What are Assassin Bugs? They are bugs that are located all
over the world, with several species.
Are Assassin Bugs helpful at all? Yes, they are among the
beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and praying mantises, who prey
on insects that can harm our garden and crop plants. But you wouldn't
want to pet one!
Are Assassin Bugs hurtful at all? Yes, some species spread
disease with their bites (see article below). Many also have a painful
bite, designed primarily for biting other insects.
Here are selected bits of information about the assassin bug collected
from various sources:
a. Conenose bugs (assassin bugs and kissing bugs). The family Reduviidae
has a short, 3-segmented beak attached to the tip of the head. The
prosternum is grooved to receive the beak when the bug rests. Antennae
have four segments and the anterior portion of the head is extended.
There are over 3,000 species of reduviids, about 100 of which suck
blood. Blood-sucking species are generally abundant in warm areas
of the New World from the southern U.S. to South America. Most are
predaceous, sucking the blood of other insects giving them the name
"assassin bugs". Those that suck the blood of warm-blooded animals
have a slender straight beak and the antennae are inserted on the
side of the head between the eyes and the end of the beak. Predaceous
forms have a stout beak and antennae are on top of the head. One
species, Reduvius personatus, is known for its painful bite and
is commonly called the "masked hunter". This entire family of bugs
is commonly called "conenose bugs".
Other names: kissing bugs, ambush bugs and thread-legged bugs.
The "kissing bug" bites humans at night, including biting
lips, ears, and eyelids for blood.
A group of assassin bugs in the tropics, known as Conenose bugs,
transmit the serious human Chagas Disease, which sometimes causes
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