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Author Topic: Ambush bugs  (Read 289 times)

Offline Shawn

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Ambush bugs
« on: August 23, 2021, 05:00:08 pm »
After getting my pollinator garden up and running I started seeing weird bugs near the blooms of most of the flowers. I found they were ambush bugs and started pulling them off. I know they are good and bad but once I noticed they were there I stopped seeing so many bees. Any idea on how to get rid of them so they are not killing the bees?

Offline Shawn

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Re: Ambush bugs
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2021, 05:16:41 pm »
Flip side of this I have been seeing a lot of dead wasp in the plants.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Ambush bugs
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2021, 05:30:15 pm »
My sister saw one of these in the garden the other day and didn't know what to call it.  Thanks for bringing them up, it saved me a lot of digging around on the internet to ID it.  :happy: 

I doubt the ambush bugs are having a significant effect on the bee populations.  There isn't a lot of literature on this, but just basing it off mantises, which hunt in a similar manner to ambush bugs, I'd imagine that each ambush bug is only eating a few insects each day, and obviously not all those will be bees.  If you are speaking of seeing reduced numbers of honey bees, that's probably happening naturally in your area as the summer begins to wane.  In my location, which I'd imagine is behind yours in times of the seasonal progression, hive numbers peak in July and are visibly reduced already by now, and even during the height of summer several hundred bees will die from each hive each day of natural causes.  Even 50 bees eaten by ambush bugs every day is pretty insignificant compared to that.  If you are speaking of reduced numbers of native bees and wasps, many species have very short-lived flying seasons compared to honey bees, and species seen out and about will vary greatly throughout the year.  So it may be that you are simply seeing the natural seasonal cycle progressing slowly toward winter in your area.       
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Offline Shawn

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Re: Ambush bugs
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2021, 05:36:05 pm »
Thanks for the info. I did read that they eat grasshoppers and that is great with me because they were destroying my plants. I just don't like the thought of them even taking one bee and I don't want to spray to kill them off. Ill just continue to pluck them off, I do me pluck because they stick tight onto the leaves. I have never seen them here before in my veggie gardens so I started to think maybe they hitched  a ride from somewhere on a plant I had bought and now they are producing.

Offline Shawn

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Re: Ambush bugs
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2021, 05:48:24 pm »
Here are two of them

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Ambush bugs
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2021, 08:17:33 pm »
Nice picture.  Apparently it's common to see the males riding piggyback on the females like that.  The males are smaller and lighter than the females and will often ride around on them, as the larger females can snag bigger prey, which the males then mooch off of.  There is probably some feminist joke to be made here about how men are all freeloaders, but I'm just not that kind of gal.  :cheesy:

You are certainly at liberty to do whatever you want in your garden, but I would just like to point something out, because I think a lot of people with pollinator or pollinator friendly gardens deal with this.  Part of doing habitat restoration includes fostering habitat for the predators that prey on the animals you are targeting to protect.  It often seems like it wouldn't be beneficial to have indescrimate predator insects in a pollinator garden, but they are an integral part of the ecological web.  Predators keep many insect populations in check and even make them stronger by weeding out weak individuals not strong or healthy enough to escape them, leaving more robust individuals to produce future generations, thereby contributing to healthy natural selection.  It's no different than the National Park Service attempting to eradicate or severely depress mammal predator populations in National Parks in the 20s to "protect" the prey animals, which led to ecological issues many parks desired to correct in later years by reintroducing predators to help keep the ecosystem balanced.  Predator/prey cycles fluctuate naturally much like parasite/host relationships do, and I would argue that seeing many predators in your garden is evidence that the habitat is having a positive effect, since seeing those predators is in indicator that their prey are in sufficient enough numbers to support them. 

As I said, you can of course do what you want, but I would also caution you to be careful if you are handpicking them.  While ambush bugs, and all assassin bugs actually, only bite very rarely when distressed or provoked, their bites can be quite painful, as their proboscises can penetrate skin deeply and the enzymes they inject can cause reactions in some people.             
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.