Description of masked hunters
The masked hunter is a moderately rare insect in the conenose or assassin bug group. The bugs in this group are predators; they feed on other insects by puncturing them with a sharp beak and sucking out the body fluids. The masked hunter is a household insect and lives indoors feeding on insects that are present. Masked hunters are not a serious pest, although they are annoying and a nuisance. In addition, they will bite people when handled or disturbed. The bite may be painful, but it is not usually serious or life threatening.
Damage caused by masked hunters
The masked hunter name refers to a habit of the nymphs (the immature bugs). As they crawl about, they become camouflaged with dust that sticks to their bodies. This dust and fuzz that they carry provides an effective disguise and a means of escaping detection. Both the adults and the smaller-sized nymphs can bite, and both feed on other insects.
Management of masked hunters
Control of masked hunters is the same as for other more common insects such as cockroaches. An effort should be made to vacuum clean cracks, crevices and corners where the insects are noticed. The ready-to-use household insecticides can then be lightly applied to these likely hiding places. For more information on insecticides please see this article. Masked hunters found walking about the house should be carefully picked up and discarded.