Currently viewing the category: "Assassin Bugs"

Subject:  Type of assassin bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northern Los Angeles County/Antelope Valley
Date: 08/30/2021
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help ID this bug. I’ve been having welts and now an allergic reaction, and I found this bug in my sheets this morning. Need to know if it’s a kissing bug or masked hunter…or other assassin bug. I collected the bug if you need more pics I can provide them. Please help. Scared about Chagas’ disease. Thanks
How you want your letter signed:  JRN

Western Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug

Dear JRN,
The bad news is that this is a Western Blood-Sucking Conenose Bug which is pictured on BugGuide.  The more comforting news is that this is a North American species, and according to BugGuide:  “Bite can cause severe allergic reaction in humans. Bite and defecation into bite can transmit Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan
Trypanosoma cruzi. The North American species can carry the parasite but they do not normally defecate at the site of bite, and thus rarely transmit the disease (Vetter 2001). Rare vector-borne cases of Chagas occur in the so. US (CDC 2013).”

Thank you! This is comforting :).  I appreciate your time and expertise.
Have a great day!

Subject:  Stumped
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwest Mtns of VA near Charlottesville
Date: 08/25/2021
Time: 08:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you help us ID this beautiful bug? We found it on our porch today—a hot and humid August morning in the Southwest Mountains of Virginia. The bug was about 1.5″ long.
How you want your letter signed:  Amber

Bark Assassin Bug

Dear Amber,
In searching for links to identify your Assassin Bug, we stumbles upon Beetles in the Bush where it is identified as:  “what must be North America’s most beautiful assassin bug, 
Microtomus purcis.”  The site also states:  “Sometimes called the “bark assassin bug”, this species is not quite as large as the better known “wheel bug” (Arilus cristatus) but makes up this by its spectacular coloration—black with the base of the wings prominently marked creamy-white and parts of the abdomen and hind legs bright red. One would think such a conspicuously  marked assassin bug with a bite powerfully painful enough to back up its apparent warning coloration could brazenly venture out during the day with little to fear. To the contrary, this species seems best known for its habit of hiding under bark during the day and venturing out only at night, during which time it is sometimes attracted to lights (Slater & Baranowski 1978, Eaton & Kaufman 2007). A majority of BugGuide photos of the species also mention finding them under bark or apparently attracted to lights.¹”


Subject:  Bugs on mint flowers
Geographic location of the bug:  Cheney/Four Lakes WA
Date: 08/11/2021
Time: 10:59 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I get lots of interesting pollinators on my mint plants, but these are ones I’ve never seen before, and wonder if you know what they are? Smaller ones we black/dark brown and yellow, the were some busy couples too. Females were much larger and were lighter colors… One was almost turquoise and beige. Thanks for any light you can shed!
How you want your letter signed:  Jeannie

Ambush Bug

Dear Jeannie,
This is an Ambush Bug, a member of a subfamily of predatory Assassin Bugs.  Ambush Bugs are quite well camouflaged on greenish to yellow flowers including Goldenrod, and they often wait on blossoms for pollinating insects to ambush and prey upon.  We hope you continue to allow them on your mint despite the bees, butterflies, pollinating flies and wasps that they prey upon.

Ambush Bug

Subject:  orange bug
Geographic location of the bug:  apollo pa 15613
Date: 08/13/2021
Time: 09:33 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  I’ve searched and very curious about this fellow.  Beautiful orange color
How you want your letter signed:  Joyce P

Recently Metamorphosed Wheel Bug

Dear Joyce,
This is an adult, but freshly metamorphosed Wheel Bug.  When its exoskeleton hardens, this Wheel Bug’s color will be dark gray.

Got it!!! There was a dark grey one next to it.  Thanks so much!
Joyce Perrone

Subject:  Never thought I’d see a predatory stick bug…
Geographic location of the bug:  Bergen, New York
Date: 08/07/2021
Time: 02:12 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw these guys on my tent. One actively eating a bug and the other just hanging out.
They are just short of two inches look.
How you want your letter signed:  KT

Thread-Legged Bug with Prey

Dear KT,
These are Thread-Legged Bugs in the subfamily Emesinae, a subgroup of the predatory Assassin Bugs.  You can read more about Thread-Legged Bugs on BugGuide where it states:  “Unlike walking-sticks and some dipterans they mimic, the Emesinae walk on the rear four legs — the front legs are modified for grasping prey.”

Thread-Legged Bug

Subject:  Interesting green bug!
Geographic location of the bug:  99163
Date: 07/25/2021
Time: 03:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! We’ve been scouring all of our resources trying to identify this little fellow and while he looks a bit like a stink bug, his front legs bend more like a praying mantis and he has a ridge to back that gives him a concave appearance. He’s quite tiny, able to perch on my pinky nail with room to spare.
###-###-#### (Ed. Note:  Number redacted for privacy concerns)
How you want your letter signed :  Heath B. & Family

Immature Ambush Bug

Dear Heath B. & Family,
This is an immature insect and immature forms of insects are generally more poorly documented online, which complicates identification attempts.  This is an immature Ambush Bug and it uses its raptorial front legs to capture prey the same way the Preying Mantis does.