Assassin Bug (Zelus longipes)

Order: Hemiptera (he-MIP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Reduviidae
Genus: Zelus
Species: longipes

Regional

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Jasper, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Orange Beach, Alabama
San Diego, California
Dunnellon, Florida
Homosassa, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Mary Esther, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Middleburg, Florida
North Port, Florida
Okeechobee, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Bossier City, Louisiana
La Place, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
Maurepas, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)
Johns Island, South Carolina
Moncks Corner, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Dallas, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Lampasas, Texas
Longview, Texas
Lumberton, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Pearland, Texas
Portland, Texas
Spring, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Show all

Members' Notes:

3
positives
1
neutral
2
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On May 26, 2007, LouisianaMark from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

These bugs reportedly eat other bugs, but I think they may also feed on my tomatoes. By mid-summer, large numbers of them can be found in overgrown fields and canal banks. They supposedly can bite, although I have never been bitten by one.

7/29/07 - Actually the ones on my tomatoes were probably leaf-footed bug nymphs. They look very similar to the assassin bug nymphs. And you are right Tess about them getting out of the way--they will crawl to the underside of a leaf the second they see you. Since I've been paying more attention, I've seen the assassin bugs eat other unwanted bugs. They are just about the only thing that will eat milkweed aphids. So, I no longer harass the little guys when I see them. The leaf footed bugs--well that's another story!

Negative

On Jul 18, 2007, serenity93 from Moncks Corner, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

My other research has left me with the conclusion that they do indeed bite. Apparently it stings severely, leaving a large welt with a red (blood) center.

Positive

On Jul 24, 2007, TessC from New Orleans, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I can tell you from personal experience that this guy will bite, and it was very nasty.

However, we have tons of these in the garden, and they much prefer to just get out of the way than bite. I've seen them take on bugs much larger than themselves- including a palmetto bug- and win!

I'll take the slight chance of a sting in excange for the guard duty they provide!

Negative

On Oct 4, 2007, on_off from Houston, TX wrote:

It's true, these little guys bite! I was sitting on my porch last evening, taking a much needed break after a long day to unwind. I felt something on my right arm. I'm thinking mosquitos, so I casually brushed off my right arm with my left hand. It was about one minute later that I felt the samething on my right leg. I knew that feeling wasn't a mosquito, so I immediately jumped up out of the porch chair and franticly started to stomp my feet to shake whatever it was off of me. While brushing my leg with my hands in a downward motion, I headed for the porch light and switched it on. To my amazement their were hundreds of these little guys all over my porch. I don't have any plants on the porch, only an unopened bag of soil. I'm thinking they obviously laid eggs somewhere near my home, I ... read more

Neutral

On Jun 14, 2008, Trumpanche from Dickinson, TX wrote:

They are pretty bugs, but one bit me on the hand when I accidentally squished it a little - it felt like a wasp sting and is swelling. I hope I live!

Positive

On May 28, 2009, blondhavmofun from Orlando, FL wrote:

this little guy may sting, but he has his benefits. i watched one catch a bee, and eat it. i do know to they eat caterpillars, i had a problem with that but that is the chain of life
debi