Masked Hunter from Canada

Subject: Looks like a bed bug but about 16 – 19 mm long
Location: Toronto Ontario Canada
February 13, 2013 6:18 pm
Please help us to identify this bug. We live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in a fully detached home (bungalow in front/basement walk-out in back (in the back, basement floor only two ft below ground level). Three years ago we fully renovated the house. The basement is dry, maintained around 20C (it’s now winter)and it has been fully renovated with wall-to-wall 100% wool carpeting. In the past year I have found in the basement area 4-5 bugs like the one in the attached photo. All of them have been spotted, in the morning or evening, lying still on the carpet (carpet also beige)two of them a few inches from the baseboard in two of the downstairs bedrooms, the others simply walking across the carpet. When disturbed they can move quite quickly. They appear to look like a bed bug but they are much bigger (16-19 mm long), not 5-7 mm in length like bed bugs. What are they? Are they dangerous in any way and can they bite while sleeping? Thanks for your help.
Signature: BJ

Masked Hunter

Dear BJ,
This is not a Bed Bug.  It is an immature Masked Hunter, a species of Assassin Bug.  The common name of Masked Hunter refers to the characteristics of the nymphs which have a sticky exterior that attracts fibers from their surroundings, which in your case appears to be woolen carpet fibers.  This helps to camouflage the Masked Hunter.  Masked Hunters are also called Masked Bed Bug Hunters because they will prey upon Bed Bugs.  Like other Assassin Bugs, Masked Hunters might bite if carelessly handled, but they are still considered beneficial predators.

Dear Daniel
Many thanks for responding to the email. Even the experts in our city who treat for bed bugs could not name this one. Great relief!

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