Assassin Bug Beneficial Insect

Assasin bug

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Assassin bugs are beneficial insects. There are hundreds of species of assassin bugs.

Assassin bugs feed on aphids, cabbage worms, Colorado potato beetles, cucumber beetles, cutworms, earwigs, Japanese beetles, lace bugs, Mexican bean beetles, tobacco budworms, tomato hornworms, and many other caterpillars.

Assassin bugs are best observed than handled. An assassin bug will attack the human hand if held and its beak can easily pierce human flesh.

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Assassin bugs are found wherever there is prey. Assassin bugs can be found around the world.

Scientific name: Family‎: ‎Reduviidae

Assassin bug

How to identify the assassin bug

Most assassin bug species are about ½ inch long; some are larger. They have large bristly front legs use to capture prey. They are black or brown.

Assassin bugs have broad bodies and narrow heads with a sharp curved proboscis—like a beak–which they use to impale their prey—thus the name assassin bug.

An assassin bug will use its front legs to hold its prey. It will use its long beak to pierce its prey and inject a lethal venom that can kill in just a few seconds. The toxin liquefies the insides of the prey. The assassin bug then drinks the liquefied tissue of the prey leaving only the exterior shell behind.

Assassin bug life cycle

Assassin bugs can live for several years. Females lay eggs in autumn. The eggs hatch the following spring. The bug will pass through several nymph stages before maturing. Adults overwinter in garden debris, weeds, shrubs, and trees.

How to attract assassin bugs to the garden

Assassin bugs are attracted by their prey. They can be found where their prey is present: aphids, cabbage worms, Colorado potato beetle, cucumber beetles, cutworms, earwigs, Japanese battles, Mexican bean beetles, tomato hornworms, and caterpillars. Assassin bugs hunt in all types of vegetation–weeds, shrubs, trees, and ornamental plants.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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