Assassin bugs are among the rare beneficial bugs that can help in getting rid of unwanted pests, wasps, and bugs. But are assassin bugs dangerous for humans? Let’s find out.
Bugs and creepy crawlies are bothersome and wanted guests, but if it is the assassin bugs from the Reduviidae family, you can gladly welcome them to your garden.
Assassin bugs are predatory ectoparasites of the Hemiptera order, Heteroptera suborder, and Triatominae subfamily.
Among the 6,800 assassin bug species belonging to 25 different subfamilies, only 160 species exist in North America.
The friendly neighborhood bugs take on the great responsibility of destroying aphids, thrips, and other similar pests.
While most are not dangerous to humans, a few species of assassin bugs, like the Kissing Bugs, carry harmful parasites that can cause worry.
Do These Bugs Bite?
The bugs have a curved mouth resembling a dagger known as rostrum or proboscis that they use to bite caterpillars and leafhoppers easily.
The rostrum has three hollow segments. The assassin bug uses this to inject venom into its prey, causing paralysis.
Once neutralized, they feed voraciously on the prey by sucking the body fluids out. These bugs are known for stalking and attacking insects even twice their size with ease.
Are They Poisonous?
Assassin bugs are not poisonous and are practically harmless until they bite. They do not have any poison on their body that can affect other living organisms simply by touch.
They are known for feeding on the blood and fluid sucked from invertebrates and insects, and they use venom to do it.
Are They Venomous?
Yes, the assassin bugs are highly venomous insects. The Disulphide-rich peptide neurotoxin released by the assassin bugs is a potent liquifying agent that lets them feed easily using their proboscis.
Biochemical analysis of the venom has shown that it is composed of numerous complex components:
- Triabin-like protein,
- Putative nutrient-binding proteins, etc.
- Putative cytolytic toxins,
- S1 proteases,
- Odorant-binding protein,
- Catabolic enzymes,
Assassin bugs are quite venomous. Though they cannot cause death in humans or large animals, they are highly deadly to smaller insects.
What Happens if You Get Stung by an Assassin Bug?
The wheel bug is one of the most commonly seen types of assassin bugs. They are known for having very painful bites.
If you encounter this kind of bite, it is best to disinfect the site well and apply antiseptic cream.
The immediate reactions are localized swelling and intense pain for the initial few hours. You can use over-the-counter analgesics like Ibuprofen and Aspirin to temporarily reduce the pain and swelling.
Caladryl or any form of corticosteroids is also helpful in reducing localized trauma. People allergic to insect bites might have breathing issues and hives and may even suffer from anaphylactic shock. For such people, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.
How Painful Is an Assassin Bug Bite?
It is quite painful because of the venom that they inject into the skin, which kills the cells around the area of the bite.
Even though assassin bugs are beneficial insects, they are not a very welcoming predator. They swiftly respond to threats by biting.
Their venom is neurotoxic and liquefies the insides of their prey. This causes excruciating pain in the affected area, followed by a burning sensation, and you might also get a bump in the area.
The symptoms may remain for a few days before disappearing completely.
Are They Harmful to Humans?
While most assassin bugs are beneficial for the environment, a few specific species like the Conenose Bugs, better known as Kissing Bugs, are problematic. These bugs are bloodsuckers and are known to carry Chagas disease.
These bugs belong to the Triatominae family and are blood suckers and generally come out after dark hours to attack their prey.
Though they are similar to the commonly found wheel bugs, the signature crest is missing. They also have orange and black markings along the abdominal area.
Widely found all across the United States, they are predominant in the state of Texas. These bugs specifically attack the face and the lip region.
Their saliva has anesthetic properties, so the bite often goes undetected for up to half an hour.
The problem arises when the bugs defecate near the bite. Their feces contain the highly infectious Trypanosoma Cruzi parasite, which causes the Chagas disease.
