Subject: please identify?
Location: Atlanta, GA
December 12, 2015 9:28 pm
dear bugman, i live 30 miles south of atlanta, ga and was up in my tea olive bushes cutting & shaping so i could hang the christmas lights from the gutters. i stepped down in the pine straw and felt something bite the back of my thigh! i grabbed the back of my bluejeans where i felt the bite and tried to squish ~ it bit me again. i ran in the house and as i got out of my pants as quickly as possible, i prayed, “please Lord, let me find what bit me!” Out dropped the bug i’m sending you the picture of below. it is about and inch and a quarter in length. The bite immediately stung like a bee – but quickly spread out to about the size of a dinner plate in area . it began to swell immediately. i made a poultice of baking soda and with everything in the news about the ‘deadly kissing bug’ drove myself to the ER. UGH – 5 hours later, they couldn’t figure out what the bug was. it left a hole in my leg – i can’t tell if its blood in the hole – it didn’t bleed – or what. gives me shivers to think too much about it. here on day 3, the round area of swelling had gone down but is back and now a rather odd shaped oblong patch that is beginning to itch terribly. i have an appointment in a week to have a blood test for changas but in my research have come across the fact that it hurts is a good indication that it isn’t a bad bug that spreads t-cruzi but i’m looking for some bug identification… please!!!
Signature: signed, really hopeful … also known as Liz.
We are sorry to hear about your painful bite, but the good news is that this is NOT a Kissing Bug, but rather a Wheel Bug, and Wheel Bugs do not spread Chagas Disease. Though Wheel Bug identifications are among our most frequent requests, and though Wheel Bugs are the largest North American Assassin Bugs, your report is the first in over 13 years we have ever received of a person being bitten by a Wheel Bug. We have long suspected that a painful bite could result from carelessly handling a Wheel Bug, but unlike other Assassing Bugs that bite more readily, Wheel Bugs seem very reluctant to bite humans. Your unfortunate encounter was doubtless due to the Wheel Bug finding itself trapped between your jeans and your skin. Wheel Bugs are not normally aggressive toward humans. Though we do not normally provide medical advice, in our unprofessional opinion, the blood test for Chagas is probably not necessary.
P.S. We are not tagging this as Unnecessary Carnage being that it was suspected of being a Kissing Bug and having the specimen was necessary for a correct identification.
Thank you for taking your time in such a quick reply! Your answer really did help me. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else getting bitten by those little buggers for at least another 13 year! UGH.