What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug Identification
July 25, 2009
In our pool last night, our daughter was stung or bitten on the thumb by some type of bug that I couldn’t identify in our limited insect guide.
I took some closeup photos of the bug, top and bottom side. Can you possibly tell me what this bug is?
Sincerely, Phillip (*ed. note:  surname edited out August 8, 2009)
Seguin, Texas (South Central Texas near Austin and San Antonio)

Corsair Assassin Bug

Corsair Assassin Bug

Dear Phillip,
Edited on August 5, 2009:  We at What’s that Bug would like to use this encounter with the Corsair Assassin Bug as a cautionary tale that is instructive and might  reduce  “Unnecessary Carnage” of bugs that appear menacing in the future.
Often people kill insects out of fear or other reasons, and in the case of beneficial insects, we find this to be problematic.  In an attempt to educate our readership, we have an entire section that depicts creatures we feel have been killed unnecessarily.  Edited on August 5, 2009:  We are uncertain as to the exact cause of this Corsair Assassin Bug’s death. Yes, most Assassin Bugs can and will bite if provoked, but they are also beneficial predators that feed on many problematic insects in the garden.  If one finds an unknown insect or spider on one’s person, the best way to remove it is by blowing it off.  Swatting almost inevitably will end in a bite if the insect is capable of biting.  We must admit that we do swat Mosquitoes, but Mosquitoes bite to feed, and not as a defense.  Though the bite of most Assassin Bugs is painful, the only ones that are truly dangerous are the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs in the genus Triatoma, as they can spread Chagas Disease.  Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin writes of a member of the genus Rasahus: “This bug, like the Assassin, has a fearsome bite —  only more so.  People who have received a bite say it gives a sharp burning sensation, more acutely painful that a Honey Bee’s sting.  The bug normally uses its beak to suck the blood of other insects and bites humans only in self-defense.”  BugGuide indicates two members of the species living in Texas, Rasahus biguttatus and Rasahus hamatus, but we are uncertain which species you have submitted.

Corsair Assassin Bug

Corsair Assassin Bug

Ed. Note:  In an attempt to respond to Mr. Laird’s original letter, What’s That Bug? even took the time to send a second email after receiving the following request.
Sun, Jul 26, 2009 at 7:16 PM
Daniel,
I really appreciate your response to my recent insect submission.  I got a short message from earthlink.net that your message was blocked?  I am sorry for earthlink.net’s block message.  Would it be too much trouble to forward your response to the following email address?
actual email address removed
I apologize for any inconvenience.  I look forward to your response.
Sincerely,
Phillip (*ed. note:  surname edited out August 8, 2009)

Update
August 5, 2009
Dear Mr. Marlos,

First, let me thank you for helping to identify the Corsair Assassin Bug.

Next, I’d like to clear up your assumption. In your comments below, you published an unverified assumption “that we killed the Corsair Assassin Bug to identify it.”  This statement was published on your web site before you even discussed your assumption with us.  In your web site posting, you defamed, libeled, embarrassed and belittled my family and my minor daughter.  You referred to the death of the bug as “Unnecessary Carnage.”

I want you to understand that you have no clue as to the sequence of events that transpired and which led to our submitting a couple of photos of the Corsair Assassin Bug to your web site for possible identification or guidance.  So please read the sequence of events below.

1.  We swim at night frequently.

2.  We swim with as little light as possible to keep from attracting insects and bats. Yes, we have bats in our neighborhood.

3.  My nine-year old daughter was swimming at night when she was bitten by the Corsair Assassin Bug.

4.  Out of human reaction, she slapped at the bug to stop it from biting her because she could not see what it was in the dim light.  We do not have an outside light around our pool, just a small underwater pool light.  We have a large population of several kinds of wasps also.

5.  The bug was found on top of the water after our minor daughter began screaming and crying and the insect was placed in a vial so we could take a photograph of it.  None of my family purposely killed this bug so your unnecessary and defaming comments of ‘Unnecessary Carnage’ below is just totally untrue and publicly libels, defames and harms my family’s character.

6.  Out of curiosity, I wanted to find out more about this insect because my daughter and I are allergic to most wasp/hornet/bee stings and bites so I submitted the photos of the insect to your web site.

We didn’t kill this insect.  You have made libelous and defaming untrue statements both on your web site and to us in an email.

I am a pretty civil fellow.  I am going to ask that you remove any reference to us killing the insect to identify it because that is not a true statement and such a statement libels our family and harms our reputation through defamation of our character.  If you allow this untrue information to remain on your web site, I am going to contact our legal department and have them speak with you about this matter and if necessary, secure a court order to compel you to cease your defamation and libelous comments about our family, remove the libelous, untrue and defaming statements you published on your web site,we will pursue maximum monetary damages as allowed by the Texas law, and of course, to pay our legal fees and court costs.

