Chris DeWildt

November 14, 2018 4 min read
November 14, 2018
4 min read

Beneficial Organism Profile: Assassin Bugs

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In this series of articles, Growers Network discusses a few beneficial organisms you can use to benefit your Cannabis grow. Today’s Topic: Assassin Bugs.

The following is an article produced by a contributing author. Growers Network does not endorse nor evaluate the claims of our contributors, nor do they influence our editorial process. We thank our contributors for their time and effort so we can continue our exclusive Growers Spotlight service.

Hello growers! Hopefully your crop is healthy and green. Question: Are you using any beneficials as part of your pest control program? Did you know that you can use assassin bugs to protect your plants from pests? True story!

Quick Look

Scientific Name: Insects of the family Reduviidae (variety of different species)
Common Name: Assassin Bugs / Ambush Bugs
How They Help: Predatory insects, target undesirable pests.

Assassin for your Hash-un

Assassin bugs are true bugs of the order Hemiptera in the family Reduviidae. They generally have a narrow neck and head, a large, fang-like proboscis, and overall sturdy appearance. Their coloration is generally a variation of brown, green, red, and black. Some of the most identifiable assassin bugs are milkweed assassin bugs, with very distinctive red and black coloration.

A variety of different assassin bugs. Note the similar head, neck, and leg morphology.

Editor’s Note: There are a wide variety of assassin bugs in the wild, that can look very different depending on where you live. Additionally, assassin bugs can also look very different depending on what stage of their life cycle they are in. Even in my state of Arizona, there is a wide swathe of different assassin bugs.

How Assassin Bugs Help

Assassin bugs ambush their prey and then inject it with a mixture of venom and digestive juices. This venom essentially liquefies their prey’s internal organs, and the assassin bug happily drinks away the prey’s insides.

Life cycle of an assassin bug.

Assassin bugs target a large variety of small to medium sized bugs, including leafhoppers, aphids, caterpillars, and other bugs. If you’re worried about a bug problem, these guys will come and hunt them down.

However, be warned! If you are using other beneficial insects, assassin bugs will hunt them down as well. They will eat any and all bugs they can find!

So there it is, assassin bug basics. While there are many pest control options available, beneficials such as the assassin bug add a layer of organic defense when pesticides just won’t cut it due to safety and regulations, and this is especially important with a medicinal plant like Cannabis. They respond as the situation in your grow changes.

Happy growing!

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About the Author

Hunter Wilson is a community builder with Growers Network. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2011 with a Masters in Teaching and in 2007 with a Bachelors in Biology.