Subject: The bug that bit my child
Location: Livingston, Montana
August 12, 2012 12:19 am
I am hoping you can help me to identify this insect that was (presumably) hanging out in my daughter’s pants before she put them on. It left a bit mark on her leg that looks rather like a mosquito bite, with a much larger red mark in center. The bite stung and swelled slightly; but it did not burn, get hot or itch terribly.
If it helps, the clothing was left with other folded laundry on the basement stairs for a couple of days before children were harrassed into putting it away. Hopefully, strange, biting bugs have at least helped the children learn to get clothing taken care of in a prompt fashion!
Thank you for your time!
Signature: Space Princess
Dear Space Princess,
This is the nymph of a Masked Hunter, a species of Assassin Bug. See this BugGuide image for verification. The common name refers to the typical appearance of the immature Masked Hunters that are sticky and attract all manner of lint as camouflage. This individual has no lint to mask it, either because you have a scrupulously clean house, or it is freshly molted. Winged adult Masked Hunters are a glossy black and lack the masking layer of lint. Masked Hunters, like many Assassin Bugs, can deliver a painful bite it provoked or threatened, but the bite is not considered dangerous. Some species of Assassin Bugs, namely Kissing Bugs in the subfamily Triatominae are exceptions. They suck the blood of warm blooded creatures, including humans, and they can spread pathogens that cause Chagas Disease, but they are more southern in their range. See BugGuide for more information on Kissing Bugs. Masked Hunters are also called Masked Bed Bug Hunters and they are considered beneficial as they will rid the home of unwelcome visitors. Just treat them with respect and handle with extreme caution to avoid a bite. Picking up used clothing will also ensure that they do not crawl into warm, secluded nooks and crannies.