Many everyday occurrences in the bug world sound like science fiction. Unsuspecting hosts eaten alive by internal parasites, broken legs that regenerate, and females who eat their mates… I strongly suspect sci-fi writers found much inspiration for novels while reading about bugs.
Take for instance, the fascinating assassin bug, which lies in ambush awaiting its hapless prey. The victim is taken by surprise when the assassin bug grabs it and stabs it with immobilizing poison. This venom liquefies the insides of the prey so the assassin bug can suck up its contents…WHILE it’s alive. Blech! Makes me glad not to be an unsuspecting aphid!
Assassin bugs are called “beneficial insects” by us humans (which means they are welcome in the garden). However, it should be noted that beneficial insects themselves do not discriminate between “good bugs” and “bad bugs.” This means you might see an assassin bug eating a ladybug or a bee.
Now that you know what an assassin bug looks like, perhaps you’ll find one in your garden. If you do, please take a photo and send it my way. Just remember, assassin bugs are busy, hungry creatures that prefer not to be handled by humans. Do not try to pick them up. Their proboscis can stab right through your skin, and I’ve read it hurts and causes welts that linger for days. Knowledge is power, so have no fear when you spot an assassin bug. I’ve had them in my garden for years and never had a problem.