As you scratch your face due to irritation caused by the bite, the feces penetrates the skin through the open wounds resulting in the disease.
Chagas disease, unfortunately, has no cure or vaccine. It can be potentially life-threatening and may cause heart or intestinal complications.
Can They Kill a Human?
Assassin bugs, specifically the kissing bugs, have affected over 8 million people in Central America by being carriers of the Chagas Disease. It occurs in two phases.
- Acute Phase – Immediately after the transmission, there are localized areas of swelling and pain that can be treated with antiparasitic drugs and resolved immediately.
- Chronic Phase – As the disease is left untreated, the parasites remain in the human body and continue to thrive. Though the parasites are not strong enough to kill a human, they weaken the immune system, which can cause health complications later.
The parasites can cause heart and other organ damage leading to fatal scenarios.
Where Do They Hide?
These bugs prefer moist and dark spaces like bushes, garden plants, and loose soil to thrive, copulate, lay eggs and grow.
Though they do not feed on the plant nutrients, the covers and shades give them the camouflage to stalk their prey undisturbed and attack without them knowing.
How Long Do They Live?
Assassin bugs are known to survive for up to 2 years in captivity but significantly less (6-10 months) in the wilderness.
The female bugs lay their eggs in clusters along the stems and leaves of a plant during the summer months.
The eggs hatch to reveal the hatchlings known as nymphs that closely resemble the adult bugs except for the absence of wings. They undergo molting seven times before they even acquire the wings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are assassin bugs in my house?
These bugs have an affinity toward the light, so they are often seen loitering around the floor and corners of our homes.
Assassin bugs are attracted to potential prey, so if your garden or yard has an aphid infestation or other bugs, they can come to your home.
How many people have assassin bugs killed?
The kissing bug is indirectly responsible for approximately 12,000 deaths in a year in various parts of Central America.
These bugs are carriers of a parasite that causes Chagas disease, a potentially fatal and incurable disease.
Do assassin bugs feed on humans?
Yes, a few specific variants of assassin bugs, like the kissing bug, feed on human blood. They spear human skin with their pincer-like mouthparts and then suck the blood out of our bodies. They are commonly found hiding in mattresses and bed linen in damp houses.
How long do assassin bug bites last?
The bug bites from assassin bugs can last anywhere between 7 to 10 days. There will be itching, rashes, and redness of the skin for a few days. You might also need to apply a good disinfectant and wash the wound regularly.
Know Which Bug Is Your True Friend Before Giving Them a Home!
The right assassin bugs will keep unwanted critters away, while the wrong ones can potentially make you sick. Keep an eye on the bugs to know if it is the right guest for your home and garden.
Thank you for reading!
Assassin bugs are some of the most feared critters in the insect world, and we have got these queries about them being dangerous many times over!
Read the emails below to get a sample of the kind of fear these bugs have been evoking forever.
Letter 1 – Corsair Assassin Bug: Dead after biting someone
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) 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. 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.
Letter 2 – Assassin Bug Nymph: Painful Bite
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 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.
Letter 3 – Assassin Bug and its painful bite
OUCH! 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 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. Daniel, 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.
Letter 4 – Assassin Bug bites boy in Australia
What is this? Location: Brisbane, QLD, Australia April 15, 2011 6:55 am My friend’s son got bit by this weird looking thing. It caused the boys hand to swell up and has left a brown spot like what a bee sting would leave. We’re curious as to what this is. If you could help us out that would be great. Thank you Signature: . Dear ., This is some species of Assassin Bug. There is an excellent website dedicated to the Insects of Brisbane, but your relatively drab looking Assassin Bug does not appear to be represented among the colorful Australian species that are pictured there. The Assassin Bug Biology page contains some very general information. Very few Assassin Bugs prey upon warm blooded creatures, and most limit their diets to other insects, however they are quite capable of inflicting a painful bite with their stabbing and sucking mouthparts if carelessly handled or if haplessly encountered. We do get a fair share of reports of people being bitten by Assassin Bugs, but the effects of the bite do not last very long, nor are they life threatening, however, they are often reported to be quite painful.
