up awful, like a gunshot wound. I'm not sure if that technically makes it the most painful bite of any insect in Maine, but it's gotta be pretty damn close. I don't know what would be worse, at any rate.

You'll find them out in the yard, living under dead leaves and other groundcovers, waiting for their unsuspecting prey. If you see one, I advise you not to handle it, lest you be stung with that giant fang. They literally look like the bugs from Starship Troopers. Yuck. Stay away, friends. Stay. A. Way.

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