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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/large flying insect with serrations on upper back

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Question
Spiny bug
Spiny bug  
Do you know what this insect is; is it dangerous? It was found yesterday, 10/24/12 outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on my Mothers's deck. Picture attached.

Thanks,
Laura

Answer
Hi laura
This is an assassin bug called the Wheel Bug. It is very common this time of the year. It has a piercing mouth and sucks juices out of other insects. I can bite people if handled and I am told that the bite is worse then a bee sting. If left alone it is harmless.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Walter Hintz

Expertise

I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.

Experience

I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Publications
Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

Education/Credentials
B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

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