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Got bit/ stung today by this mystery bug?
Location: south carolina
November 24, 2010 10:54 pm
Hi, I was getting in the holliday spirit by starting to make a cake this evening. I got my oven mit and threw it on and felt a sting which hurt all over my forearm!! When I looked, this little bug, no bigger than a half and inch was perched on the end of the oven mit. I have no idea what it was, but it has a powerful sting!!! I squeezed the spot trying to extract poison/stinger. The skin is soooo tender to the touch. Can you please help me figure out what it is? I have been researching for hours trying to find out. Thank you so very much! Happy Hollidays
Signature: Shanon Villegas

Assassin Bug Nymph

Hi Shanon,
You were bitten by an immature Assassin Bug, probably a nymph of a member of the genus
Zelus.  We have gotten a fair number of reports on the pain associated with the bite being much greater than would be expected by the size of the insects.  Though the bite is painful, we have not heard of any lasting effects or negative allergic reactions.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: South Carolina

40 Responses to Assassin Bug Nymph: Painful Bite

  1. drswanny says:

    Agreed, appears to be a nymph of Zelus, based on the rostrum. Could be Z. cervicalis or Z. tetracanthus but I doubt Z. luridus because of the color (although this may not be a fair criterion).

  2. Gene Healy says:

    Found an Assassin nymph on my car today, after it ha d killed a small black spider. Looked interesting so I put it in a baggie to look at later with my grandson. After reading about the painful sting I’ve decided it belongs back outside. Gaithersburg, MD

  3. Meghan Marriott says:

    I have seen the adults in my yard several times. Most of my close encounters have been while trimming branches on bushes and trees. I have, luckily, never been bit. As long as they eat the mosquitoes and not me, I’m good. But we have seen more this summer than usual.
    Yesterday, we found a little green nymph sitting on the bookshelf in our den. I am glad I got to it before my 4 year old. Especially since I didn’t know then what he was going to grow up to be. He lived in our bug jar for a few hours and then was reunited with the great big outside world.
    South Carolina

    • bugman says:

      Assassin Bugs will most likely not be preying upon mosquitoes, but rather upon crawling insects that are found feeding upon plants.

  4. Tami T says:

    One of these was on my leg today in my yard. I got it off fast! I live in Ormond Beach Florida.

  5. Daniel says:

    I’ve now found 3 of these in my house. They mainly keep to themselves and don’t move, however I’m not trying to feel that nasty bite/sting. Does anyone know how to prevent them from lingering inside my home?

  6. Gus says:

    I have been bitten by these on two separate occasions. Very painful, small bite site and swelling. From different ID sources it appears to have been Z. tetracanthus. This is in Roseburg, Oregon.

  7. Frankie Davis says:

    I was sung by one of them about 25 years ago and it truly was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. I am prison a very unusual case because in a matter of minutes I was having trouble breathing and had to get an eppie injection as well as a whopping dose of benedryl. I feel my reaction was due to the fact that I have similar reactions to other singing insects like bees.

  8. Nate says:

    Just got bit by one identical to the picture above today. HURTS worse than any of the numerous wasp or bee stings Ive had. It was stuck in my shoe and kept biting till I could get it off. Ill take a bee sting any day over that. Lancaster County PA

  9. Beth says:

    Aren’t these bugs associated with Chagas’ disease.?

  10. Chrsttopher says:

    I had 4 of these jerks on my after I was done cutting grass. One bit the crap out of me on my drive home and the other 3 I managed to get off

  11. Cora says:

    There is a group of about 12-15 of these little dudes on the outside of my window screen this morning. Should I do anything about them?

  12. JennyL says:

    I was bit by one of these Sunday night, the tenth. The sting was extremely painful to the point it had me, a 38 year old woman, crying like a toddler. It did swell up some that night, but not much. the pain abated after about an hour and a half. Now, two days later, I have a sausage where my finger used to be. It is swollen, pink and hot to the touch, very itchy and uncomfortable. I have taken Benadryl and put some cortisone cream on it with no effect. Also my skin is peeling almost like a chemical burn. Anyone else have these symptoms?
    I also should probably mention I live in Central Texas and this sucker landed in my hair inside my house.

