Beneficial Critters

Assassin Bugs: One of Your Garden Friends!

Assassin Bugs blog post

Class: predatory | beneficial

Description:  gray to black or brownish in color, though some are brightly colored


  • Wheel bugs – largest of the species, the name comes from the distinctive, cog-like crest arising from the top of the thorax.  Wheel bugs will attack larger insects like grasshoppers and larger caterpillars.
  • Ambush bugs are a type of assassin bug that lie in wait for their prey on flowers. Some of these species are colored to blend in perfectly with their flower hiding places.
  • Cone-nosed bug, or kissing bug, is parasitic on humans and other mammals – orange and black markings on the abdomen

Proficiencies include: capturing and feeding on a wide variety of prey including other bugs, bees, flies, and caterpillars.

Preferred method of capture:  Prey are captured and quickly stabbed with long mouthparts and immobilized by a paralyzing toxin, the prey’s body fluids are then consumed through the assassin bug’s straw-like mouthparts.

Bites from wheel bugs are immediately very painful, but treatment by a physician is not usually needed.


One thought on “Assassin Bugs: One of Your Garden Friends!

  1. This is another I have not heard of in a long time. They do not live here, but I believe that they are used in the almond orchards and other orchards of the San Joaquin Valley.

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