How To Get Rid Of Assassin Bugs? Helpful Guide

Did you find an assassin bug in your house? Here’s a complete guide on how to get rid of assassin bugs in your home through both organic ways and pesticides.

While it’s good to have assassin bugs in your garden, one cannot say the same about letting these bugs stay in your home.

Not only do these insects bite humans their bite is also quite painful and can cause many unwanted symptoms.

These bugs have grown more common in North America in recent times, with more than 160 species found here.

In case you start finding these bugs regularly in your home, you’ll have to take the necessary steps to get rid of them.

Let’s explore more on this topic and see how you can control and repel assassin bugs.

Bark Assassin Bug

Are Assassin Bugs Dangerous?

Unfortunately, the assassin bug is a rather dangerous insect infamous for its bite. Among the different assassin bug species, the kissing bug is especially notorious for biting humans on the face!

The kissing bug is a blood-sucking insect whose bit, besides being very painful, also causes itching, swelling, and red bite marks.

You can also contract Chagas disease from the fecal matter of this bug which it leaves behind on the bite wound.

Apart from the fact that the Chagas disease can be life-threatening, there’s no known cure for it either.

This disease impacts the heart and intestinal system in humans. Symptoms of the Chagas disease include body aches, fever, and fatigue.

How To Identify Which Bug You Are Dealing With?

All assassin bugs have a narrow head and elongated mouthparts similar to a sharp beak, using which they stab their prey and feed on their juices.

There are more than 7,000 different assassin bug species in the world. The bug might be gray, black, tan, or brightly colored, depending on the species.

Below, we will show you how to identify the most common outdoor and indoor assassin bugs.

  • Wheel bugs: Growing up to 1.5 inches long, these are the biggest assassin bugs. The wheel bug has a spiky cog-wheel-shaped structure on its back, which explains its name. You’ll mostly find wheel bugs outdoors, such as in your garden.
  • Ambush bugs: This is another outdoor assassin bug species, known for laying patiently in wait for its prey and ambushing them. The front legs of the ambush bug are similar to that of the praying mantis, while the head is shorter than most other assassin bugs.
  • Kissing bugs: As mentioned earlier, the kissing bug is particularly notorious for its bites. This indoor assassin bug grows up to an inch in length. It has a gray body with bright orange spots around the edges.
  • Milkweed bugs: The milkweed assassin bug tends to overwinter in homes and has a brightly colored body. This type of assassin bug is relatively small and grows up to less than an inch.

Other species of assassin bugs include the spined assassin bug, bee killers, masked hunters, black corsairs, etc.

Sycamore Assassin Bug nymph

How To Prevent Them From Entering Homes?

These bugs have become quite common in South America and Central America and might easily end up in your home. Follow the steps below to prevent them from entering.

  • Install screens on your windows and doors.
  • Use caulk to seal cracks and crevices on the exterior walls.
  • Leave no gaps under your exterior doors.
  • You may use pyrethroid sprays to prevent assassin bug infestations.
  • Swap your regular light bulbs for bug-safe ones, as these bugs get attracted to bright lights at night.

Besides these, try to keep the perimeter of your home clean and burn any rodent nests to make your property less attractive to assassin bugs.

Organic Control

It’s always a good idea to try out organic pest control methods before you decide to use chemical pesticides.

If you are trying to repel or eliminate assassin bugs, pesticides can be quite unsafe because they will also affect other beneficial insects.

Organic ways to control assassin bug populations include:

  • Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a strong, naturally occurring compound effective at killing various pests. Just sprinkle this powdery substance over places frequented by the bugs or near entry points. It will dehydrate and kill the bugs upon contact.
  • Vacuuming: One of the simplest and quickest home pest control measures, vacuuming can help you easily deal with assassin bug infestations. Run your vacuum cleaner over cracks and crevices where they might be hiding.
  • Fewer lights: If possible, reduce the number of outdoor lights on your property, as bright lights and the pests flying around them attract assassin bugs at night.

How To Get Rid Of Assassin Bugs? Helpful Guide

Pesticidal Control

Generally, it’s advisable to leave pesticidal control as your last option in case organic means of pest control fail to get rid of the bugs.

Indoor pesticidal treatment is risky, especially if you have children or pets who might accidentally ingest the pesticides.

The same goes for outdoor spaces like your lawn – you’ll have to be careful not to let anyone into treated areas until the pesticide has dried out. Using pesticides in your garden can also kill various beneficial insects.

However, let’s check out what pesticides you can use against assassin bugs if organic methods don’t deliver satisfactory results.

In the garden

Having assassin bugs in your garden isn’t entirely a bad thing since they prey on pests that damage crops and plants.

You can leave them be if it’s one of the non-biting assassin bug species. However, if your garden has a major infestation, especially of the assassin bugs that bite, you can try the following pesticidal treatments:

Bifen granules

This granular insecticide is very effective against a variety of lawn insects, including assassin bugs.

You can apply Bifen granules over your yard or garden using a push spreader, a hand spreader, or a broadcaster.

Around 2.3 pounds of Bifen granules is enough per 1000 sq. ft. Two treatments a month apart from each other should usually wipe out the assassin bug infestation.

