Assassin Bugs

There are several thousand species of assassin bugs found worldwide. They range in colour from brown, black and orange and measuring 2-4 cm long. Their bodies are usually long and thin. 

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Assassin bug (left), Brown Assassin bug (right)-photo Midwest Biological Control News

There are several thousand species of these bugs found worldwide. They range in colour from brown, black and orange and measuring 2-4 cm long. Their bodies are usually long and thin. They have a long stout beak, 6 legs and a pair of long thin antanae. These are all beneficial insects. These bugs also can bite you if you get too close to then and the bite can be quite irritating.

Eggs are laid in the fall usually in the soil but they have been know to lay them in cracks and crevices or leaf piles. They hatch in the spring and become larvae. Their larvae stage last for a few weeks and then they become adults with voracious appetites. There is usually only one generation per year.

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Assassin bug at work(left), Assassin bug with an ant(right)-photo Joeseph Warfel

Eggs-No idea where I found this picture

They eat ants, beetles, larvae of insects, caterpillars, mole crickets and most other plant eating insects. Some will wait patiently for their prey to walk by while others will actively pursue them. They inject a poison into their prey and then feed on the host. The drawback of this insect is that some species will bite you as they are blood suckers. Birds love to eat these guys so keeping them in your garden is difficult.

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  1. Viv says

    As it turned out, I didn’t see the doc. It took a couple of months, but everything settled down and is fine. Renee, it does sound like an Assassin Bug that you have. I’m not sure of the specific type, I’m sure that Cahri can help with the I.D. of it though. How it ended up in your area is relatively simple. There is vegetation with other insects. Assassin Bugs are stealthy little critters and sit in wait and/or go hunting. I’ve had the chance to see some documentaries about them. Talk about awesome! I don’t mind seeing them in my garden or around in my yard, I just don’t wish to be its next meal…LOL

  2. Renee says

    Last night my son and his female friend and I went out on our porch to visit; my son told his friend, “you better get up quick there’s a big bug on the back of your chair”. Of course she jumped up: none of us had ever seen a bug like this one so we coaxed it in to a jar with a stick and had our neighbor come over and tell us if he knew what it was. He said it was an assassin bug and told us they had found one a while back and researched it to find out they had found one too but not as big as this one and a different color. Before even seeing it up close he asked us if it had a mohawk looking thing on it’s head and we told him yes, it does then he told us what it was and a few details they had found about them when they ran across one. We live in a city in central Indiana no farms or anything like that near by. We are in a supberb so there are a lot of trees but we were wondering where this creepy 1½ – 2″ bug came from. It’s black with a greenish/blue tint to it’s underside of it’s wings but mostly black; it has the mohawk looking thing on it’s head and a very long siphon looking thing coming out of it’s head that goes clear under it’s front part of it’s body. It looks like a cross between a spider, a locust, & a big black cricket with a mohawk.. it’s really gross looking. I put it in the freezer in the jar to kill it. Once captured it secreted some sort of watery looking stuff with little black specks in it that looked like they could be off spring of the bug only about 10 times smaller. It has what looks like holes around the bottom of it’s belly/butt area or maybe just dots but they looked as if they were opening once we captured it with no air. (mind you city folks don’t like creepy looking 2″ bugs)Can you identify it for us with this description and is there somewhere we could send it for verification or something? After reading all I have on these assassin bugs I am really glad the young lady sitting in that chair did not get bit. I did notice a bee flying around the chair so maybe it was up there after the bee which would have been fine with me had it not been so close to our front door because I do not want these things in my house.

  3. says

    Thank you Cahri for your help in this matter. This is the first time an insect bite or sting has affected me so. I’ll call the doc in the morning.

  4. Viv says

    My son and I were looking for crickets for his lizard and my tarantula. Far be it from me, to figure out how he managed to pick up an Assassin Bug without getting “bitten”.

    As I was collecting the crickets and putting them into the two seperate tanks for the lizard and tarantula, I finally noticed a “beatle”. At least, that’s what I thought it was. It had a dark brown coloring. I reached in and picked it up not realizing, then suddenly I felt this horrible, “burning/stinging” in my finger. The whole tip of my finger above the joint was in immense pain. I’ve never felt anything like it. I immediately screamed and shook my hand, throwing it to the floor.

    I used a piece of card board to pick it up. I saw then that it was an Assassin Bug. I didn’t think very much about it. I was just a little concerned about whether or not, I’d have to worry about any type of an enzyme or toxin that he may have injected.

    This was a little over a week ago. In the process, my finger still has pain upon pressure, lots of itching and now a slight raised rash is forming on the fingertip by the injection site. I’ve tried draining it, to see if it would help. I’ve soaked my finger in hydrogen peroxide and witch hazel. The witch hazel helped with the itching.

    I’ve been stung by a bee in the past and showed no reaction other than just a little itching for a couple of days. Should I expect more with this before it gets any better?


    Vivienne B.

  5. Joe Huels says

    I just got bitten by an assassin bug that looks exactly like your picture of a brown assassin bug above. It hurt like a yellowjacket sting and bled a bit. Pain lasted for about 5 minutes but bite site is still tender. (right on the knee) I smacked the sucker and killed it but it’s still in pretty good shape. Except for the flat tail, this thing looks a little like a small preying mantis. I’ve seen these things around for years but never had contact with one until now. I was laying down and felt something on the side of my leg. I guess I rolled on top of it. He’s about an inch long.

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