Sincerely,

Phillip (ed. note:  surname edited out August 8, 2009), MBA, PMP

Retraction of Unnecessary Carnage allegation
Dear Phillip,
Thank you for the clarification.  We are untagging your letter and it will no longer be filed under Unnecessary Carnage.   Our original response included the statement which you find offensive:  “
Though we are uncertain the exact circumstances that resulted in this death, we are guessing it stems from the bite and the need to identify if this is a potentially harmful species.”  That was an opinion and was not presented as a fact.  We have now edited that statement to read Edited on August 5, 2009:  We are uncertain as to the exact cause of this Corsair Assassin Bug’s death. By your own admission, the insect was swatted because of the bite.  By your own admission, you did write to our website and solicited an identification which you did receive.   The reason this letter was originally tagged as Unnecessary Carnage is that it was hoped that informing you and the rest of the public that though the Corsair Assassin Bug will bite, it is not a species that should be killed unnecessarily and there was no malice intended toward you or your family.  In order to prove libel there must be four elements.  There must be publication which we did.  There must be identification which there was because you chose to sign your name when you wrote to us* and not because we sought out your real name to attach to the letter.  There must be defamation which you are claiming, though we question if our original response had any defamation.  Finally, there must be falsehood.  We have now edited our inaccurate guess and published your own explanation.  We hope that the steps we have taken to make the record right on this matter meet with your satisfaction.

*Ed. Note: August 8, 2009
In a sincere attempt to reduce any public humiliation that may result to Phillip and his family, we have edited the surname from the email correspondences that were freely submitted to our site by Phillip and not solicited by us in any way.  The surname was freely supplied to us when Phillip used the submission form on our website that requests “how you want your letter signed”.  We have not heard back from Phillip after posting our retraction.

Unnecessary Carnage Comment
August 9, 2009
RE: unnecessary carnage
I love your site, and visit it several times a day. Many thanks for posting such lovely images and so much information (you helped me ID a one-eyed Sphinx moth here in Seattle)! I also love the fact that you tell folks when they have committed an act of unnecessary carnage, but sadly, you have been very hesitant to do so lately… Please don’t let one or two unhinged people keep you from providing a vital service- letting humans know that insects are innocent until proven guilty!
Leah S.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

16 Responses to Corsair Assassin Bug: Dead after biting someone

  1. jt says:

    I just got bit by one of these bugs I was having a smoke when it attacked me I did nothing to provoke it. It died 10/13/2012 11:30 pm cause of death my size 12 foot rest in peace two spot assassin . I believe justice was served to this annoying little bug I can’t wait to see hundreds of them stuck to the front of my truck .

    • Tea says:

      Yeah I’m with this guy. These bugs ARE HIGHLY AGGRESSIVE. My husband & I have BOTH been bitten/stung multiple times over the last week by these bugs with no provocation on our part. Our only sin was stepping outside at night for a smoke. We do not have a garden this year, so these evil little bugs can just move along now.

      Ps. Hubs just got hired at a local pest control company. These guys are soon to be history at our house & I don’t feel sorry AT ALL. If you are ever unlucky enough to bitten by one, you will understand!

  2. sok says:

    Yeah.. last summer I was in bed with my 7 year old and 9 month old boys.. when I felt a terrible sharp pain to the side of my knee. Before I could jump out of bed to figure out what was going on I was bitten 3 times. I though i was being bitten by a horsefly. I was wearing long cotton pants. I grabbed at the area I was bitten and quickly pulled them off and threw them. I then picked them up and shook them out.. nothing. I frantically searched the bed for an insect; fearing one of my children being bitten. After finding nothing I turned my pants inside out to find this exact bug, I had NO idea what this thing was. I smashed him with a hammer. Then googled it and discovered the assassin bug. My knee was swollen and itchy for weeks. At one point it appeared as though I was developing cellulitus from the bites and required a round of antibiotics. This being stated, I fear this little bastard. Any one I run across is as good as dead. I say this with no shame. I have killed and will continue to kill as many as I possibly can to keep from this ever happening again.. I live in central Mississippi and this is the assassin bug we have here. Warm weather is just beginning this year.. not looking forward to the return of this bug. Red wasps are already bad.. and since we didnt have very cold winter I’m preparing for a bad insect season. I wonder if “Mr. Marlos” has been bitten by this bug?? I have a hard time seeing anyone being bitten with smashing this bug.

