“United we stand, divided we fall.” This is the slogan aphids go by. When they stand united, they stand against what? Unfortunately, your dear plants. These aphids are small insects with soft bodies that are unable to inflict much harm alone.
However, what they lack in strength, they make up for in number. So, should you battle them with insecticides? That’s a thought. But there’s a better alternative solution: fighting fire with fire.
There’s another infamous insect called the “assassin bug.” A pretty mighty name if you ask me. But do assassin bugs eat aphids? Let’s see!
Do Assassin Bugs Eat Aphids?
The answer to that will be yes. Assassin bugs are classified under the generalist predator category. This means they feed on a whole variety of other pests throughout their lifespan, including aphids.
Should I Use the Help of Assassin Bugs in Combating Aphids?
Letting assassin bugs do the job for you can be better than doing it yourself. That’s because it limits pesticides, which will spare you their side effects and their costs.
This process of introducing insect-predators to eliminate pests is known as biological pest control. More on that later.
Foremost, you should be able to identify the assassin bug. You don’t want to shoot the security guards protecting your property mistakenly, do you?
What Does This Assassin Bug Look Like?
Whether it’s a big caterpillar or a small aphid, the assassin bug can eat whatever comes it’s way. All thanks to its scimitar-like beak that’s apparent on its head. This beak is actually called a “rostrum,” and it’s strongly curved, making it characteristic of this bug.
Regarding its color, it’s mostly dark brown or black. Also, there’s a specific type of assassin bug that can be particularly easy to identify: the wheel bug. This type has a distinctive wheel perched on its back.
How Do Assassin Bugs Eat Aphids?
Assassin bugs use their beaks to introduce dissolving secretions to the body of their prey. Then, they suck the juice out of them.
Be cautious, though; assassin bugs can also use their beaks to bite you if you decide to bother them!
What if an Assassin Bug Bit Me?
Due to the dissolving secretion, the bite will hurt a bit. At first, there will be a burning sensation. Then, a lump will form at the bite site and last there for a couple of days. The bite introduces no toxins, so it isn’t that dangerous.
However, these bugs might be confused with kissing bugs. This type is more alarming, as the bugs carry Chagas disease. Kissing bugs are identifiable from assassin bugs by their pear-shaped body and orange spots.
All in all, the benefits of assassin bugs outweigh their risks. So, let’s see how to attract them!
How to Attract and Keep Assassin Bugs?
One way to attract assassin bugs is by installing lights in your garden.
These lights won’t only serve to attract assassin bugs; they’ll also attract a whole multitude of insects. This will provide a battleground where assassin bugs can rid you of pesky pests.
There are a couple more things you can do.
Making Assassin Bugs Feel at Home
Providing water and shelter for assassin bugs is essential for their attraction. You can install a shallow pool of water in the garden for that purpose.
In doing so, remember to put small rocks in that pool. This way, the bugs will have a foothold and will be able to drink without drowning.
Regarding the shelter, there are a number of plants that are known to attract assassin bugs. These plants include:
- Ornamental trees
Stopping Chemical Pest Control
If you’re to use assassin bugs, you have to drop using chemical insecticides. Ceasing the use of insecticides will give a chance for assassin bugs to do their thing.
Downsides of Using Assassin Bugs to Kill Aphids
Although biological pest control has its advantages, it may have a drawback or two.
First, predators can attack other beneficial insects (good bugs) that may exist. But this isn’t that common. Second, there are some ethical concerns around introducing species in an area in which they’re not native.
Generally speaking, biological pest control is way more beneficial than it’s harmful. Besides, it’s acceptable in the eyes of the government’s organic standards.
Final Words on Assassin Bugs
Aphids are among the peskiest pests out there. They thrive on your plant by sucking the juice out of it, making it meet its demise. Spraying your plants with insecticides is the conventional way of dealing with such problems.
However, using biological pest control can be just as effective. At the same time, it’s less dangerous and costly. One of the beneficial predators that can rid your plants of their aphids is the assassin bug. This bug feeds on a spectrum of harmful insects, not just aphids.
With the expertise of assassin bugs by your side, you’re sure to emerge victorious against these aphids!