Preying on predators

This post comes from Scott Stewart’s UTCrops News Blog. Predators are important in IPM, so I thought this was worth sharing.

Assassin bug and lady beetle

Assassin bug attacking a lady beetle

The critter pictured right is one of the several kinds of assassin bugs found in field crops (family Reduviidae).  Assassin bugs are excellent predators of many insect pests, but this guy didn’t get the memo and is eating an adult lady beetle (another beneficial insect).

Assassin bugs are pretty large, and thus can take down some big prey such as large caterpillars.  Of course, the immature stages are smaller and feed on smaller prey.  The species pictured belongs to the genus Zelus, and it is commonly seen in soybean and cotton.  The adult is about one-inch long.  Assassin bugs will bite, so handle carefully!