Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. Extension Entomologist
Some residents have discovered masked hunters in their homes recently. A masked hunter is a ½ - 5/8 inch long, dark colored insect. It has a moderate sized body with slender legs and medium length antennae. A masked hunter, a type of assassin bug, gets it name from the fact that the immature nymphs cover themselves with dust and debris to help conceal themselves, thus becoming camouflaged. Both adults and nymphs are predators, feeding on other insects.
Photo 1: Masked hunter. Jeff Hahn
Masked hunters are only nuisances when they are found in homes. However, they are known to bite people to protect themselves if they are mishandled or accidently trapped against the skin. In fact, I received a couple of reports of bites this spring. Bites can cause some pain but they are usually short-lived.
If you see a masked hunter in your home, the only necessary control is to physically remove the insect. Because of the potential of bites be careful when picking them up. You can protect yourself by placing a jar or some sort of container over the masked hunter and then sliding a piece of paper under it. Now you can flip the jar without the insect escaping and you can release the insect outside. Because masked hunters are infrequently encountered, it is not necessary to use insecticides to protect your home from them.