Alternate title: "How to unknowingly expose your kids to a potentially dangerous bug and live to tell the tale."
This past weekend we went to pumpkin fest - it was a gorgeous, perfect day to spend sliding down a hay slide and playing in some corn pits. Near the end of the afternoon we came upon a large bug which the kids loved to (carefully) play with and investigate:
We did not know at the time, but that bug was a Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus):
The [wheel] bug plunges its beak into its victim, pinning its prey with its front legs. It then injects enzymes into the victim, paralyzing it and dissolving its insides, and proceeds to drain all of the victim's bodily fluids. The bite of a wheel bug is painful and may take months to heal (sometimes leaving a small scar), so caution is highly advised when handling them.
Yikes! Guess we won't be handling these bugs in the future (at least not with kids :)).