  13. Shirley says:

    I am convinced that what bit me while trimming shoots off of a tree was one of these assassin-type bugs…because it was/has been the most painful & different kind of bite I’ve ever had…even after being stung by a host’s of hornets when I walked into a hornet nest as a young teenager. I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 30 yrs & when the bite was paining me so badly, I rushed myself to the hospital e.r. 5 min. away. Long story short, I the doctor removed a stinger that was 1/8″ long & black, gave me benadryl, steroid shot, & 10 days of antibiotics. That happened Thurs. evening & it’s Tues. now…it still has a 2″ red circle that is like a raised knot..still itches. The Dr. wasn’t sure what kind of critter would have a stinger that size & color. Could u please enlighten me with any expertise? Email me of any ideas please.

  14. Erik says:

    Yes, assassin bugs! The nymphs, probably because of their inexperience or something, are far more aggressive than the adults. Literally just found a nymph sucking blood on my dog’s ear, thought it was a cicada at first, so when I picked it up, that proboscis came out and I dropped that thing like it was on fire! Lol. Bite isn’t all that painful though, imagine how many times you’ve been assassin bug food while sleeping and never woke up with pain. More just creepy not pleasant to think of it sticking your blood out with that crazy syringe/ straw of a proboscis

  15. Sherri kasperek says:

    I live in mi Higan and my son was bit by I think a assassin bug on the neck he was playing in the leaves and came in a d started crying in pain and there was a green colored bug on his neck. It looked like some sort of grass hopper but after looking on line we think it was a assassin bug. It left a mark and it swelled immediately we put ice on it gave him benadryl and advil. He cried for awhile and kept saying that it still hurt very bad. Are these bugs in Michigan? It was a light green color ?

  16. Richard says:

    Assassin Bugs are in Michigan and almost any where in North America except the Southwest. They do have venom, but it is not deadly to humans. I found two in the front yard. One of them I fed to my friend’s lizard. The other met his day also as I put him in alcohol and then on a slide under the microscope. I see why the bite is so painful. The mandibles are very sharp indeed. I do not want to get bit by this thing.

  17. Michele says:

    I live in Ontario Canada and was bit by a baby assassin bug and yes it hurt worse than a bee or hornet as I’ve been stung numerous times in the past. Had swelling and it’s more of a burning tingle as well as hot and spreads fast around the area bitten. Waking up this morning the area was still swollen a smidge and you can see were it entered the skin as it has a blood pocketwere the bite happened. Just a heads up to be careful if you come across these little buggers. They hurt! And this is coming from a 34 yr old woman. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like for a child.

  18. Rene Dodd says:

    I was just sting by one of these about 2 hours ago. Within 15 minutes, i jumped in my car and went to the er. I had an allergic reaction to this assassin bug. I’ve never seen one before, on my life. That bite is very painful. I was bit on the top of my foot. Apparently it was on my flip flop. The pain shot up my leg, just above the knee. I became short of breath, started shaking uncontrollably, sweating and by the time I got to the er, 7 minutes away, my lips were swelling and my node was running. 2 shots, a topical cream and benadryl every 6 hours, for 48 hours. This tiny bug packs a powerful punch.
    By the way, I’m in DFW, Texas.

  19. Valerie says:

    I was bit by a dark green colored assassin beetle in 2006 about 30 min from Topeka Kansas. It bit me on the wrist while I was sleeping. I woke me up. I smacked it and killed it. It left goo on my wrist. My wrist swelled up. 48 hours later I came down with flu like symptoms. I just figured I caught something on the airplane. I didn’t realize it was going to be a life sentence. I just thought it was a bug bite and it would go away. I never put the swelling and the flu symptoms together. Being raised in So. Cal, why would I. Tested negative for Chagus, tested positive for Lyme. Its been awful. These bugs bite deer, and then they bite you. You get bit by anything and it swells up, go to the doctors immediately. I wish I would have. I didn’t know. Ignorance almost killed me.

    • bugman says:

      We have not before heard that Lyme Disease is carried by Assassin Bugs. To the best of our knowledge, Ticks are the vectors for Lyme Disease.

