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Water bugs: The tiny, flat, winged arthropods making a splash on every continent (except Antarctica)!

 


Water bugs: The tiny, flat, winged arthropods making a splash on every continent (except Antarctica)!



Water bugs
Water bugs



You probably don’t think of water bugs when you hear the word bug, but these insects are in fact arthropods—or invertebrates without backbones. In the United States, we have three different types of water bugs: the backswimmer, water scorpion, and water strider (also known as pond skaters). These species can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Read on to learn more about these fascinating creatures!


What do they eat?


Water bugs are opportunistic predators and will eat just about anything they can catch. Smaller water bugs will feed on algae, while larger water bugs will go after fish, tadpoles, and even small mammals. No matter what they're eating, water bugs use their long beak to pierce their prey and suck out the insides. Unlike other aquatic animals like frogs, water bugs do not have suction cups on their feet for grasping onto rocks or plants in the water. They can't swim either; instead, they rely on waves for locomotion by either running along the surface of the water or hopping from place to place. 


If a wave pushes them off balance, they'll typically right themselves by walking back across the surface of the water. Occasionally, they'll sink into the depths if there's something solid below them to grab onto and hang on until another wave comes along. 


If you want to see some cool behavior, watch how some large male water bugs will wait for females to come close before grabbing them with their front legs and locking them in position so they can mate with them!


Do they bite?


Water bugs may be small, but they can pack a powerful punch –– especially if you're unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one of their bites. These critters are equipped with sharp mandibles that they use to puncture their prey, inject them with digestive enzymes, and then suck out their insides. And if that doesn't sound bad enough, water bugs have also been known to transmit diseases to humans through their bites. 


But don't let that stop you from enjoying these little guys. They provide excellent pest control by eating other insects like mosquitoes and cockroaches, so if we left them alone, we would likely see an increase in mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria or dengue fever. 


So next time you see a water bug flying around your kitchen sink or near your pool, take a moment to admire it! It's probably just doing its job! You should definitely keep an eye on this small creature, though. They might not look intimidating, but their large eyes make up for what they lack in size when it comes to observing the world around them. You never know when they might come across something they want to snack on while they're patrolling your backyard!


Are they harmless?


Water bugs are generally harmless to humans. However, there are some species of water bug that can deliver a painful bite. In addition, water bugs may be carriers of disease-causing bacteria or viruses. If you have any concerns about a water bug infestation, it's best to contact a pest control professional. Some companies offer home visits for this type of situation. 


  1. What are some safety precautions one should take when dealing with a water bug? 
  2. How do you get rid of them? 
  3. What do they eat? 
  4. Why are these creatures helpful in the environment? 
  5. Can I catch anything from them? 
  6. What other animals are similar to water bugs? 
  7. Are they harmful to plants and trees? 
  8. What is their life cycle? 
  9. Where did they come from? 
  10. Is their population growing? 
  11. Do all water bugs lay eggs in ponds and streams or just certain ones? 
  12. What is their lifecycle like? 
  13. Do they lay eggs inside the human body after biting us if we're near a pond or stream where they live and reproduce?? 
  14. Should I stay away from puddles if I'm afraid of getting bitten by water bugs????


Do they carry diseases?


While water bugs are not known to carry diseases, they can be carriers of certain bacteria and viruses. In fact, one study found that waterbugs can transmit over 30 different kinds of bacteria! While most of these bacteria are harmless to humans, some can cause serious illnesses like cholera, dysentery, and Typhoid fever. So it's important to take precautions when coming into contact with waterbugs or their habitats. 


When you enter a room where there is standing water, wear shoes so that the organisms don't come in contact with your skin. Don't touch the bug if you can help it; instead, use a cup to capture the creature before releasing it outside. If you find yourself handling the bug, wash your hands thoroughly afterward - especially if you've eaten recently! Do water bugs bite?: These creatures don't have the mouthparts necessary for biting humans. But even if they did, the bites would probably just feel painful and itchy without doing any lasting damage.


Where do they live?


Water bugs can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world. In North America, they are commonly found in ponds and streams. In Europe, they can be found in rivers and lakes. In Asia, they inhabit rice paddies and other wetlands. And in South America, they can be found in marshes and swamps. 


No matter where they live, water bugs are excellent swimmers! They use their back legs to paddle through the water while their front legs steer them around obstacles like plants or rocks. They have triangular-shaped heads with two antennae at the end of them. Their eyesight is poor but they have an incredible sense of smell that helps them hunt for food, find mates, and avoid predators like fish and birds. They eat lots of small invertebrates like worms and mosquito larvae but some larger species also consume fish eggs, tadpoles, frogs, or even small birds!

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