If the name of these creatures isn’t enough to get your attention, some of the disturbing things that they tend to do surely will be. Assassin bugs, or reduviidae, are found throughout the world, with over 135 species recognized in North America alone. Here are ten facts about these insects that you couldn’t make up if you tried.
Fact #1: Assassin bugs are also known as “kissing bugs.” This isn’t because they’re sweet. It’s because they like to bite the lips and eyes of humans while they sleep. Gross.
Fact #2: These bugs not only bite, but their “kiss” can spread a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can cause damage to major organs, lead to heart failure, and even be fatal.
Fact #3: The appearance of these bugs can vary, from 4 to 40 mm in size and different colors and shapes. This depends on the species.
Fact #4: The mouths of kissing bugs are formed for the piercing and sucking of juices from its victim’s body. Their beak has a tube inside that allows it to transfer its poisonous saliva.
Fact #5: A reduviidae can kill a cockroach in 3-4 seconds and a caterpillar in just 10 seconds.
Fact #6: The front legs of an assassin bug are also designed for its predatory activities. They provide a strong grip on its prey and have sticky pads on thousands of tiny hairs.
Fact #7: Females are the best hunters because they need more protein in their diet in order to lay eggs.
Fact #8: Assassin bugs can be devious hunters, using the bodies of dead prey to attract new victims.
Fact #9: When born, these bugs are wingless nymphs and have to grow and molt four times before reaching adult insect size.
Fact #10: Kissing bugs perform what is called external digestion. They inject their toxins into their victim’s body, wait for the body contents of their prey to liquefy, and then suck out the contents with their straw-like mouth parts.
Kissing Bugs in Your Home
As if that list wasn’t disturbing enough, the final insult is that these guys are pretty prevalent. Often, they will nest in the woods near rodents and other insects but they are also attracted to humans and the bright lights of houses at night. As they work their way into your home, they’ll find a cool, dark place to hide during the day and then come out at night in search of food. They’ve been known to hide between mattresses.
Keeping these bugs out of your home requires sealing up the home against pests and securing your perimeter. Screens on doors and windows, as well as bug-safe light bulbs, are a help as well. Pest control for these creatures is always recommended as their bite can dangerous. Worried about assassin bugs? Call Horizon Pest Control at 888.612.2847 today!