Masked bed bug hunters are a weird insect found all over southern Canada and the United States. After its success in Europe, it made its way to the United States just before the turn of the century.
Adults and juveniles are both carnivores that consume other insects like flies, carpet beetles, mealworms, and bedbugs.
What are Masked Bed Bug Hunters?
Originally from marshy areas, celery (Apium graveolens) has been a staple vegetable crop since ancient times. A celery stalk is lengthy and woody before it narrows into leaves.
Depending on climate and variety, the plant is harvested for its stalks, leaves, or hypocotyl, all of which are edible and put to culinary use. Powdered celery seeds are an excellent seasoning.
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Distribution of Masked Bed Bug Hunters
The range of the masked bed bug hunter extends all the way to the Holarctic.
It originated in Europe but has now spread over the Midwest and East Coast of the United States due to accidental introduction.
It also occurs in the high deserts of the Northwest United States, Eastern and Central Canada, and South Africa.
Facts About Masked Bed Bug Hunters
- There is usually no need for urgent medical intervention following an accidental bite.
- One species of assassin insect is known as the masked hunter (Reduvius personatus).
- Inside, masked hunters are nothing more than a bother.
- Though it originated in Europe, you may find it all over the eastern United States now, even in Minnesota.
- They can bite if handled roughly.
How to Identify Masked Bed Bug Hunters
It has long, slender antennae and a short, three-segmented beak. They range in length from 17 to 22 mm and have a uniform dark brown to black coloration as adults.
Their abdomen is wide, extending in the middle beyond the wings to display the lateral borders of their abdominal segments.
Dust, lint, and other microscopic particles stick to nymphs because of the sticky fluid they emit all over their body, including their antennae and all six legs.
Similar to the adult form, nymphs of this species have a dark coloring but may appear gray or even white due to a camouflage layer of detritus.
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Biology of Masked Bed Bug Hunters
- In the summer, masked hunters tend to stay inside.
- You can find these masked scavengers lurking around and even inside buildings.
- As a result of being drawn to lights, both adults and juveniles can find their way unintentionally indoors.
- They favor the great outdoors, particularly for settling down.
- They eat lacewings, sowbugs, earwigs, and other small insects and arthropods.
Lifecycle of Masked Bed Bug Hunters
Like all Hemiptera, masked hunters go through an incomplete metamorphosis.
Its nymphal phases, which resemble little adults, are named for this trait. In a typical year, there will be only one generation of masked hunter bugs.
It’s not uncommon to see adults around the middle of summer, but they’re also around during the winter.
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The Behavior of the Masked Bed Bug Hunters
R.’s Nymphs. Personatus create a camouflage substrate with their hind legs and a tarsal fan.
There is a finer particle layer developed in the center and a coarser particle layer on the outside. It’s possible that the nymphs’ long and short trichomes result from the development of these two distinct layers.
If a nymph has serrated setae on its abdomen, it may use them to help loosen the substrate so that it can better conceal itself.
To some extent, the nymph’s camouflage may help it evade discovery by both predators and prey. They go out at night and hunt for food, including bed bugs.
Both juveniles and adults are predators that use piercing and sucking mouthparts to consume other arthropods.
Small numbers of masked hunters can be seen infesting homes since they like dry environments.
How to Fend off Disguised Masked Bed Bug Hunters
The vast majority of reports include sightings of a single or a small group of masked hunters inside a single dwelling.
Eliminating these pests is as simple as:
- By physically removing them (capture them or trap in a jar and release them outdoors).
- Getting rid of them via vacuuming.
Use caution around disguised hunters; they may bite if they feel threatened. You should gently brush off a masked hunter if one lands on you.
Muzzled poachers shouldn’t need insecticides to be kept in check.
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Benefits of Masked Bed Bug Hunters
Indoors, masked hunters constitute a major disruption.
- They are not fabric or food damage eaters.
- They can’t have babies in enclosed spaces.
An attack from one of these masked hunters can hurt like hell.
- The good news is that they are not hostile to humans and don’t gorge on our blood.
- Their natural defense mechanism is biting if they feel threatened.
- The bite causes a sharp, burning sensation, similar to a bee sting, followed by numbness and swelling.
However, despite their close relationship to kissing bugs, which spread Chagas disease, masked hunters do not themselves carry any infectious agents.
Masked bed bug hunters are insects that feed on bed bugs, flies, and other insects. If you are bitten by a masked bed bugs hunter they are no need for an urgent medical check-up.
Going through this article, you will learn more about masked bed bug hunters, their facts, how to identify them, their life circle, their distribution, as well as their importance.