The clouds were getting dark and heavy, and we were expecting a quick (and heavy) rain shower, so I ran outside to make sure the windows on the chicken house were shut. That's when we met....and I knew it had to be a photo moment *back to the house I ran*.
I've never seen such a bug before! It was nearly 2" long, and had a beak-like thing on it's narrow face. I certainly didn't want to TOUCH it, not knowing what it was... so I snapped about 40 photos, then ran back to the house to see what it might be and to escape the rain.
Turns out it's a Wheel Bug, a TRUE BUG, and a STINK BUG! This ought to REALLY creep out my sister, Melissa. She has a very strong dislike for the stink bugs that are native to the pacific northwest.
At first, I think the bug was a little threatened by the gigantic black Canon eyeball staring it down... See the red on it's hiney? That red spot is popping out of what what looks like a little trap door, and is how this particular bug releases it's "stink". I didn't notice any odor, so they must not be as pungent as the stink bugs up north.
I learned that it is known as "the assassin" insect because of how lethal it is to its prey, using that big red "beak" to inject enzymes into things like caterpillars and basically suck their guts out! Far out! And it's a good thing I didn't touch it ... according to online sources, the bite from this bug is painful and takes a long time to heal. ...yeah, I'd believe it!! It crawled, very slowly, and not very gracefully, along the leaf stem of the sunflower.
After I finished reading about the bug online (yeah for Google!) and after the rain let up, I went back out to see if I could find the bug again. When I did, I slipped it into a little box (without touching it) and relocated it on the tall sunflower that's out in the garden. It will have all KINDS of good things to snack on out there! Bon Appetit, my new creepy friend!
PS: I found a video on YouTube that a fella posted that shows one of these bugs on his bee hive ... cool stuff! Check it out!