The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hooray for the Assassin Bugs!

Last summer I made one of the most important discoveries of gardening ever! At least for me. Assassin bugs. You see, we don't use chemicals of any kind in our garden and some years we are just overrun with bugs chomping, chomping and chomping.
Well, last year this really creepy bug came along - and there were lots of them. At first, I squished them. Then I decided I needed to figure out what they were. I had never heard of an assassin bug. 
I read what I could find in my gardening books, then I did an internet search with images. Cute, huh? I found out they are very beneficial insects, so I quit squishing them. And after a while, I decided they weren't so creepy after all.

For some reason these bugs liked to congregate on a couple of my pepper plants. Across the garden I had a squash plant that was just covered in squash bugs so I thought I would do an experiment. I went out one morning and gathered up about 20 assassin bugs in a jar (I wore gloves, of course!) and dumped them out on the squash plant. I had no idea whether or not it would work, but a few days later, the squash bugs were almost entirely gone.

What a great discovery! Well, this spring, I have been watching for their return. A friend saw a weird little bug on my porch last week that I thought might be an immature or nymph assassin bug so I did another internet search that confirmed that it was. But I still don't have a lot of confidence in my knowledge and ability to identify some insects.

I know the squash bugs are here because I have seen a few and this morning I began finding their eggs on my squash plants. (See the gloves? I don't like to touch bugs!)

So I went on a more detailed search through the garden and found and squished about 20 squash bugs. I picked off the leaves that had the eggs on them and fed them to the chickens. 

And then, in the midst of my search, there was that weird little bug again. And guess what? He was eating a worm! Yahoo! The assassin bugs are back!

It's funny the things we get excited about. I never thought I would be so happy to see such a creepy little bug!

Until next time - Fern


  1. Hi Ya'll,
    Just found your blog through the link at Rural Revolution. I've added it to my favorites!

    I'll be looking for assassin bugs, 'cause I sure have the squash bugs!


  2. I just found you via Patrice Lewis' blog. Our family will be moving to our homestead this summer. I have added your blog to my blog roll. I can't wait to see what all you have to say about farming.


  3. The little assassin bug u speak about particularly the bug in last photo on this page has made its way to my gigantic beautiful blueberry bushes. I have seen several n thought they wer bad bugs I thumped them off the leaves. What is this particular bug called, & I hope they don't hurt my blueberries as I do not use pesticides or petroleum fertilizers. I try to keep to organics

    1. There are many bugs that go by the name of assassin bug. Their appearance may be a little different from place to place, but they belong to the same group. The last picture is a nymph, or immature version of our assassin bugs. This group of bugs only eats other bugs, not vegetation, so having them around your blueberries is probably a good thing. I always welcome them every year when they show up. Here is a link that will give you more information. I hope it helps.