Location: Hillsborough, California
January 31, 2011 12:30 am
I put on a pair of rubber gloves sitting next to the laundry room sink to wash my dog. I thought I was having a ”charlie horse” on my hand (is that even possible?) and then it felt like someone was pushing a needle in my hand. I realized I was being bitten. I threw off the gloves and shook out the contents and this is what fell out? Can you please identify this creepy looking bug ?????? Is is at all dangerous???? I guess it’s not deadly since it happened on Friday (January 28, 2011) and I am still alive on Sunday. Will you inform me if you can identify it or do I have to keep checking the website? Thank you!!!!!
Signature: M. Better

Assassin Bug

Dear M. Better,
This is an Assassin Bug, most likely in the genus Zelus.  They are beneficial predators, however, they have been known to bite humans, and as you indicate, the bite is quite painful.  Most of our reports of bites result after accidental encounters like your own, or through careless handling.  The insect bites with its piercing mouthparts that are used to suck fluids from the hapless insect and arthropod prey.  Though painful, the bite is not considered dangerous.

Bite mark of an Assassin Bug

Thanks for the quick response!   I looked up the Assassin Bug, genus Zelus, on your website and saw a bug that was similar but didn’t have that dreadful looking hook of a mouth.  Does that particular insect have a “hook” mouth?  Is the “hook” the part that penetrates it’s victims?  Is the insect able to point the hook straight forward to penetrate or is it always in the hook position?  Thanks!
M. Better

Hi again,
All Assassin Bugs have similar mouthparts.  There is some degree of mobility in the organ.

Location: California

19 Responses to Assassin Bug and its painful bite

  1. drswanny says:

    This assassin bug is Zelus renardii.

  2. Jeff says:

    I just got one a few seconds ago and it stings like crap

    the bug that stung me was a green one

  3. Christy says:

    Does not say what to put on the bite

  4. Chris says:

    I thought it injected a saliva that liquefies your insides? Are humans just too big for it too take much effect?

  5. Josh says:

    I got bit what do I do

  6. Gary says:

    I had one of these to bite me yesterday. Man it hurt!

  7. Courtney says:

    I think that i got bit by this insect a month ago and i still have the insect and the wound still hurt and hardened and comes to a head and i opened it and it drained but that was two weeks ago and now the wound is hard and come back to a head and still very painful I still have the insect and looks similar to the assassin bug but my wound still hurts and It has been over a month could someone shed some light as to what this insect may be i live in alabama and the bug has a black body red butt and when it stung me it fellt as if i were getting a hit with a dull tattoo needle still have a hole in my leg and still have the insects also

  8. Bonnie says:

    What kind of bug bit me last night? He’s black about the size of a dime, very long skinny body, very long antennas, biting jaws, long spider looking legs about six of them with sacs on the ends of them. I have a photo of him, he’s a dead bug now, but don’t know how to attach a photo here. My arm swelled and turned red about the size of my hand. The swelling is down this morning but it is still red and my lips and face are swollen.

  9. Brady says:

    Might want to see a doctor as certain assassin bugs transmit Chagas diseas, which there is no cure for if left to proceed to the second stage of infection!

  10. jodi says:

    what if my dog is bitten by the assassin bug?

  11. D whelan says:

    Australian tea tree oil turns the bite straight off .It also works on wasp stings . I have recently been bitten by an assassin bug as it was in a shirt that i had just put on fresh out of my shirt draw . It bit me 4 times and as soon as i put tea tree oil on it it stopped straight away . I have also been bitten by one of Australias worst wasps and it also turned the bite straight off.
    This works

    • Bonnie says:

      Thanks so much. They hover around my back storm door, so I will keep this in mind if there is a next time. I do have some tea tree oil.

  12. LeAnn says:

    I found two of the yellow/green assassin bugs in my house in one week. Should I be worried? I have two small dogs and am worried that they will get bitten or one of my family. I wouldn’t worry if there was only one but I almost put my hand on one as it was walking across my laptop but my daughter saw it and stopped me before I put my hands directly on it.

    Is there any way to check for infestation? What do I do if there is an infestation?

  13. bella says:

    are they in north carolina

  14. Terry Batson says:

    I was bitten by the wheel bug in 2008. It bit me over my appendix but when it bit me my whole right side went numb. a couple of months later my appendix had to come out because they were highly inflamed. Since then my body is full of inflammation and have multiple surges for lymph node removal in my neck because the get so big and need to come out. No doctor seems to know why this is happening but no one wants to talk about this bug bite.

  15. Lydia Karoum says:

    I didn’t see the bug that got under my sock. It felt as though someone injected a needle, about half an inch into the top of my foot where it meets the ankle. That was three days ago. The skin is not raised but there are two pin pricks. Symptoms are: stinging pain, swelling, redness and itch. What could it be and what can I do. No systemic reaction.

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