Letter 5 – Assassin Bug bites human in Costa Rica
Subject: stung by wasp Location: Atenas, Costa Rica (central valley) December 23, 2012 12:01 pm I think it’s some type of wasp anyway. This stung me on the ankle twice in rapid succession while I was in a hammock. Felt like a very bad wasp sting that initially burned for at least an hour, but it’s still swollen, red and painful after two days, and itches like hell. I’ve never seen this insect before in my 8 years in Costa Rica. Any idea? The color on the wings is black and yellow if the pictures don’t show that perfectly. I would say it was around 1 inch 1/2 to 2 inches long. Definitely not like any normal wasp I’ve ever seen. Signature: anonymous Dear anonymous, You were bitten by an Assassin Bug, not stung by a wasp. Many Assassin Bugs will bite if provoked or accidentally encountered, and though the bite is painful, its effects wear off in a few days. There is one group, known as the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs in the family Triatominae, that prey upon warm blooded hosts and they will bite humans. See BugGuide for examples of North American species. The subfamily is well represented in the tropics where they are considered dangerous as they can spread Chagas Disease. We do not believe that this Assassin Bug is one of the Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs. This Google site gives a list of the Chagas Disease carriers throughout the world. Wow, thank you very much for your detailed response. I will certainly take a look at these links and look further into Chagas. Be well and happy holidays.
Letter 6 – Assassin Bug Bites Nicole!!!
Subject: Can you help me identify this insect? Location: Fort Worth, TX January 31, 2013 12:54 am This bug bit me in my own bed and I was wondering if you could help me identify it. I couldn’t get a better picture because it was 5 a.m. and I used my phone to snap the shot before it got flushed. I didn’t think to save it and/or get a better shot. It was not all that big, maybe an inch or a little less in length. The under side and legs were green and it had brown overlapping wings. Some of my friends said it looked like a kissing bug but all the photos I found of those showed black or brown bugs and this one was green. It originally landed on my forehead and I grabbed it. It attached to my finger and I had to, basically, scrape it off with the side of my bed. After I turned on a light I ended up accidently laying on it with my leg and it bit and/or stung my inner thigh by my knee. The bit was VERY painful and it did swell but only around the ’wound’ and the swelling went away within 2-3 hours. I still have the red make where it bit me, though. I have noticed no other effects since it happened. Again, I apologize for the quality of the photographs. I wear contacts and had none in when the incident occurred, as well it landing on me in the dark, so I kind of freaked out and took the shots on my phone with shaking hands. Signature: Nicole Pierce Hi Nicole, This is an Assassin Bug in the genus Zelus. We understand the bite is quite painful, but it produces no lasting negative effects. Zelus Assassin Bugs bite folks with some degree of frequency if the letters we receive are any indication. Kissing Bugs are also Assassin Bugs, and they are one of the few groups of Assassin Bugs that do pose a threat to humans because they are known vectors for Chagas Disease.
Letter 7 – Assassin Bug bites toddler in Australia
Subject: oh my what is this? Location: Queensland Australia December 2, 2013 6:57 am My toddler was bitten/stung by this critter tonight, her hand swelled instantly and she cried out as it hurt her. Unsure of what it is we are keeping a close eye on her tonight. Its approx 2.5cm long and has 6 legs. Any info you can give would be terrific. Signature: ??? This is an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae, and it appears to be a nymph, possibly of the Common Assassin Bug, Pristhesancus plagipennis, that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website which indicates: “Notice its strong and long mouth part, also know as Rostrum, is used for punch into their prey’s body and suck their juice. They will give a very painful bite, so don’t touch them.” There is one genus of New World Assassin Bugs, Triatoma, known as Kissing Bugs or Blood Sucking Conenose Bugs. They readily bite humans and they are known to spread Chagas Disease in Central America, South America and the southernmost portions of the American Southwest, and to the best of our knowledge, they are the only Assassin Bugs known to be harmful to humans, however, as your toddler experienced, the bite of an Assassin Bug can be quite painful. There is tenderness and local swelling, but there should be no permanent harm due to the bite. Many insects bite if carelessly handled, but with certain Assassin Bugs, we frequently get reports of unprovoked bites.
