Name: Reduvius personatus

Alias: The masked hunter, or bed bug hunter, is not native to the United States. It is thought to originally have come from Europe. Adults are long, black bugs with small, narrow heads. The wings are teardrop shaped and lay over the top of each other. Nymphs are usually smaller, and they love to cover themselves in dirt or sand. They have long, piercing-sucking mouthparts for feeding on other insects. In nature, they prefer dead and decaying litter such as leaves or rotting logs. In the colder months, they prefer to stay indoors in cool or conditions, such as in cabinets, attics and under sinks. They are nocturnal and prefer to stay hidden during the daytime.

Crimes: This species has a terrible bite, which is often compared to a snake bite. Although it is not as toxic as a rattlesnake, the irritation can last for a week. They like to invade homes during the winter months

Redeeming Qualities: They prey on harmful insects as well. They are most famous for feeding on bed bugs. However, they are more of a symptom of the presence of other pests. They cannot be depended on to control them.

Sentence: Do not touch or handle these insects without proper training. As mentioned above, they are a symptom of bigger problems. Usually if you take care of the other creepy-crawlies around your house they will move elsewhere. Many insecticides with a pyrethroid base are labeled to control these masked hunters and are quite effective.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-745-6685 or email

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