Assassin bug - general









They are relatively easy to identify as they have a skinny neck, small head and conspicuous proboscis or rostrum. One species of North America is sometimes called a “wheel bug” because of the wheel shaped plate on its back. The nymphs go through a number of wingless stages, becoming more like the adult with each moult. In some species the nymphs will cover themselves with the carcasses of their prey as a form of camouflage. Damsel bugs look a little like assassin bugs as they both have an obvious proboscis and a similar head. However, damsel bugs are much thinner and not as colourful. Damsel bugs also have raptorial forelegs (like a praying mantis). Species include: - ground assassin bug (Ectomocoris ornatus) - common assassin bug (Pristhesancus plagipennis) - orange assassin bug (Gminatus wallengreni)

Adult size: 4-30mm

Out and about

As they are predatory, assassin bugs will be about when their food source, namely other insects, are also around. They like warmer climates and in cooler areas the adults will over winter and emerge again in the spring. There at least 7,000 species found all over the world particularly in Europe, North America, Africa and Australia. They live in a vast range of habitats. Australia has more than 300 species widespread throughout the country.

Reproduction and Life cycle

The female does not need to have her eggs fertilised but if she does mate it is in the warmer months. She lays a cluster of upright, vase-shaped, brownish-orange eggs. In some species the male will guard the eggs until they hatch. In cooler climates the adults will lay dormant over winter.

To deter

To control

Plants to repel

Plants to attract

Plant to attract Alfalfa / Carrot / Oleander


Why they are Beneficial
Assassin bugs feed on many different insects and spiders, and will even cannibalize if there are not enough other insects about to prey on. Some species are specific to the prey they feed on. Both adults and nymphs are voracious predators, but unfortunately they are indiscriminate hunters so they will get good bugs as well as pests. They ambush their prey and then with their piercing proboscis they stab and inject saliva, causing the insides to turn to liquid which they then suck up.