Water bugs are primarily found on water, but they can also walk on land. They are often mistaken for a cockroach due to their appearances, but the two species are slightly different. Water bugs are also referred to as water roaches, toe-bitters, or electric light bugs. They are common in places like South America, North Australia, and East Asia. They are encountered in ponds and freshwater streams. This article would like to answer the different questions about water bugs.
A Water Bug’s Bite
Like all animals and other insects, water bugs have their own way of defending themselves. If they feel threatened or accidently you startled them, they will likely bite you. A water bug’s bite has a paralyzing fluid that allows its prey to be stunned or paralyzed when injected. They are also referred to as “toe-bitters” because the instant you hit your toes on a stagnant puddle or pond, it will immediately bite your toes.
If bitten, the bite can be very painful and could last for up to 5 minutes or an hour. It is not lethal to human beings and they are considered harmless, but if you have an allergic reaction to the bite, medical attention should be sought immediately. It is not recommended to pick up creeping water bugs with bare hands, using forceps is recommended.
Types Of Water Bugs
1. The Naucoridae
The Naucoridae commonly known as creeping water bugs can be found in stagnant water or sluggish backwater. They feed on molluscs and small crustaceans including insects and mosquito larvae. Creeping water bug waits for their prey and holds them using their raptorial legs.
2. The Belostomatidae
The Belostomatidae are commonly known as Giant water bugs or toe bitters. They have the largest body size in the heteropteran family. They are also called “electric light bugs” due to the fact that they fly to light in large numbers. Giant water bugs feed on insects and small organisms they are able to capture including small birds. Strong beaks and front legs help them catch their prey. They have powerful enzymes that can be injected into their prey to make it die. They are considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia, and the insect is eaten fresh or cooked.
How Do You Get Rid Of Water Bugs?
Due to its painful bite, water bugs should not be allowed near your home both inside and outside. They are not dangerous to humans but it is better to prevent the biting from happening rather than avoiding it. Here are some steps on how you can get rid of water bugs.
- Removal is the easiest way to do if you find water bugs. They are found on water containers, usually on stagnant ones. You will need to use gardening gloves to prevent them from giving you a painful bite.
- Call the exterminator, reaching out for professional help is your best bet in solving your water bug problems. The exterminator knows all the methods of eliminating and preventing water bugs from invading your home.
- Use insecticide to repel off or kill water bugs. Spray it on the windows and foundations of the house. Be cautious about using insecticide, especially with children and pets around.
Water bugs pose a small threat to the environment and can be beneficial to keeping mosquito larvae, baby cockroaches, snails, and other insects from becoming invasive. Generally, if they come inside your home, they cannot survive because the conditions inside are not the same as outside. These creatures like to hide in debris and brush in the pond.
The water bug bite is harmless to humans unless it causes an allergic reaction to it, then medical attention is needed. A water bug can be 0.5cm to 12cm long and is similarly identical to a cockroach, but the main difference is that water bugs live mostly on the water. Water bugs are generally clean compared to roaches and are often used as a delicacy in some parts of Asia.
Frequently Asked Questions about Water Bugs
Can water bugs fly?
Yes, many water bugs, especially the Giant water bugs (Belostomatidae), have wings and are capable of flying. This is one reason they are sometimes attracted to lights at night and are called “electric light bugs.”
How long do water bugs live?
The lifespan of water bugs varies depending on the species. Generally, they can live for several months to a year. Factors such as their environment, food availability, and predators can influence their lifespan.
Are there any natural predators of water bugs?
Yes, water bugs have several natural predators including birds, larger aquatic insects, amphibians like frogs, and some species of fish. Their presence in a freshwater ecosystem often indicates a healthy food chain.
What is the reproduction process of water bugs?
Water bugs undergo a process called incomplete metamorphosis. Female water bugs lay eggs, which hatch into nymphs. These nymphs resemble smaller versions of the adult bugs and go through a series of molts before reaching adulthood. Interestingly, for some species of water bugs, males carry the eggs on their backs until they hatch.
Do water bugs carry any diseases that can affect humans?
Water bugs do not carry diseases in the same way that some pests, like mosquitoes or ticks, do. However, it’s always a good idea to clean a bite area thoroughly to prevent any potential infections from bacteria that might be present in the water where the bug resides.