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Spined Assassin Bug

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Spined Assassin Bug


Spined Assassin Bug (Sinea diadema (Fabricius)) adults and nymphs are slender, colorful insects, often blackish, reddish, or brown.


Spined Assassin Bug

Spined Assassin Bug

They have long legs; a long narrow head, round beady eyes, and an extended, 3-segmented, needle-like beak. Nymphs are quite small, 5 mm (1/4 in) in length when they hatch and grow to an adult size measuring approximately 2 cm (3/4 inch). Insects in this order undergo incomplete metamorphosis.


Eggs of Zelus spp. are barrel-shaped, dark brown with a white cap, and are laid openly in groups on plant surfaces. Adults are poor fliers, and both adults and nymphs move rapidly when disturbed. All assassin bugs are predators, some species feed on insects while others feed on the blood of mammals. Insect-feeding species eat a wide variety of small to medium-sized insect prey including caterpillars, leafhoppers, other bugs, and aphids.


They also feed on beneficial species such as lacewings. Nymphs and adults are often seen stalking or laying in wait for their prey, which they inject with venom once they have caught. Assassin bugs are common natural enemies on many plants, including row and tree crops.


Prey: Assassin bug nymphs and adults eat a variety of prey including caterpillars, aphids and many other insects, such as lady beetle adults and spiders.


Spined Assassin Bug

Spined Assassin Bug

Life Cycle: Like all members of the order Hemiptera, assassin bugs and ambush bugs go through a simple metamorphosis with egg, nymph, and adult stages. In warm months, females lay eggs which are stuck in clusters to leaves and stems. After hatching, the wingless nymphs grow and molt 4 times (some species molt 7 times) before becoming full-sized, winged adults. Adults are usually the overwintering stage.


Assassin bug females deposit masses of brown, cylindrical eggs periodically. Immature nymphs resemble adults but are wingless and develop through five molts (instars) into adults in about two months. Nymphs of the spined-shouldered assassin bug are distinctly swaybacked.


Bites: Bites may be hardly felt by the bloodsucking conenose in contrast to painful bites by the masked hunter, black corsair, and wheel bug. Sensitive individuals may experience burning pain, intense itching and much swelling with red blotches and welts over the body. If bitten, remain calm and safely collect the bug for positive identification. Do not handle bugs without gloves. Contact your local poison information center to seek medical help. Relief from bites may be obtained by using lotions containing menthol, phenol or camphor.


Spined Assassin Bug with Food

Spined Assassin Bug with Food

Control:Control Measures Prevention All potential breeding areas such as rodent and bird nests and trash piles in or near houses should be eliminated. Since these bugs fly at night and are attracted to light, adequate screening must be used around windows and doors. Use non-attractive insect yellow lights, if possible. Be sure to caulk and seal any openings into the house.


Should a bug alight on one's face or hand, it should be brushed off gently since it is likely to bite if pinched or crushed. Usually only a few individual bugs are found in the home at one time except for the bloodsucking conenose, which may be in groups of 10 to 15 at a time or scattered singly. Do not handle bugs. Use a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner to collect and discard individuals.


Insecticides: A household aerosol spray of pyrethrins can give good knockdown and kill against individuals. These bugs can be controlled with a spot treatment of a residual household crawling insect spray such as diazinon or propoxur (Baygon). Pyrethroid insecticides such as permethrin is the most effective at high concentrations. Before using any insecticide, always read the label, follow directions and safety precautions.


Spined Assassin Bug

Spined Assassin Bug

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Beyond Environmental P.C.

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