PT-Phantom

If you are dealing with a large infestation and can’t find their hiding places, the PT-Phantom is a perfect pesticide to use.

As this pesticide is odorless and doesn’t contain any repellants, assassin bugs would easily get exposed to it by walking over it.

They’ll later end up spreading the pesticide to others inside their nest, thus helping destroy the infestation.

Smashed Assassin Bug

On the perimeter of the house

Perimeter treatment is a great way to prevent infestations. For assassin bugs, bifenthrin-based broad-spectrum residual insecticides are a good choice.

Supreme IT

This pesticide uses bifenthrin as its active element and is great at eliminating assassin bugs. One ounce of the pesticide per gallon of water should be enough.

You can use a hose-end sprayer to spray it around your yard and perimeter. However, make sure no one (including pets) enters the treated area for two to four hours.

Inside the house

This is a bit tricky since you have to use a pesticide that won’t endanger the inhabitants, especially kids and pets.

Fipro Aerosol

This Fipronil-based pesticide is safe for indoor use and works well against assassin bugs. The foaming nature of Fipro Aerosol makes it particularly effective for treating cracks and crevices.

Once you apply the aerosol, the foam will spread inside the crevice and reach bugs hiding deep inside.

Frequently asked questions

Should you kill assassin bugs?

This depends on whether the bugs pose a threat or nuisance. You should certainly get rid of indoor assassin bugs to save yourself from their painful bites.

As for the ones in your garden, you can let them live as they would help control aphids, mealworms, and other harmful pests.

Why are assassin bugs in my house?

Assassin bugs prefer to live in dark and secluded places during the day, which they often find indoors.

Kissing bugs are also attracted to the bright lights at night, which draws them into houses. You might also find these bugs at home if your house has plenty of insects for them to hunt.

Assassin Bug: Rasahus hamatus

Where do assassin bugs lay their eggs?

Assassin bugs usually lay eggs outdoors, on stems and leaves of trees.

You may also find rows and clusters of assassin bug eggs in sheltered and secluded places, such as under rocks and inside cracks in your home.

Like other bugs of their species, assassin bugs go through an incomplete metamorphosis (egg -> larva -> adult), where they go through several molting stages. They only create one generation in a year.

How long do assassin bugs live?

The length of the assassin bug’s life cycle varies on the stage it is in. Eggs take about two weeks to hatch. Their wingless nymphs emerge and take 6-9 weeks to molt in various stages.

Once they turn into full-grown adults, they can live up to six to ten months. In captivity, these bugs can live up to two years.

Wrapping up

If you live in the United States, especially in the states of California, Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico, there’s always a chance that you might find assassin bugs in your home and garden.

Try to identify the species and the scale of infestation before you take up pest control measures. We hope you will use the information above to keep your family and gardens safe. Thank you for reading!

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

52 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Assassin Bugs? Helpful Guide”

  1. My husband just got bit by one of these things, and reports that the bite is quite painful. It left a raised welt with red dot in the center on his forearm.

    Reply
  2. Hi, I am sorry to inform you that this assassin bug is definitely not a bloodsucking conenose. The bug in the picture belongs to the subfamily Harpactorinae which members are all friendly arthropod predators. Conenose bugs belong the subfamily Triatominae. Thank you

    Reply
  3. The first image appears to be a teneral wheel bug, but I’m not sure because of the image quality. The second image is clearly a wheel bug nymph.

    Reply
    • Dear Dan,
      Thanks so much for clearing up our old Assassin Bug IDs. There are numerous comments awaiting my approval and I will not be thanking you individually for all your work. Rest assured that it is greatly appreciated.
      Daniel

      Reply
  4. I don’t see locality data with this image and there’s not quite enough detail to say whether it’s a nymph or brachypterous adult, but I can tell you this assassin is in the subfamily Stenopodainae.

    Reply
  5. This is Gminatus (Harpactorinae). There are two species in the genus, and this is probably the more common Gminatus australis.

    Reply
  6. I don’t see any locality information, but assuming they are from the eastern United States, these are Pselliopus cinctus. The dark stripe on the anterior lobe of the pronotum makes that species more likely since P. barberi usually has that lobe completely bright orange.

    Reply
  7. This is interesting in that Stenolemus species have not yet been reported from California, to my knowledge (although there is one image on BugGuide.net). Furthermore, there are two species known from United States with a distinctly petiolate pronotum: S. spiniventris and the more common S. lanipes. The former is known from Florida and Texas, I believe, whereas the latter is well known in the southeastern states west to Texas. I suspect this is probably S. lanipes, which will eventually be shown to occur transcontinentally at least in the southern United States.

