Masked Hunter Bed Bugs

Masked hunter bed bugs. It can be difficult to be an expert on all of the insects in the world. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert on all of them! When you come across an insect that you don’t know what to do about, all you have to do is find the right person to call.

We’ve made it our mission to be the masters of the insects that live in Greater Philadelphia, PA, and we’re proud of it. The masked hunter is a bug that you may have never heard of, and today we’re going to talk about it.

Masked hunter (Reduvius personatus)

The family Reduvidae, or Assassin Bugs, is a group of active and ambitious hunters that stalk insect prey and will go after creatures that are bigger than they are. Masked Hunters belong to the order Hemiptera (True Bugs), which belongs to the family Reduvidae.

Their catch is stabbed with their short beak (rostrum) and injected with powerful chemicals that both paralyze and soften their innards, allowing them to be slurped out.

Bugs called “Kissing Bugs” are part of a sub-family of Assassin bugs (but not the Masked Hunter’s group) that is full with image uncertainty.

They are infamous disease transmitters, feeding on the blood of mammals, including people, and they pierce through the delicate skin on their victim’s face, often without their victim knowing.

These kissing bugs, which resemble the Masked Hunter and have a family relationship to Chagas disease in Central and South America, spread the horribly disfiguring and potentially fatal disease.

Masked Hunters are insect-eating bedbugs, and as a result of the convenience of international travel, the bad news is that they are becoming more common in major cities all over the globe.

The bad news is that they are persistent, and according to certain sources, they are nearly solely bedbug eaters, hence if you have the bug, perhaps you should look for the bug!

(Masked Hunters eat tiny bedbug-like creatures known as Swallow bugs, which reside in nest colonies of Swallows.)

Masked Hunters, sowbugs, lacewings, flies, carpet and grain beetles, and earwigs have all been drawn to the BugLady’s front porch by the light on early summer evenings, where they may be seen on their dinner plates alongside hundreds of other insects.


Life History

The masked hunter feeds on bed bug eggs, carpet and hide beetle larvae, as well as a variety of overwintering arthropods in Pennsylvania, where he lives in buildings and eats other house-infesting arthropods.

During the day, the hooded hunters hunt nocturnally, hiding in safe, dry places such as under heat registers, behind cabinets and cupboards, or inside wall voids and attics. Each year has one generation.

The presence of the hidden hunter, who preys on other animals and depletes their populations, might be considered a beneficial household member by some.

They would be incorrect in their assumptions. For these additional unwelcome visitors, the masked hunter is an ineffective elimination strategy.

Moreover, if mishandled or trapped between clothing and skin, the masked hunter will bite readily, according to most accounts. The bite is defined as excruciating. USDA entomologist L. married in 1899. One of the main problems with this is that The following is how Howard characterized it:

The intense pain caused by this species’ bite makes it stand out. I’m not sure if it ever willingly plunges its rostrum (mouthpart) into anyone, but when caught or mishandled, it always stings (pierces).

The discomfort in this situation is almost similar to that of a snake bite, and it may last for up to a week due to the inflammation and irritation that develop. It can be deadly in extremely weak and irritated constitutions.

How to identify masked hunters

Adult masked hunter.

-Has a tiny head with short, stocky beak and moderate-length antennae.
-Dark brown to black and elongate oval in shape.
-It grows to be almost 3/4 of an inch long when fully mature, with fully developed wings that cover its body.

Immature masked hunter.

Since the juvenile masked hunter wears dust and debris on its body to disguise itself, it is given this moniker.

Walking mounds of dust and fluff can also appear.
-It’s smaller and hasn’t fully developed wings, similar to an adult.
They have a grayish or whitish appearance due to the dust, lint, and other debris that coats them.
They’re light brown in color without the dust and lint.

Signs of an infestation

These animals are difficult to spot because of their ability to camouflage. Crawlspaces, beneath heat registers, in cabinets, and other locations where large numbers of insects may be found are the best places to look for masked hunters.


Masked hunters are a nuisance when found indoors.

-They do not reproduce inside buildings.
-They don’t consume or destroy textiles if they’re placed in storage.
-Masked hunters can cause a painful bite.

-They’ll bite to defend themselves if they’re jostled or grabbed.
-There is a stinging sensation followed by numbing and swelling.
-They are, thankfully, non-aggressive and do not eat human blood.
-Masking hunters do not transmit any illness, despite their link to kissing bugs, which transmit Chagas disease.

Habitat, Diet, and Life Cycle



These insects prefer dry climates and are frequently found in barns and garages. Masked hunters often hide in attics and crawlspaces where they can easily blend in and search for food if they make their way inside homes.


While they will consume other insects and mites, masked hunters’ primary food sources are bed bugs and carpet beetles. Using their distinct mouthparts to suck out their victims’ bodily fluids, they are able to ambush them with their masking skills.

Life Cycle.

masked hunters lay eggs in a group or individually, usually producing one generation per year. While they lack wings, nymphs look like adults and have microscopic hair.

Masked Hunter Bug Bite

If humans are handled or trapped between their clothing and their skin, masked hunters will bite them. It’s nice to know that if you’re ever bitten by one of them, they don’t feed on blood or transmit diseases.

