Assassinn Bugs are from the family Reduviidae in the Hemiptera Order. This order is known as the true bugs due in part to their piercing and sucking mouth parts. As characterized by this order Assassin Bugs also have the piercing and sucking mouth parts and are predators. By injecting lethal saliva into their victims they liquefy their innards and slurp it up through their straw like mouth parts.
These insects are generally dark in color and can produce a painful bite. Some have even been known to carry the chagas disease (mostly in Latin America). So why do you want them? As stated earlier these insects are voracious predators on many, many pests of your garden. Yet these poor insects are not understood very well, and are often times not numerous enough to have any noticeable effect on the populations of pests insects. They in face fall victim to many other predators themselves such as birds, small mammals and spiders. Also they fall victim to pesticides and insecticides that are sprayed to kill the pests they are in fact killing.
Most times when an insecticide is sprayed it is sprayed on a commercial crop to control a real problem. But when used by home gardeners this often times destroys natural predators and creates a bigger problem to begin with. Take for example your average small backyard garden. It has its own ecosystem going on where prey insects (your pests) are preyed upon by predators such as the Assassin bug. Now when you spray you not only knock out the pests but you also knock out the fewer in number Assassin bugs. Now if you don’t get all the pests in one go round or say a pest is resistant to the pesticide you are using you have caused a calamity. This is due to the fact not only do you have a pests that are still on your plants you now have no predators to control them. Karma can be a very bad thing indeed sometimes.
So what can you do? You can learn about the ecosystem of Assassin Bugs and where they like to frequent. Assassin Bugs as a whole will hunt on just about anything and being able to recognize them is a plus. But the biggest thing to help you Assassin bugs (and most of the other arthropod predators) is to not spray a blanket pesticide that kills everything. This interrupts your backyard ecosystem and destroys many balances. Also to help Assassin Bugs in particular you may want to look into hunting a few Praying Mantids down. These are large insects which will take on anything they can eat, and Assassin Bugs fall into this category. These aren’t bad bugs by any means, but they will eat good bugs that feed primarily on bad bugs such as the Assassin Bug species.
Learning to live with Assassin Bugs can be quite beneficial to you and the insects. Not only will you not destroy a much needed member of your backyard ecosystem but you will also allow more Assassin Bugs to flourish on your property and destroy harmful pests insects for seasons to come.