Letter 8 – Assassin Bug Nymphs and Bite
Subject: Unknown bug Location: North Alabama December 5, 2013 9:35 am Hello, I found two of these bugs in my house, 11/2013, in north alabama. Our pest control company did not know what the bugs are. They sprayed and I have not seen anymore. Something bit me Sunday night on my finger (picture attached) while I was sleeping. It woke me up hurting and itching, I never saw what had bitten me. It does not hurt or itch now, but I still have the red blister that has a tiny small white spot in the middle of the blister. Please help if possible !!!! Thank you, Patty Signature: Patty Hi Patty, These are Assassin Bug nymphs, probably in the genus Zelus, and they might be responsible for the bite you received. Though painful, the bite is not considered dangerous. Thank you for the quick response. It is exactly what it was. I feel a little bit better, but i am still terrified. The two I found, I know are dead, but I never saw the one that bit me and am still not sleeping good. Is it possible that our house could get infested with these creatures? If possible how do we get rid of them? Thank you so much, Patty Sandy Hi again Patty, Assassin Bugs are outdoor creatures that do not infest homes. We are not sure why you have so many indoors.
Letter 9 – Assassin Bug bites Woman in Arkansas
Subject: Please identify Location: NW Arkansas, USA January 31, 2014 9:59 pm This bug has wings and a proboscis thingy that it “bit” me with. The bite didn’t itch, it stung and hurt. I’ve lived in several states and never seen it before. Signature: Thanks for your help, Amy Hi Amy, You were bitten by an Assassin Bug in the genus Zelus. While the bite is reported to be painful and the effects last several days, there will be no lasting harm to you. Assassin Bugs are important predators that occasionally find their way indoors.
Letter 10 – Assassin Bug and Bite Marks from Australia
Subject: Bug id Location: Sydney australia January 26, 2016 10:29 pm I was bitten/stung by this not long ago in Sydney and was wondering what it is and what issues that come with the bite if any hurt like hell at the time has settled not buy is still painful 20 mins later. As u can see in the photos 3 stings in a row across a short area Signature: Thanks Mark Dear Mark, This is an Assassin Bug and its aposomatic or warning coloration is appropriate. There is not enough detail in your image to make a definite species ID. This might be a Ground Assassin Bug, but a quick glance at Brisbane Insects reveals that there are many red and black Assassin Bugs in Australia. Your individual appears to be wingless, and it might be a wingless species or it might be an immature nymph. Some species of Assassin Bugs are more inclined to bite than others, and Assassin Bugs in the genus Triatoma, known as Kissing Bugs, feed on the blood of warm blooded creatures, including humans.
Letter 11 – Ground Assassin Bug bites girl in Australia
Subject: This has bitten my daughter. Is it a type of Assasian Bug? Location: Canberra, Australia December 5, 2016 11:45 pm Hello, thank you so much for your help in advance. This has just bitten my young daughter on her wrist. It’s left a red bite that has swollen into a huge welt very fast. She certainly screamed and screamed so it must have been very painful. I think it is a type of Assasian Bug but I’m not quite sure. If it is .. is that dangerous? Ive given her some bite cream to use and an antihistamine tablet. We live in Canberra, Australia. Thank you Signature: Fiona Crispin Dear Fiona, This is indeed a Ground Assassin Bug, Ectomocoris patricius, a species we identified on the Brisbane Insect website where it states: “We found those orange and black assassin bugs running very fast on forest floor. This bug will bite if handle by bare hand. The insect has very strong front pair legs. All its legs are orange in colour. Its orange colour body and black pattern are the standard assassin bug warning colours. ” This appears to be a wingless female.