  20. Seleste Retiz says:

    Hi, I am from Dallas Texas and I have been bit by one of these bugs just yesterday. I’m freaking out because I don’t want to get sick from this bug ! The bite itself hurt but I squeezed out whatever liquid came out and it’s just been a red dot with no swelling. I’ve felt from time to time nauseous but nothing extreme. I’ve also been having headaches and felt like passing out once today, either it’s being caused by this bug or sleep deprivation. Please, someone tell me what could possibly happen and if I should be worried. Thanks.

    • bugman says:

      We are not qualified to give medical advice, but to the best of our knowledge, a bite from most Assassin Bugs will only result in local sensitivity and possibly swelling.

  21. Rene Dodd says:

    Seleste, I did not have any issues, other than the allergic reaction. My bite was on 1-14-18. My red mark from the bite just disappeared 3 days ago.

    • GrumpyKitten7 says:

      I was bit by an assassin bug, pretty sure a nymph, on Friday May 25. Its a week later and I still have the itchy red welt. My boyfriend and I were removing a piece of gutter from our house to collect rain water for our garden. We see the eggs all the time and never do anything about it because we know they are there to protect our garden from the herbivore bugs. Well, he got bit twice and I got bit 3 times! I am sorry you were bitten also, but hearing it took a month of so to clear the red mark gives me a little relief. I was getting worried. I am treating them with a steroid cream also.

  22. Marlene says:

    Was doing some replanting and got one on my arm bloody hell, what a sting. Dead now, of course, but I have never seen one before. Vancouver Island Canada…I take it they’re on the move.

  23. Jessica R. says:

    I got a bite from one of these two days ago. It hurt pretty bad, but the initial swelling went down in an hour or so, and then it was just a red dot. I thought that was it, but today (2 days later) I am having swelling, redness, and it’s hot to the touch. These comments have made me feel a little better that it’s not serious, but it’s a little scary!

    • bugman says:

      Individual person’s reactions to bites will vary with sensitivity.

      • Jessica R. says:

        Yes for sure. And I’m happy to report that today (one day after it got hot and red) the swelling/hotness/itchiness is much less. So going in the right direction! I wanted to post my progress in case anyone else is having a delayed reaction and worried about it!

  24. Allie says:

    My 4 year old was just laying on the couch and started SCREAMING and clutching her neck. I found the dead little asshole on the couch next to her, it looks just like this but the legs are black and the body is bright orange. Same bug?? She seems okay now but I’m super paranoid… I keep checking on her in her sleep. ? I feel awful if the pain is as bad as you guys say!!!

  25. Li says:

    I was just laying in my bed reading when I felt a hot poker like sting I flipped on the light to find a lil green assassin bug, of which I was not familiar until I researched this resulting painful sting. I t has been30 minutes , swelling just under the skin kind of like a chicken pox lesion. No pain beyond a few seconds. I didn’t get to kill him because I just flicked in the floor. Couldn’t find him. Going to search for him. I don’t want another painful experience tonight.

  26. Helen Blake says:

    Woke up at 3:20am. Got bit, before I could get light on I got bit second time. Both bites about an inch apart on my upper right arm. The next day my arm felt like I had gotten two tetanus shots and hit in the arm with a sledge hammer. It has been 5 days now. my arm has two purple circles about the size of a quarter and still swollen around that. Still hurts some, and now itches some. I will take a wasp sting any day of the week.!!! Wish I could upload pictures from the time it got me to now. Took pictures of the bug too. (I am allergic to hornets, so not surprised I reacted so strong, but this is crazy)

  27. Megan says:

    Just got bit by a Zelus Assassin bug on my belly and I am 6 months pregnant. Given that it’s not a big deal, I’m hoping that’s still the case even being pregnant. The bite hurt worse than ANY sting I’ve ever had. I was in bed and rolled over on what I thought was legit a needle/shot. When I looked I saw it and researched it. When I went to kill it, it went into a defensive stance and I smashed it. Really REALLY painful. This was 30 minutes ago and so far nothing affecting me otherwise.

  28. Rene Dodd says:

    The pain will ease. As they are not poisonous, just keep an eye out for an allergic reaction. I personally don’t think it will effect thr baby, however if consult your ob just to make sure.

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