When they bite you, their teeth are known to inflict severe discomfort. You’ll want to keep an eye on the region of the bite if you’re bitten by a masked hunter. You should seek medical care if the afflicted region begins to swell excessively.

Effects on Humans

When handled or trapped, masked hunters deliver a bite similar to a bee’s. Swelling may last for up to a week after a bite. They may be discovered in households with bed bug infestations because they feed on a broad range of arthropods.

The bed bug problem may typically be managed to regulate them.



Remove other indoor insects before attempting to control masked hunter bugs. The main food of these insects is masked hunter bugs, which they attract. Insects cannot enter the house through caulk, screen, and seal openings.

In addition, to get rid of any materials that may attract insects, vacuuming and crevices are used.

Capture insects that do manage to get indoors with sticky cardboard traps (sold as glue boards and cockroach hotels in discount, hardware, and grocery stores).

Both masked hunter bugs and the insects on which they feed are usually killed by most indoor insecticide sprays. Masked hunter bugs or other insects may hide in pipes, attics, and any other places.

Sprays leave residuals that can last four to twelve weeks. Make sure to follow the directions on whatever product you choose to use in order to get the most out of it.

Handle With Care!

While humans are not attacked by Masked Hunters and their kin, if manhandled they may defend themselves effectively.

Eaton and Kaufman describe a poke that is described as “excruciating” by Eaton and Kaufman in their Field Guide to Insects of North America. The same beak that is so deadly to their prey can deliver it.

Other analogies include being described as resembling a snakebite, causing severe faintness and vomiting, and causing chronic swelling, blood blisters, and discomfort.

True story! The “Kissing Bug Scare of 1899” These guys (or their relatives, the Black Corsairs, depending on sources) had a population boom in the northeast and entered houses in large numbers, causing bites as people brushed them away from their faces. This is said to have triggered Google it!)

Assassin bugs rest their beak/rostrum in a short, ridged grove between their forelegs when they aren’t feeding, which causes their heads to bend slightly downward. By rubbing the beak-tip across these ridges, they may create sound. There’s more stridulation going on here.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why do I have masked hunters?

Dry spots, such as barns and garages, are preferred by masked hunters. They prefer to hunt for food in attics, crawl spaces, under heat registers, and cupboards if they enter into homes.

They ambush their prey using their peculiar mouthparts to suck out the victim’s body fluids, eating bed bugs, carpet beetles, and other insects and mites.

How worried should I be about masked hunters?


Being a symptom of a bigger infestation, masked hunters feed on other pest insects. Carpet beetles may damage garments and cause skin problems, whereas bed bugs are annoying blood suckers.

It’s recommended to contact a professional pest extermination agency since they may inflict a severe bite if handled incorrectly.

Quick facts

-An assassin bug called the masked hunter (Reduvius personatus).
It was formerly found in Europe, but is now widely distributed throughout the eastern United States, particularly Minnesota.
-Masked hunters are just a nuisance indoors.
-If handled carelessly, they can bite people.
-If you get an unintentional bite, it is unlikely to cause any illness.

Assassin bug

Characteristics of assassin bugs

They range in size from 0.2 to 1.6 inches (5 to 40 mm). The body fluids of its victims are sucked by an assassin bug, which uses its short three-segmented beak to pierce them. The beak is bent and fits in a groove between the front legs, which is a characteristic of the family.

Assassin bugs come in a variety of colors, despite the fact that they are black or dark brown. The majority of the family’s members are insectivorous and dwell outside.

Nonetheless, some creatures, such as humans, suck blood and transmit illnesses by biting vertebrates.

Predatory behaviour

Assassin bugs torment a wide range of other insects while performing predatory actions. Humans may be bitten by the black corsair (Melanolestes picipes), a black-colored bug that is about 13 to 20 mm (0.5 to 0.8 inch) long and generally discovered under stones and bark.

If a human is threatened, the masked hunter (also known as Reduvius personatus) will bite them, causing discomfort and localised swelling.

During the immature stages, when the body, legs, and antennae are covered in sticky hairs that catch pieces of lint and dust, the masked hunter is well known for its ability to camouflage itself as a ball of dust.

Adults, which may be up to 22 mm (0.87 inch) long, prey on insects like bedbugs and flies in dwellings, and are brownish black in color.

The masked hunter was initially a Central European species that spread across the United States and Canada as a result of an unintentional introduction.

Members of the Triatominae subfamily, also known as triatomine insects or kissing insects, are some of the most well-known assassin bugs.

The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, is carried by some triatomine bug species, particularly members of the genera Panstrongylus, Rhodnius, and Triatoma.

Triatomines may live under rocks and bark, in animal nests, and in human dwellings.

In North America, Triatoma rubrofasciata, an Old World species, has been discovered in houses as well as chicken coops and other buildings.

In South and Central America, Rhodnius prolixus is a major vector of Chagas disease. In insect physiology and disease study, it has also been widely used.

Apiomerus is one of the biggest genera in the Reduviidae family, and it includes species known as bee assassins or bee killers. Apiomerus species coat their legs with sticky plant resins and wait for prey on flowering plants.

Assassins may capture other insects, notably bees, with the help of sticky resins. Some Apiomerus species seem to rely on plant resins for maternal care.