This vicious-looking bug is kills many garden pests including flies, mosquitoes, beetles and large caterpillars. It benefits people because it eats many non-beneficial insects that are pests to farmers and gardeners. Assassin bugs lie in wait for insects and then stab the prey with their proboscis (the beak) and inject a toxin that dissolves tissue. The assassin bug then sucks up the other bug's tissues. Many Assassin bug species attack quickly, and paralyze their prey. This is how they got their name. Sometimes, when other food isn't available, assassin bugs even eat each other. The females may be the better "assassins" because they need protein to produce their eggs.
Many species of Assassin
bugs are common to North and South America. Adults measure ½ to 1 inch long
(13 to 25 mm), and have a cone-shaped head and wide curving beak. They can cause a painful bite to a human if captured.
Their bite can also cause a severe reaction in some persons. Assassin bugs are
aggressive and not afraid to attack creatures much larger than itself. Assassin
bugs are sometimes known as "kissing bugs" because they often bite
people near the mouth. Some kinds of assassin bugs live in people's homes, where
they like to be around bathtubs, sinks, and drains.
Assassin Bugs can transmit diseases to humans and animals. Chaga's disease is one such disease and there is no specific treatment for it. The Assassin Bug's bite is very painful and can make humans sick. One member of the Assassin Bug family, called the Kissing bug, usually lives in beds and likes to bite humans in the face, near the mouth, while they are sleeping. The Mexican bedbug's bite can make people swell, vomit, and faint.
Even though they have nasty bites, remember that these bugs are important to in forests. They help to balance and control the insect populations, particularly in rainforests.
Like all insects, they have 6 jointed legs, two antennae, and an exoskeleton made of chitin (a material that also forms our hair and
fingernails). Their three-part body consists of a head (with the mouthparts, eyes, and antennae), thorax (where the legs and wings
attach), and the abdomen (with the reproductive, and most digestive organs).