Insects are not always easy to identify.
Take this cute little guy. Is it a beetle or is it a bug?
Because it has a shield shape in the middle of the back and a beak (the mouthparts you see tucked under the head), it’s a shield bug (also called stink bug).
Now comes the hard part. Some shield bugs, like harlequin bugs for example, feed on plants. Some are predatory and feed on soft-bodied insects like caterpillars. How do you tell which is which? A rough rule of thumb is if the beak is thicker than the bug’s antennae, then it is a predator. If the beak is about the same thickness as the antennae, then it is a plant feeder.
This little guy is a predatory kind in the genus Perillus. Best to let it go about its business.
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