Letter 12 – Assassin Bug bites man in Australia
Subject: Milkweed bug? Location: Roma, Queensland February 7, 2017 6:45 am Hi, im working in australia at the moment and this guy got into my boilersuit and bit my leg! The closest thing i could find on google was a large milkweed bug but it doesnt look exactly like the pictures, and google says they dont bite? Unfortunately my colleague stepped on him before i could take a picture of him and take him outside. I also seen a spider that one of the locals told me is a red back spider, but again it doesnt look like the pictures on google. Just curious as we dont have any of these guys back home and wouldnt want to tell people its the wrong bug! Signature: Jon Dear Jon, We feel confident that this is a male Ground Assassin Bug in the genus Ectomocoris, but the Brisbane Insect site only has images of wingless females and we only have images of wingless females in our archive. We located a thumbnail of a male Ground Assassin Bug on the Atlas of Living Australia, but we cannot find the page with the full sized image. We also located these images of mounted specimens on the Swedish Museum of Natural History. The Spider is NOT a Redback.
Letter 13 – Assassin Bug bites toddler
Subject: Assassin bug? Geographic location of the bug: Virginia Beach, VA Date: 11/06/2017 Time: 03:55 PM EDT My 17 month old grandson was bitten/stung by this bug on 11/5/17. He was taken to an urgent care facility, and was not treated for the bite. We’re guessing an assissan bug of some type.? The baby stepped on it barefoot in the living room. In your opinion, are there potentially any health issues we need to be concerned about? Thank you. How you want your letter signed: Worried Grandma Dear Worried Grandma, We are not medical professionals, but we can tell you that we agree with your assessment that this is an Assassin Bug, and more specifically it is an immature individual from the genus Zelus, a genus with members that bite readily in defense if they are threatened or carelessly handled, and unfortunately in the case of your grandson, that includes accidentally stepping on one. The bite is reported to be quite painful, and a mark might last for days or even longer, but in our opinion, there is no threat. This is NOT a Kissing Bug, a group of Assassin Bugs known to spread Chagas Disease.
Letter 14 – Assassin Bug bites person in Australia
Subject: What’s this bug Geographic location of the bug: Pilbara, West Australia Date: 02/11/2018 Time: 08:26 AM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Hi I got bitten on the neck by this bug today, It was quite painful for about an hour, can you please help identify it. How you want your letter signed: Bitten on the neck Dear Bitten on the neck, This is a predatory Assassin Bug. Though members of one group commonly called Kissing Bugs feed on mammalian blood and are known to bite humans, this is not one of those. Most Assassin Bugs feed on other insects, but some species will bite readily if provoked, handled carelessly, or accidentally encountered when they get trapped in clothing. Your individual looks exactly like one represented in a prior posting to our site, and that encounter also resulted in a bite.
Letter 15 – Assassin Bug Nymph bites woman in Australia
Subject: Is this an assasin bug? Geographic location of the bug: Meani NSW (2234) Date: 02/25/2018 Time: 08:00 AM EDT Your letter to the bugman: This bit my wife on the finger when she grabbed it accidentally, attempting to cut the flower. Had a sharp pain for the next few minutes, but it subsided. This is now about 30 hours later and the area is warm, and she feels numbness and tingling. Is this an assasin bug? does she need medical help? How you want your letter signed: Menai Resident Dear Menai Resident, This is indeed an immature Assassin Bug and it appears to be an immature Common Assassin Bug, Pristhesancus plagipennis, that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect site. While the bite of most Assassin Bugs will only produce a local reaction, individual reactions may differ due to allergies and other factors. We are not qualified to dispense medical advice, but considering the time that has elapsed, it might be wise to consider seeing a specialist.