Assassin bug (Family: Reduviidae). These “true bugs” (Order: Hemiptera) are often misidentified as pest insects. The tip of their proboscis (the pokey mouth-part thing) differentiates them from similar bugs. There is a special groove where the proboscis sits that can be used for sound production through stridulating (rubbing things together to make a noise). Obviously, that’s difficult to see when looking in your garden. Assassin bugs typically look like they have a “neck,”with thick antennae that are not clubbed but quite long.
These insects are ambush (or sit-and-wait) predators. Rarely seen in large numbers, they’re very beneficial in a garden because they are voracious predators and feed on large insects, including stink bugs, caterpillars, and beetles.
Depending on your area, these are generally active spring through fall.
You can find this family of insects in all temperate and tropical zones around the world.
Why: Like with all insects, assassin bugs are attracted to areas with plenty of resources such as water, food, and shelter. Some species are grown for biological controls, but remember—they have wings! So if you’re placing them outdoors, many will fly off.
Having plenty of foliage and ground covering, such as large mulch, can attract all sorts of beneficial insects, including assassin bugs.
Assassin bugs are amazing predators. However, it’s important to note that they should not be handled. They feed on other insects by injecting venom or digestive juices, so they have a nasty bite! They’re not overly aggressive, but I don’t recommend trying to pet one.