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red bug with 6 black legs on canteloupe and cactus, 2 or 3 black spots on back

red bug with 6 black legs on canteloupe and cactus, 2 or 3 black spots on back
austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
September 3, 2009
Size: 1 cm
these red bugs with two? or three black spots and 6 black legs show up on my cactus in great numbers each year, now they are on my canteloupe and I kill them all three times a day. are they good, eating some other bug, or are they there to suck the water/juice out of my cactus and fruit? I also sometimes see little tiny ants around and wonder if these guys are there hunting smaller bugs. these are soft when mushed and not too fast and if knocked to the ground pretty much skitter away but you can mush them all b/c they don't fly and are not fast. would love to know if they are beneficial or not and what they are called. neem oil seems to make no difference.

Red bug with 6 black legs in garden
I have these exact same red bugs crawling on my crowder peas in the garden. I believe they are leaffooted plant bug nymphs (leptoglossus). I see five to ten all on one pea pod at a time. They try to hide on the other side of the pea pod when I rattle the leaves. I'd post my picture but don't know how.

Moved from Assassin Bugs.

Moved from ID Request.

assassin bug nymphs - don't squish!
They are beneficial predators of other insects. The adults are able to fly, but not the nymphs.

Generally, a fast-moving insect that runs around a lot is probably a predator, because it has to chase down its prey. Insects that feed on plants tend to be slower and more likely to stay in one place sucking or chewing on the plant.

I would have thought...
...nymphal Leaffooted Bugs.


oh, my bad
Not great with bug nymphs! A lot of those little red ones are ID'd as assassin bugs, but clearly I can't go just by that. I was mostly concerned w/ not squishing the critters - beneficial or not. (Assassin bugs do eat these, don't they?)

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