  3. sok says:

    ***I have a hard time seeing anyone being bitten refrain from smashing this bug

  4. drswanny says:

    Rasahus hamatus is the corsair depicted in these images.

  5. Heath says:

    This is definitely Rasahus hamatus and not biguttatus. R. Biguttatus has a different area colored orange on the front section than R. Hamatus.

  6. Aaron says:

    Ok we understand some insects should remain to maintain balance in the insect world. Last night July 11th 2015 my wife had one of these under her shirt on her abdomen. When she lifted her shirt to see what it was that was that wAs crawling.. It bit her so hard she started pacing and crying… It stung her twice.. And fell to the floor dead… She didn’t swat at it or stomp it… It simply fell n started twitching. So no “carnage” was done.. Lol there’s trillions of bugs .. Let’s show some respect for ppl..

  7. Karin says:

    This bug bit me too. One night I was watching TV with the lights off and when I moved to reach my glass it suddenly bit me twice in the arm. The bite was sharply painful. All my arm got numbed and my skin remained very sensitive for two days. When I turned the lights on I found the bug running seeking a place to hide. I had to kill it, I didn’t want it to bite me again. I took a pic and tried to find out what it was. Someone told me that it looked like a kissing bug , I got so freaking scared. But the pics of kissing bugs never completely convinced me. Im soooo glad to know that they are a different kind of bugs… And yet, I’m a bit skeptical, eventhough these bugs look like the one that bit me (Rasahus biguttatus), the funny thing is that I heard this insect squeak as it bit me. I wonder if someone has heard corsairs squeak… or if they’re anatomically capable of. I read they are somehow related to cicadas… I keep wondering.

  8. Sharon says:

    Necessary Carnage. I felt a sharp stabbing pain on the back of my knee. I thought I’d broken a blood vessel, until a saw a bug that looked just like the one pictured in the floor.
    It had left a whole in my leg, it but me through hosiery. The pain was intense.
    I stepped on it. Twice. squished it, well, like a bug. No regrets. I photographed its mutilated corpse and was grateful to find out pictured on your website, dead.
    I live in Corpus Christi, Texas.

  9. Kimberlilly says:

    After being bitten 3 times by the Corsair Assassin Bug, I’m happy to kill any I see at my home ..
    One flew into my nite gown , after I had been standing under the porch light .
    It stung the crap out of my breast twice , then went down my sleeve and stung my forearm .. I came out of my gown immediately , making such a commotion it woke up my boyfriend . We did not go back to bed until we found it , out of fear of being bite again . It was way worse than any wasp sting I’ve ever had .
    Ouch , it’s itchy and painful still, after 2 days . The pain doesn’t let up . It’s like a blood blister on my breast . I’m considering seeing a Doctor ..

  10. Launius says:

    I got bit by one of those little devils about an hour ago. I was trying to fall asleep with some headphones on, leaned back in my recliner. Honestly, I don’t know if I felt it on my face and swatted at it or if it bit me then I swatted at it, but good God that pain was intense for about a minute. Worse than having a broken bone, or being kicked in the head repeatedly, which I have adequate knowledge to draw on. 10 times worse than a wasp sting is no joke. And it bit me on an eyelid and on the hand. I reasoned to ruthlessly kill it before it could end up in bed with my kids. I still have a headache and a pain in my chest, lol. I’ll make sure I notify you all if I die…

  11. Lisa says:

    I’ve been stung. Just now. My a.c. is out. Fan in window. No screen on window….no problem, right? This bug came through the fan, but it has orange legs. Black and orange. I had turned off lights and all of a sudden I felt something on my finger. It began burning. It got worse and worse and felt like a wasp sting and I knocked something off my hand. It was unusual, it didn’t seem to fly away. I hurriedly turned on light and there was this bug sitting beside me on my bed. What is this? The closest thing I could find was a small candle. Trapped! Got it. Does it make noise? Yes. Like a Cow Ant. Squeaking noise. I feel ok now but it did hurt. Zd’saw

  12. Sandy says:

    I was just stung twice by this mean little shit, I was laying in bed, watching TV on my side and it landed on my back and stung me. I knocked it off in my bed and since I had no idea what kinda Bug had just dive bombed me and I wasn’t feeling the pain yet, I tryed to catch it so I could throw it outside and it stung me for the second time on the tip of my finger. Had to chase it down again bc it was going under my pillow. Picked it up with a towel and mashed its little head in. I figured it had it coming seeing as I now have a pain like I’m being stung over and over again and my finger now has a heart beat

  13. Kerry W. says:

    Ugh. I hate bugs. Kill them all.

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