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Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bugs (Lethocerus americanus) are sometimes called “toebiters” because they may bite the feet and ankles of people wading through shallow water. They are sometimes called “electric light bugs” because of their habit of flying to lights.

Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bug

Giant water bugs are 2 1/2 inches long and brown in color. The body is flat and elongate oval in shape but pointed at both ends. The front legs are enlarged and pincer-like with a resemblance to praying mantis front legs. A short beak is visible on the front of the underside of the head. The legs and beak combine to make the giant water bug an effective predator. They feed on other aquatic insects, snails, tadpoles and even small fish.

Giant Water Bugs like slowly moving water, especially where there is emergent vegetation such as cattails. They usually grab hold of a plant near the surface, and stick their short breathing tube out of the water to allow them to breath while waiting for prey.

With their powerful front legs they are able to grab other bugs and prey as big as small fish, frogs and salamanders. They pierce their prey with their sharp beak and secrete enzymes that dissolve the body tissues, thus allowing them to suck up the resulting liquid.

Giant water bugs are ambush hunters, lying motionless and waiting for their prey. Predators of giant water bugs include birds, fish and other aquatic predators. When sitting motionless, giant water bugs resemble dead leaves.

Giant Water Bug Carrying Eggs

Giant Water Bug Carrying Eggs

Adult giant water bugs capture larger prey species by using their clawed front feet and chemicals which are injected into the body of the prey. The enzymes turn the prey�s insides into liquid, which the giant water bug can suck up.

Life Cycle: Giant water bugs go through a simple metamorphosis with egg, nymph, and adult stages. During warm months, female giant water bugs attach eggs to underwater vegetation or (in some species) stick eggs to the backs of males.

In these species, the male will carry the eggs until they hatch. After hatching, the wingless nymphs resembled small, wingless adults. They molt several times before becoming full-sized, winged adults. Large nymphs or adults are usually the overwintering stage. All stages are aquatic.

Larvae eat small aquatic invertebrates, while adults prey on any small animal they can handle, including insects and other aquatic invertebrates. They also hunt vertebrates such as tadpoles, salamanders and small fish. Grasping and holding prey with their powerful forelegs, giant water bugs thrust their sucking mouthparts into their prey.

Giant Water Bug eatingfishs

Giant Water Bug Eating Fish

Bites: Giant Water Bug can give one a nasty bite. One person described the bite as very painful, causing the finger and whole hand to swell up dramatically, to the point where they lost all use of the hand,and remaining thus for about two weeks. If you are going to handle this insect, it should be done with care.

If you ever have any bug related questions feel free to call us either at Beyond Pest Control. Once again, and I can’t stress this enough we are on call twenty four hours a day seven days a week to kill those bugs, we aren’t kidding whether you call us at 9 am or midnight we will be available to take your call and either get rid of the bug infestation, or answer any questions you may have concerning the bug issue.
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