Bee Hunter – Apiomerus spp.
Bee Assassin Bugs
Common Name: Bee Killers Bugs and Bee Assassin Bugs.
Appearance: Apiomerus is the largest genera in the family Reduviidae, having 110 species. Bee assassin bugs are 12-20 mm long insects, usually having blackish-brown color with red markings or yellow markings. They have segmented antennae with the second comblike segment. Head, thorax, and legs are covered with short hairs.
Host Plants or Food: Especially feed on Bees but are general feeders and also feed on beetles, caterpillars, flies, and mosquitoes.
Territory: Throughout the United States except Pacific Northwest.
Mode of Damage: They prey on different plant pests, so they are considered Beneficial Garden Insect
Habits and Life History:
- Bee assassin bugs are usually found in meadows, gardens, field crops, mountains, deserts, and coastal regions.
- Females use plant resins to coat their legs and search for prey. When they capture the prey, it gets stuck within the resin. These resins are also used by female bee assassin bugs in maternal care.
- Like other members of Hemiptera, Bee assassin bugs also undergo a simple life cycle: Eggs, Nymph and Adult.
- Female lays eggs in warm season on the surface of leave or stem that are stuck to them.
- Nymphs come out after hatching and undergo molting 4 times. Some species are reported to molt up to 7 times also. Nymphs are also voracious predators like their adults.
- The last instar matures into a winged adult.
- Bee assassin bees have 1 generation per year.