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.
Good Products for Pest and Disease Control at Amazon:
- Garden Safe Snail and Slug Bait
- Bonide Sulfur Fungicide
- Monterey BT Caterpillar Killer
- Neem Bliss 100-% Cold Pressed Neem Oil
- Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
- PyGanic Botanical Insecticide
Assassin bugs are found wherever there is prey. Assassin bugs can be found around the world.
Scientific name: Family: Reduviidae
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.
Garden Planning Books at Amazon:
- Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner
- Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide Vegetable Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide
- Tomato Grower’s Answer Book