Saturday, May 5, 2012


It was a case of mistaken identity.  The creature with a license to kill somehow took me for its intended target, despite the fact that it is about a quarter of an inch long and I am 5'3". I also outweigh both it and its intended victim by ... I'll just say a considerable fraction.

The victim: an innocent gardener, no enemy to predatory insects or their bloodthirsty way of life.

The bite: reported by the victim as similar to a yellow jacket sting, but not as long lasting.  Surprisingly powerful considering the small size of the suspect. 

The suspect: Assassin bug.  Species unknown.  The suspect was not apprehended and fled from the scene, aided - ironically - by the victim (with a flick of the fingernail accompanied by a shout of "Ugh! Get off me!").  Suspect is believed to be a member of a large gang of various species of assassin bugs.  An associate was previously photographed on the premises (see above).  Current suspect is believed to be a similar species.  Victim unfortunately unable to identify more specifically than "small and brown with a narrow head and large abdomen."  Under stress, victim is prone to not taking much notice of identification details of small insects, despite exhibiting reasonable observational skills at other times. 

Extenuating circumstances:  Victim admits that suspect somehow or other got trapped under victim's shirt.  It may have been self-defense.


  1. Ouch!! I've never heard of them attacking people! I hope it heals quickly.

    1. Thanks! Pretty much gone already by the next day. I don't *think* it was lying in wait for me. I'm pretty sure it was a defensive bite because it got trapped.

  2. I was recently bitten by an assassin bug in southern queensland Australia.
    Ive only just discovered what it was, But at the time of it happened, it felt a lot like someone stabbing a red hot needle into my skin then shooting it up my arm, followed by the sensation of hot water being poured onto my skin the whole length of my forearm. Ive been bitten by spiders and bee's and different species of bull ants and biting ants before, But this tops the pain from any insect bite Ive had. The burning pain continued for hours and then I had throbbing pains up my arm, my fingers went pins and needles like, and then I had funny tight breathing pains.. My house mate decided to take me to the hospital just to be sure. And they just gave me some pain relief and allergy medication.
    I was left with the same mark as what was on your arm. looked just like a blood blister and itchy as all hell for weeks after. It turned into a blister with fluid in it, and it popped, then it scabbed up and that turned into a festering wound then its healed again. Im now left with a lump and a scar where I was bitten. I can only find one other photo on the net of the same looking species here in australia as the one that stung me. But Its very interesting to read about different stories.

  3. You may also have "chagas" symptoms 20 to 30 years from now. How to destroy those microscopic parasites that may be flowing through your systems is anybody's guess.

  4. I was bitten/skewered by an assassin bug just last week on the job. I was sent to the occupational medicine (walk-in) clinic. The personnel, including a physician and a physician's assistant (P.A.), did not know what an assassin/kissing bug is, despite that they are endemic to Georgia and other southeastern states. Never heard of Chagas disease, despite a substantial minority of assassin bugs submitted for analysis testing positive for the Chagas parasite.
    Had no idea of the nature of the assassin bug's "bite," which is by hypodermic needle-proboscis, which it sticks through the skin immediately upon striking ("landing"), then injecting a saliva that is anticoagulant and sucking the blood. As soon as it begins sucking blood, it defecates on the victim. If the victim slaps the varmint off or scratches, he may drag the feces across the wound, which will not coagulate due to the anticoagulant. If the Chagas parasite is present in the feces, it can then migrate through the blood "soup" and follow the wound channel into the blood or the interstitial fluid that bathes the cells.
    40-60% show no further signs of the parasite once possible initial low fever and pain subsides.
    This nasty invasion is responsible for at least 10-12,000 deaths in Latin America, plus a likely many thousands more that are not identified as Chagas, or from other diseases that progress due to the weakening of the immune system by the Chagas parasite.
    Because this is a parasite and not a bacterium, fungus or virus, it is very difficult to treat effectively. Then, as the effects commonly subside soon, the victim does not continue medical treatment since he "feels fine." Then, 20-50 years later, the parasite population explodes, killing the victim and no one knows why in many cases.

  5. We have several varieties here in CA as well...locally known as "the kissing bug" because it bites soft membrane around the mouth of those asleep. You must keep screens on open windows because these bad bugs fly in at night. I have seen elongated black bodies and rounder green ones referred to as the "cone nose." They all have that sucking tube on the front which is unmistakable. I have been bitten and it is VERY painful; the poison can be fatal not to mention Chagas.