The wheel bug is in the family Reduviidae, which consists of assassin bugs. The species is one of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, reaching up to 1.5 inches (38 mm) in length in their adult stage. However, males are smaller in terms of their length and width when compared to females. A characteristic structure is the wheel-shaped pronotal armor. They are predators upon soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, Japanese beetles, the cabbage worm, orange dogs, tent caterpillars, and the Mexican bean beetle, all of which they pierce with their beak to inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue. Wheel bugs are most active in daylight, though they may engage in predatory behaviors at night in areas illuminated by lights. Because most of their prey are pests, wheel bugs are considered as beneficial to the garden as ladybugs.