Stump the Grump! Insect Gross-Out

Question -- I have never seen spiders like these, who seem to really like my Japanese Maple. Are they harmful to tree or humans? Diane

Answer -- Those "spiders" in the other photo aren't spiders. They're predatory insects called assassin bugs that have recently hatched out. They get their name from spearing other bugs with their sharp beaks and sucking out their insides -- kinda like the giant brain-sucking bug in "Starship Troopers." If you mess with them, they'll spear you too and their bites can be painful. However, they 're considered beneficial because they eat pests like aphids, soft scales, and caterpillars.

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