    Reply
  8. I was bitten or stung by something on this past Sunday.(I believe it was a sycamore assasin.) I was on my porch (Independence Missouri) I felt the bite/sting but did not see the insect. About a half hour after I was bitten my mother found an insect on the front screen door. I looked closely at it and later looked it up on the internet. It looked just like the pictures of the sycamore assasin.
    It was VERY painful for about 3-4 hours. Also had a burning feeling. The spot had a little red dot to start out, then it had a raised welt about the size of a nickle surrounding the red dot. Several minutes later it begain to get red outside of the raised welt. I put baking soda paste on it soon after the bite. Later I used amonia on it. I took an antihistamine tablet and something for pain.
    Overnight the sight began to itch, it was still hurting. It is about a 1-2 inch circle of red now.
    The bite area is now almost a u shape. It still burns, however not as much. The itching is continuing. I got some Campho-phenique to relieve the itching and I took 2 antihistamines also. Those treatments do not seem to be working to relieve the itching today.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your detailed account of the reaction of the bite of a Sycamore Assassin Bug. We imagine the effects of the bite differ from person to person. It is our understanding that though the bite is painful, it is not considered dangerous.

      Reply
  9. I was bite by one just today. I found this site trying to research what type of insect it was and making sure I wasn’t in for some serious pain later. I live in Houston, TX and had never seen one before. I had seen a similar red and black ones, but had no idea they bite! So I was a bit worried I had some evil poisonous variation out to get me. I don’t know how it got on my arm, but I felt a slight sting and swiped without looking thinking it was a mosquito which apparently aggravated it because it bit harder that got my attention. Second time it felt like a spider or fire ant bite, I have a tiny red dot where it bit and swelled to a small welt with redness about 2 inches across and was itchy at first. The redness went away less than an hour later and welt is mostly gone. So far I have no other pain and it’s not even itchy. I have put nothing on it at all. So the bite does affect people differently. If I get any adverse reactions later, I’ll be sure to update. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  10. I’m in Katy, TX and got bit on the neck by a Sycamore Assassin Bug on Halloween. So painful! Now, a couple weeks later, I have a knot where the bug bit me.

    Reply
  11. Are these sycamore assassin bugs the same as a kissing bug? I have one in my bathroom. Its been in there for a few months now and i recently read of the kissing bug and they look identical aside from the orange color. It is said that the kissing bug will bite the lips of a human to suck out blood and this transfers a fatal disease. If the sycamore and kissing bug are the same thing, just a different title then i will be removing (not killing) this big from my home. Any input is appriciated.

    Reply
  12. I read the following comments regarding sycamore assassin bug and I am a little annoyed at the automatic assumption that you were in fact bit by one of these which are not commonly known to bite. There are many insects all around us at all times. I walk outside and have four carpenter ants on my arm just as soon as I step out the door. However I have never been intentionally bitten or stung besides a bee a stepped on accidentally while walking barefoot and ticks, mosquito, etc. The sycamore assassin is my spirit bug. They are easy to handle, a good insect, and they look like adorable mimes. One just hitched a ride on my cats tail and I just relocated him back outside. I was not bit. My cat was not bit. There is no reason to kill any creature and that includes insects. They serve a purpose.

    Reply
    • I was bitten by this bug, seeing it on my arm as it bite me harder. As far as I read, no one claimed the bug bit intentionally. Mine bit harder because I had swiped it, defending itself. For the other claims, I’m sure it had some reason or threat that we aren’t aware of. We are, however, all aware that bugs don’t intend us harm for no reason and no one said anything about killing them. I took a picture of mine and let it go. People are here to find knowledge and share their experience which includes the good and bad. With millions of people in the US, I think the few claims on this site are not detrimental to the Assasin bug’s reputation. While I appreciate your love for them and shared the good side of them, don’t downplay other’s experience as not knowing what bite them. I’m just saying even the good guys can have bad days.

      Reply
  13. Do they bite or sting. My grandson just got bit by a very small green bug in the back seat of my car. If it is an immature assassin bug, can he have a reaction to it?

    Reply
    • Assassin Bugs will bite if carelessly handled. To the best of our knowledge, there is no permanent damage from a bite, only local sensitivity and swelling.

      Reply
  14. Many thanks for your help. I thought the living one flew into the picture but maybe it just crawled there when I was checking my photos. Are you able to give me a family name or an educated guess at the species?

    Reply
  15. We over winter in Ocala, Florida, today we found several Milkweed
    Assassin Bug Nymph on our bushes in the front yard just off the patio. How do we get rid of them?. the stems are turning black as are the leaves while the underside of the leaves have white spots in them.

    Reply
  16. Hello! Tennessee here..I just found one of these bugs in my house on my surround sound speaker…I let it crawl onto a tissue and then stuck the tissue inside a mason jar and left the lid off long enough to identify it..then i let it go outside..I kind of freaked out at first because I read that their bite can..although rarely…cause some disease that has no cure…but I’m a little more reassured with this page…thanks!

    Reply
  17. I have these, but they are TORMENTING my strawberry plants AND my avacado tree leaves!! I’d say not beneficial. πŸ™ What can I do about them? Any help would save my BUD lol.

    Reply
  18. I swear this same bug is eating the stems of and fruit of my cantaloupe plants! They are all clumped together. Maybe 50 of them and the leaves of the plant further down the stem are dying.

    Reply
  19. Ok I stand corrected. Upon more research I have figured out it is the nymph of the leaf footed stink bug. I now want the Assassin bug to kill them

    Reply

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