Currently viewing the category: "Assassin Bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: red bug, white spots, black legs
Location: Houston, TX
April 14, 2014 8:57 pm
just sent a note – have to correct it. This was found on Jan 11, 2014 in Houston. And I didn’t upload all the shots
Signature: Tom Lawson

Immature Milkweed Assassin Bug

Immature Milkweed Assassin Bug

Hi Tom,
This is a beneficial, predatory Milkweed Assassin Bug nymph,
Zelus longipes, and it should be handled with caution as they are known to bite.  The bite is not considered dangerous, but it can be painful.

Milkweed Assassin Bug Nymph

Milkweed Assassin Bug Nymph

Thanks so much – I’ll be caredul!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you ID these and their nest
Location: Northern Texas
April 11, 2014 8:02 pm
I found some of these nymph stage bugs on my Live Oak tree last year and then this year i found several of their nests on my trees and house. The 1st picture is from this year, one up close to the eaves of my house on the bricks as they were hatching out. The 2nd picture is of them on my tree last year. I could not find anyone to ID them so sadly, I did spray them. The 3rd one is the bugs I collected off the tree after I sprayed them. (Sorry for that but I thought it would be better to err than have destructive bugs around. ) I just need to know what they are and if harmful or helpful. It looks like there are about 100 or so per nest. Hopefully the pictures are useful. If you use a viewer that can zoom in they looked good on my PC. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Dan in Texas

Wheel Bug Hatchlings

Wheel Bug Hatchlings

Dear Dan,
We hope our response this year prevents a similar carnage to that from last year.  These are beneficial, predatory Wheel Bug hatchlings, and they will help keep your trees and garden free of unwanted insect pests, eliminating the need to use pesticides.  Wheel Bugs are Assassin Bugs, and most are beneficial, and exception being the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs.  Some other Assassin Bugs are prone to biting humans, and though the bite is painful and may cause local swelling, it is not considered dangerous, again the exception being the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs.  We very rarely get reports of Wheel Bugs biting.  Adult Wheel Bugs are large, somewhat prehistoric looking creatures with a coglike “wheel” on the thorax. 

Wheel Bug Nymph Carnage

Wheel Bug Nymph Carnage

Daniel,
Thank you so much for the information and education.  I have seen a lot of the adult versions of these “armored wonders” around the house but never saw them in their early stages.  I must have found about 8 or 10 of these nests around, some already empty and I assure you now that I know what they are will not do them harm in the future.  I had contacted my agriculture agent about the adults I saw around and he informed me that they were beneficial insects but he could not identify the nest and nymph stages.
Thank you again for all your time and help.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this beetle poisonous?
Location: Southern California
April 6, 2014 11:01 am
Hi,
We found this bug in my daughters bed. For the past week, she has been waking up with horribly swollen and disfiguring bites that turn into oozing blisters within a few days. Any ideas what this is?
Signature: Thank you, Krishni

Western Conenose Bug

Western Conenose Bug

Dear Krishni,
This is not a beetle.  It is a species of Assassin Bug known as a Kissing Bug or Western Conenose Bug,
Triatoma protracta.  You can compare your individual to this image on BugGuide.  Though it is not a poisonous species, it is of some concern because they carry a pathogen known to cause Chagas Disease.  Chagas Disease is a much greater threat in the tropics than it is in the United States, but there is a possibility that your daughter might have contracted the protozoan that causes Chagas Disease.  According to BugGuide:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in many humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan. The most notorious vector is T. infestans, found in South America. The North American species are not normally thought to transmit the disease, though they can carry the parasite. (The North American species do not normally defecate at the site of the bite, which is what actually transmits the parasite–see Kissing bugs (Triatoma) and the skin [University of California eScholarship]. The CDC site says that rare vector-borne cases of Chagas disease have been noted in the so. US.”  You may want to contact the Center for Disease Control for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Attacked while watching TV
Location: Central Mississippi
April 3, 2014 8:37 pm
Dear Bugmen, This bug came out of nowhere and flew right down the leg of my shorts and gave me a decent sized sting (or bite?). It appears to have a stinger on its head, and it did put out a pretty foul smell. Its been a few minutes so i guess I’m not going to die but I’m sure curious what he was. Any ideas?
Signature: Bewildered in Mississippi

Black Corsair

Black Corsair

Dear Bewildered in Mississippi,
This Assassin Bug appears to be a Black Corsair,
Melanolestes picipes, and though they are not considered dangerous, the bite is reported to be quite painful.  You can compare your individual to this image posted to BugGuide.  It is noted on BugGuide that:  “Males seen in open in spring, presumably searching for females? During mating, spongy pads on legs are used by males to mount females. …  Males come to lights in summer.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Caution: reported to sometimes bite humans (when handled).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird bug in Maine
Location: Northeastern USA,Maine
March 29, 2014 9:15 pm
Hi bugman. We just got our first semi nice day here in Maine and all the birds and bugs are coming out,quite beautiful. But,we had some clothes out on the clothesline and we shook them out good then we saw this bug tonight. Not sure if its from outside from the clothes or from our basement? Our neighbor just did get back from Florida,too. It has my mother freaked! lol
Signature: Jacob from Maine

Masked Hunter

Masked Hunter

Hi Jacob,
It is quite apparent from your images that this Masked Hunter met with an untimely end, perhaps at the hand of your “freaked” mother.  The Masked Hunter is a local species for you, and it is a species that has adapted to living in close proximity to humans.  Masked Hunters are predators that when they are immature, like your individual, have a sticky surface that attracts dust and debris, effectively masking them, effective camouflage in their environment.  Masked Hunters feed on Bed Bugs and other undesirable creatures in the home, so they are beneficial, though they might bite if carelessly handled.  We would urge you to be more tolerant if you encounter additional Masked Hunters in the future, and we are tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Insect found in house
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
March 26, 2014 7:44 pm
I have never seen an insect such as this before. It is very lethargic so I had no trouble capturing it. It is about a centimetre from nose to end of body. The body seems to be slightly concave when viewed from the side or the top. It cannot climb glass.
Signature: Xerli

Masked Hunter Unmasked

Masked Hunter Unmasked

Dear Xerli,
This is an immature, predatory Assassin Bug that is commonly called a Masked Hunter because the nymphs are sticky and they attract all manner of debris to their bodies, effectively masking them.  Your individual must be newly molted as it has not yet masked itself.  Here is a matching image from BugGuide to support our identification.

Hi Daniel, thanks for the info. I did notice that there is dust stuck to the body, but not a lot. How do they survive a Canadian winter, especially one like we have had in Winnipeg, Manitoba this year? Is this type very common here? I ask because I have not seen one before.
Regards,
Xerli

Hi Xerli,
Most of our reports of Masked Hunters come from homes, not the outdoors, so we can presume that they have adapted to cohabitation with humans.  We suspect that it might have been introduced to your home from some purchase or by hitch-hiking with a visitor.

Hi again, just answered all my own questions! Found the Bug Eric site http://bugeric.blogspot.ca/2013/01/true-bug-tuesday-masked-hunter.html
Xerli

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination