Currently viewing the category: "Assassin Bugs"

Greetings from Texas, Mr. Bugman!
I have recently found a colony of pretty little insects in my garden, but I don’t know what they are. They have the body that reminds me of a mantis without the bobbley head. The 3/4″ slender body is bright red with tiny white spots, and the legs and antennae are black. Hopefully these graceful looking little creatures won’t be harmful to my flower garden.
–De Smith
New Braunfels, TX

Dear De Smith,
My first inclination was to say you might have Assassin Bugs, probably nymphs. I cannot give an exact species. We just got a photo of a young assasin bug that fits your description rather accurately. Here it is. these are beneficial. They are predators that will eat harmful insects.

Yes!! That’s what we have in our garden. Thanks so much for your research!

I found your site today and I really enjoyed it. Reading about many of the "lil critters" reminded me of something i saw on a show on tv once. Now, first off, i saw this a long time ago, and do not remember the story exactly, but i think i can give a fairly good idea of what i saw.This program was telling the story of a couple who was having some sort of problem, with the wife waking up, in near convulsions, and requiring several hospitalizations. The story ended up saying that it was traced back to an insect. I do not remember the actual name, but i believe they called them kissing bugs, and i "think" the area it happened in was Washington state, but i am not sure. They said something to the effect that the bugs would crawl out at night, and go up on their bed. Then they for some reason either bit/left a toxic substance on the woman, who had major reactions to it. I am curious if you have any idea if this was actually a possibly true occurrence, or if this was simply made-up hype that i am poorly remembering.
BTW, very nice site. excellent info, and nice, easy to navigate site layout. Keep up the good work!
frank in oklahoma.
P.S. I enjoyed reading some of the references to our lovely little oklahoma scorpions and centipedes.The scorpions here are not really that bad, mostly small, 2-5 inch (tail included) tan or dark ones. Stings are somewhat painful, roughly like being stuck with a needle. The centipedes are abit worse though, as I have had painful encounters with both sets of critters 🙂 One thing I learned a year or two ago that you might find interesting. Scorpions actually have 2 venoms, or at least some species do. It is based on a salt molecule. One is for defense and one is for killing. the defense one, is actually the more painful of the two, and is used more commonly, as the killing venom is more "taxing" for the scorpion to produce. I’ll see if i can find the link to the report i saw this info in.found one link, i have a better one, but will have to look around to find it.

Hi Frank,
Thank you for the nice letter. The story about the Kissing Bugs is true. They are true bugs and members of the Assassin Bug family Reduviidae. In Los Angeles we have a species called the Western Cone-Nose Bug, Triatoma protracta. According to Hogue, our favorite expert, "The Western Cone-nose Bug can be readily recognized by its medium size (5/8 to 3/4 in. long) and solid blackish or dark brown color. The abdomen has flared sides and is compressed in the center. This bug has a bad reputation, rightfully earned. It belongs to a group of bugs called Kissing Bugs (from their habit of biting sleeping persons about the lips; they are also known as Bellows Bugs, Walpai Tigers (in Arizona), Cross Bugs, Big Bedbugs, China Bedbugs, or Sacred Bugs). The normal food of kissing bugs is the blood of vertebrate animals, including humans: among the many species in the American tropics are some that act as vectors of Chagas’ Disease, a serious malady caused by a trypanosome protozoan similar to that which causes African Sleeping Sickness. … The bug’s saliva contains substances foreign to the human system and capable of causing a serious allergic reaction. The symptoms range from simple itching, severe swelling, joint pain, nausea, chills, and dizziness to anaphylactic shock. Persons exhibiting severe allergic symptoms after a bite by one of these bugs are advised to consult a physician immediately and also to capture the bug and keep it alive for diagnosis. It should be emphasized, however, that the bug’s bite causes little or no reaction in most individuals; like the sting of the Honey Bee, it is not to be unduly feared except by a few especially sensitive individuals."

My Son found this bug in the back yard. It kind of looks like the Coreid Bug or Leaf Footed Bug shown on your web page, but it has an arched back. We seen it on October 11 and we live in South Central Pennsylvania.

You are close. It is a true bug, but not a leaf footed bug. You have found a Wheel Bug, Arilus cristatus, a member of the Assassin bug family Reduviidae. These are predators that eat other insects, sucking them dry. Some species are able to bite humans with their piercing/sucking mouthparts. Many species will inflict a painful bite if carelessly handled. The Wheel Bug gets its name from the semi-circular crest that terminates in spurs and resembles a cogwheel. The species is fairly common.

Found in bathroom and bedroom
My fiance found these while I was at work… And saved them to show me..but I have no idea what they are.. The body is about .50" Picture is taken through a drinking glass. Help us identify this bug. Looks like some kind of overgrown dust mite.

It isn’t a dust mite, but rather a Hemipteran or True Bug. It appears to be a Masked Hunter, Reduvius personatus which according to Borror and DeLong in An Introduction to the Study of Insects, is a brownish black bug that is often found in houses; it feeds on bed bugs but will also bite man. It has a habit of accumulating lint on its head, and thus becomes masked."

i found this bug outside my home in rural NC a few weeks ago. What is this bug?

Dear Samantha,
It looks like a type of Assassin Bug, but I can’t tell you the exact species.

Any Insectologists out there? Anybody have a clue as to what kind of insect this is? I found it just now on my screen door.

Dear Fred,
Looks like a hemipteran (true bug) of some type, maybe an assassin bug. I have inquiries out to some experts. I will get back to you. Your photo is amazing.