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How Did the Assassin Bug Get Its Name?

250px-Assassin_bug_aug08_02This little black or dark brown bug earned its scary name from the way it kills its prey with repeated stabs of its weapon-like beak. Though this little pest is not deadly to humans, the bite of both juveniles and adults is extremely painful and it’s best not to attempt to handle one. Some members of the species, referred to as kissing or cone-nose bugs, live on the blood of mammals, including humans, and may cause allergic reactions or spread disease. Learn more below.

What Do They Hunt?

Many assassin bugs can be found on garden plants, shrubs and ground cover where they hunt for bugs, flies, bees and caterpillars. Once they have caught an unsuspecting insect, they use powerful front legs to hold the insect down, immobilize it with a paralyzing toxin, stab it to death and suck out its body fluids. Other assassin bugs, like the kissing bug, are blood-feeders, preying on mammals and humans.

Where Do They Live?

Approximately 150 species of assassin bugs can be found throughout North America, one of the most prevalent of which is the wheel bug, notable for a notched crest atop the thorax. Over one inch long, the wheel bug pumps venomous saliva into the victim through one channel of its beak and pump the prey’s digested body fluids to its stomach through another channel. This species will attack large insects like big caterpillars and grasshoppers.

Can Assassin Bugs Invade Your Home?

Some assassin bugs are known to infest homes and one of the most notorious of these is the blood-sucking cone-nose bug. These nocturnal insects may be attracted to the lights of a home, and while a single invader is not a problem, the presence of many adults or nymphs may suggest that you have a breeding problem. If cone-nose bugs find their way into your bed, you may wake with reddened areas on your face, hands, arms, feet, head or trunk. The toxic bite of this nasty bug can cause faintness, vomiting and possible allergic reactions.

If you suspect an infestation of these vicious little insects, contact Clegg’s online or via phone at 888-672-5344.

 

Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduviidae

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