Assassin Bugs

Assassin bugs are also known as conenose, kissing and wheel bugs. There about 3000 different kinds of this insect and they vary widely in coloration but are all fairly similar in shape. The assassin bug as a whole is mostly beneficial feeding on insects such as mosquitos, flies and caterpillars or other harmful pests. Injecting a toxin which quickly paralyzes its prey is how it got its name. This insect is aggressive and will readily attack a perceived foe larger than itself. When left alone they are a benefit but certain kinds of assassin bugs known as the connose or kissing bugs feed on the blood of vertebrates which often includes humans. It is this type of assassin bug that is considered a pest and if bitten you can experience a very painful ordeal. Conenose bugs are known for biting at night when their prey are asleep and have the habit of biting around the mouth. (thus the kissing bug name) The welts are quite pronounced. Homes that are drafty such as older log cabins are often easy for this large bug to enter where they can be found in cracks or gaps and around sinks. Diseases such as Chagas are transmitted from the bites putting these bugs in the pest category.

How They Travel

This insect is able to fly and very adept at climbing. Some species are attracted to lights and easily find their way into homes via open doors. They are common in both north and south America and different varieties can be found worldwide.

How Best To Identify Assassin Bugs

The assassin bug takes on a variety of colors and markings but most are menacing in appearance. Noted for their ‘beak’ like proboscis and prominent eyes assassin bugs are insects with 6 legs, head thorax and abdomen. With their wings folded over their backs the colors often make very distinctive markings such as x’s or outlines that contrast with their usually dull body color. Life stages take one year to complete with five molts. Nymphs resemble the adults and need blood meals to advance to the next molt. There is one generation per year and single eggs are often laid in cracks and crevices.

Treatment and Elimination

Exterior spraying for assassin bugs can be quite difficult. Treatment around doors, windows and light sources will be the most effective and at times a power spray of the surrounding grounds and shrubbery may be needed should populations build up. Bifen I/T will work for this type of exterior work. Dusting gaps, cracks and other entry points is key to stop those trying to enter in or females who are in search of a place to lay their eggs. Delta, Drione, DE (diamataceous earth) or Boric acid should do nicely. This insect is commonly found in crawl spaces coming up through loose flooring or plumbing gaps so attention should be paid in this section of any home up off the ground. Since this bug is rather large in size you should at least attempt to seal up as many entry points as possible with caulks, tightening screens, door sweeps or other necessary methods. Reduced lighting can be very beneficial. Interior sprays using Tempo, Demand CS or Suspend SC as well as other labeled products will aid in control. Special care around sinks and dusting plumbing or other interior access points with the afore mentioned products will also be beneficial.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • B_beck83

    very creepy looking with many different colors, the ones I have found are shiny black with striped orange and black on the back

  • Nasty bite too!

  • how do they catch mosquitoes?

  • I was stung by an assassin last year and all I can say is HOLY MOTHER OF GOD THAT HURT!  It was worse than being stung by a yellow jacket and it actually made me feel dizzy afterwards.  They made a nest in a rolled up blind we hadn’t put down for the season yet.  If I see them they are quickly done away with.  I’m just glad one didn’t sting one of my little ones.

  • They do pack a punch!

  • More than likely when the mosquito’s are at rest. They hang out during the day in foliage and most often under the leaves. Easy pickens for the assasin bug.

  • how do you kill wheel bugs/ assassin bugs ?

  • A powerspray of the perimeter can help but sealing them out of a home is probably your best answer.

  • Bob

    I am doing a report on these bugs and I really need to know how they breed, but I found a lot on them just ask and I might have an answer, I can even tell you how to get more assassin bugs in the area you want them to be!!!!

  • Bob

    They sometimes wait for bugs or in this case a mosquito and ambush it.

  • I got a huge job once where Assassin bugs were lying in wait under the seat of portable commodes…. People getting bit on the butt…. That was a full glove and mask job 😉

  • Francis Meeh Truelove

    I also was stung! and you are right HMOGTH! lol I didn’t have any swelling or dizzyness,,,, thankfully, I never went to the doctor because their was no redness or swelling… Did you see a dr about your bite?

  • I’m thinking these things pack a wallop…

  • Becky Z

    I have a passion flower vine that serves as the ecosystem to my fritillary caterpillars and butterflies. It has also been a favorite hot spot for assassin bugs, which suck the life out of the caterpillars. I need to know what I can use to kill the bugs without endangering the caterpillars which eat the leaves of the vine. I have tried relocating the assassin bugs to my next door neighbor’s yard, but more always appear on my vine. Recently I counted nine baby caterpillars and they have all been assassinated! Without caterpillars, there are no butterflies. I hope you can help me. Thanks in advance.