What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: orange bug with black stripped legs
Location: spotsylvania virginia
December 31, 2012 10:52 am
Found on a window screen. Tried search but no luck.
Signature: barbara from virginia

Sycamore Assassin Bug

Hi Barbara,
This is a Sycamore Assassin Bug in the genus
Pselliopus and since it is the second individual from the US that we received in the past two days, we suspect there are other Sycamore Assassin Bugs showing up in the area.  The Sycamore Assassin Bug from Tennessee was found in the kitchen sink.  You didn’t clarify if your individual was on the inside looking out or the outside looking in.  According to BugGuide there are three eastern species and they look quite similar.  We don’t feel too confident trying to identify your Sycamore Assassin Bug to the species level.  BugGuide states:  “Adults hibernate under rocks, bark, sometimes in groups” and there is no mention of them trying to hibernate in homes, but through the years, we have gotten enough reports of them being found indoors in the winter that we can make that assumption.  Pselliopus barberi is found in Virginia and according to BugGuide, it “overwinter as adults.”  Another eastern species is   Pselliopus barberi and according to BugGuide, it is:  “Dull orange, marked with black and white, especially legs and antennae (1). Pselliopus cinctus and Pselliopus barberi appear to be the two widespread species in the eastern United States. Dull-orange adults from this area are likely (?) cinctus, and bright orange ones are likely (?) barberi. This guide is being written somewhat provisionally at the species level.”  Based on that information, we are guessing that your individual is most likely Pselliopus barberi.  BugGuide also indicates:  “Adults likely overwinter.”  Since it is the last day of the year and the month, it is time to select a Bug of the Month for January, and since we have had two sightings in two days of Sycamore Assassin Bugs, we have decided to feature your submission as Bug of the Month for January 2013.

Thank you! He was inside. Stinky when I had to squish hIm. No others sited (yet).

Thanks for the clarification Barbara.  This particular species of Assassin Bug did not pose a threat to you or your home, however, many Assassin Bugs deliver a painful bite if carelessly handled.  We cannot recall any incidents of folks writing to us about being bitten by a Sycamore Assassin Bug.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Virginia
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9 Responses to Bug of the Month January 2013: Sycamore Assassin Bug

  1. Jimette Raymond says:

    I was bitten or stung by something on this past Sunday.(I believe it was a sycamore assasin.) I was on my porch (Independence Missouri) I felt the bite/sting but did not see the insect. About a half hour after I was bitten my mother found an insect on the front screen door. I looked closely at it and later looked it up on the internet. It looked just like the pictures of the sycamore assasin.
    It was VERY painful for about 3-4 hours. Also had a burning feeling. The spot had a little red dot to start out, then it had a raised welt about the size of a nickle surrounding the red dot. Several minutes later it begain to get red outside of the raised welt. I put baking soda paste on it soon after the bite. Later I used amonia on it. I took an antihistamine tablet and something for pain.
    Overnight the sight began to itch, it was still hurting. It is about a 1-2 inch circle of red now.
    The bite area is now almost a u shape. It still burns, however not as much. The itching is continuing. I got some Campho-phenique to relieve the itching and I took 2 antihistamines also. Those treatments do not seem to be working to relieve the itching today.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your detailed account of the reaction of the bite of a Sycamore Assassin Bug. We imagine the effects of the bite differ from person to person. It is our understanding that though the bite is painful, it is not considered dangerous.

  2. Sharon Mitchell says:

    I was bite by one just today. I found this site trying to research what type of insect it was and making sure I wasn’t in for some serious pain later. I live in Houston, TX and had never seen one before. I had seen a similar red and black ones, but had no idea they bite! So I was a bit worried I had some evil poisonous variation out to get me. I don’t know how it got on my arm, but I felt a slight sting and swiped without looking thinking it was a mosquito which apparently aggravated it because it bit harder that got my attention. Second time it felt like a spider or fire ant bite, I have a tiny red dot where it bit and swelled to a small welt with redness about 2 inches across and was itchy at first. The redness went away less than an hour later and welt is mostly gone. So far I have no other pain and it’s not even itchy. I have put nothing on it at all. So the bite does affect people differently. If I get any adverse reactions later, I’ll be sure to update. :)

  3. Shawna L says:

    I’m in Katy, TX and got bit on the neck by a Sycamore Assassin Bug on Halloween. So painful! Now, a couple weeks later, I have a knot where the bug bit me.

  4. amber says:

    I read the following comments regarding sycamore assassin bug and I am a little annoyed at the automatic assumption that you were in fact bit by one of these which are not commonly known to bite. There are many insects all around us at all times. I walk outside and have four carpenter ants on my arm just as soon as I step out the door. However I have never been intentionally bitten or stung besides a bee a stepped on accidentally while walking barefoot and ticks, mosquito, etc. The sycamore assassin is my spirit bug. They are easy to handle, a good insect, and they look like adorable mimes. One just hitched a ride on my cats tail and I just relocated him back outside. I was not bit. My cat was not bit. There is no reason to kill any creature and that includes insects. They serve a purpose.

    • Sharon says:

      I was bitten by this bug, seeing it on my arm as it bite me harder. As far as I read, no one claimed the bug bit intentionally. Mine bit harder because I had swiped it, defending itself. For the other claims, I’m sure it had some reason or threat that we aren’t aware of. We are, however, all aware that bugs don’t intend us harm for no reason and no one said anything about killing them. I took a picture of mine and let it go. People are here to find knowledge and share their experience which includes the good and bad. With millions of people in the US, I think the few claims on this site are not detrimental to the Assasin bug’s reputation. While I appreciate your love for them and shared the good side of them, don’t downplay other’s experience as not knowing what bite them. I’m just saying even the good guys can have bad days.

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