Bug Spotted in Hudson Valley Looks and Sounds Nasty, But is Beneficial
With the summer weather being so warm and humid, you're bound to spot all kinds of bugs around your property. Some are familiar, while others might seem new and even spark fear. According to the InsectIdentification.org database, there are 1,143 species of bugs found in New York state, and that number could widely vary. A recent Facebook post of a rather scary-looking insect has drawn discussion about the origins, and even benefits of this creature.
What is It?
They go by a number of names, but the assassin bug is one of around 160 species of insect in the family Reduviidae, and is actually more of a help to gardeners than a pest, They are a predatory insects, and their diet includes many other bugs, bees, flies, and caterpillars, according to City Bugs. Most are brown or black, though some are brightly colored. They're known for their elongated and narrow heads, with a distinct “neck” behind their often reddish eyes, according to Wisconsin Horticulture.
These killers stab their prey with their mouthparts and paralyze them with a toxin. Once immobilized, the prey's body fluids are drawn up through the assassin's straw-like mouth. Sounds awful, but they'll certainly rid your yard of all sorts of pests, including ones that go after valuable crops.
Do They Harm Humans?
Of course, you don't want to pick them up. Their bites can be painful and you'll want to apply antiseptic to the area of the bite. Most of the time you won't need medical attention, though you may have some inflammation that lasts for a few days.
There is the Kissing Bug, however, which is another species of assassin bug. These things you don't want to mess with for they can be carriers of the deadly Chagas disease. These bugs are not okay.
and neither these...
HV Bugs and Critters That Are Not Harmless
What the Hell Are They?
They've been described as toxic, carnivorous, nasty, and even "immortal" by zoologists. They're actually known by scientific names due to the number of species, but most refer to them as hammerhead worms, shovel worms, or broadband planarians.
They are a predatory species that feed on earthworms and other species. Their appearance can vary by species, though some carry a distinctive head plate, hence the moniker hammerhead. They also come in a variety of different colors.
The Hammerhead worms are part of a large group of flatworms that belong to the particular file of organisms,
The worms are native to the hot and humid areas of Southeast Asia. But now they've invaded American soil, at first staying primarily in the South. Warmer and wetter summers in the Northeast have meant the slimy pests have now been spotted up here as well, including in the Hudson Valley.
Do They Hurt People?
Are they harmful to humans? No, they're just gross-looking and can irritate the skin if picked up and touched. Experts say you can kill them by using vinegar and salt. Don't cut them up though, for they just regenerate and grow more worms.
Not to be Confused with Other Invasive Worms - Asian Jumping Worms
Hammerheads are not to be confused with "Asian jumping worms", another invasive species of worm. Shifting climates and increased global travel have made it easier for species not native to areas to spread in a fairly short amount of time across the globe, causing varying degrees of environmental destruction.
Other Nasty Creatures Have Also Been Spotted
There's also the Southern Pine Beetle, the Spotted Lanternfly, and the beforementioned Joro Spider (which is scary looking, but relatively harmless).