Masked Hunter bites Bob in the Ear!!!

Subject: bug crawled in my ear at night!
Location: west michigan
April 9, 2015 2:33 pm
Hi I had this bug crawl in my ear while I was sleeping, made my ear bleed and bad inflammation. Any info?
Signature: Bug-eared Bob

Masked Hunter
Masked Hunter

Dear Bob,
You were bitten by an unmasked, immature Masked Hunter, a
beneficial predatory Assassin Bug that is known to eat Bed Bugs.  The reason we are calling it “unmasked” is that immature Masked Hunters have sticky exoskeletons that attract dust and debris, effectively masking the predator in its surroundings.  Adult Masked Hunters are black and they do not attract dust.  Though you had a local reaction to the bite, it is not considered dangerous.

Thank you so much!! This was very helpful, and you put my wife at ease when you said they eat unwelcome pests.

9 thoughts on “Masked Hunter bites Bob in the Ear!!!”

    • Thanks for providing all the links. The confusion arose because we used the common name Masked Hunter, but failed to include the scientific name Reduvius personatus. The Texas Insect site link you provided uses Masked Hunter as a common name for the Kissing Bugs in the genus Triatoma, but we have not seen that common name used for the genus before. The Masked Hunter we identified is Reduvius personatus, a predatory relative that is known to bite humans, but to the best of our knowledge, does not carry Chagas Disease. The Smithsonian link you provided states: “A group of assassin bugs in the tropics, known as Conenose bugs, transmit the serious human Chagas Disease, which sometimes causes death”, but it does not identify the Conenose Bugs by genus. All the information we have read indicates that it is members of the genus Triatoma, commonly called Conenose Bugs, that transmit Chagas Disease. Conenose Bugs in the genus Triatoma are blood suckers, and the transmit the protozoan that causes Chagas Disease. The predatory Masked Hunter feeds on insects, and it will bite humans, but it is not a blood sucker and we are going to stand by our original response to you that they are not known to transmit Chagas Disease. We are adding the scientific name Reduvius personatus to our original posting to help clarify the confusion. The bottom line here is that we are not medical experts, and medical opinions frequently change, but we have never read anything connecting the spread of Chagas Disease by any insect other than a member of the genus Triatoma.

  1. I was more trying to make the point that Chagas disease is not the only known disease transmitted by true bugs, and that the kissing bug is not the only true bug that transmits disease. So, back to the original point, best to get a blood test just to be safe. Never know what you’re gonna catch when a bug bites you. New diseases are identified and new carriers are found all the time. Case in point the newly identified tick-born disease sweeping through Connecticut.

    • We did write back to Bob, directing him to read the comments on the posting. Thanks so much for your input on this posting.


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