Pest Profile: Belostomadidae
Often times when people have German roach, they will say that they have “water bugs”. Admitting that you have roaches is distasteful, so this is a more palatable alternative. The belostomatid, I’m sure, would take offense to this because it is the actual “water bug.” As one of the largest members of the Hemipteran order, they can reach lengths up to 4 inches. Making their homes in ponds, ditches, and marshy areas; these predatory insects will lie in wait for their next meal consisting of small fish, amphibians, or insects. When the prey is in range, the water bug will launch an ambush and grab its victim with its powerful front legs. Then the prey is injected with venomous saliva which will digest the food source, allowing the water bug to ingest the liquified nutrients. If you are fortunate enough to see a belostomatid in the wild, it is not recommended that pick them up with your bare hands. Their bite can be extremely painful, but it is not medically significant.
If you were to ever find yourself in a survival situation, water bugs can be eaten and are a good source of protein. Some Asian cultures even consider them to be a delicacy. Most people will never handle them or try to eat them, but simply observe them and marvel at this apex predator that is the true water bug.
Jason Kiefer, ACE
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