Assassin Bug (a.k.a. Wheel Bug) Bite Treatment
Yesterday, I was outside hanging clothes on the line, Jada and Ty were with me playing a few feet away. I heard Jada laugh and say, “Hey Ty! Come here and look at this funny bug!” I glanced over to see them crouching down examining some small critter climbing on a blade of grass.
It didn’t even cross my mind to see what it was they were looking at. I figured they’d seen all of the bugs we have around the house, and knew which ones not to mess with.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Titus pick up the bug. Jada screamed as he began to chase her with it, but within a split second I heard my little guy yell, “OWWW!” and then it was his own scream I was hearing. I dropped what I was doing and rushed over to him in time to see him throw the bug down and try to stomp on it as he cried hysterically.
Now, Titus cries like any other four year old does, but he never screams and cries like he did. I immediately knew he was hurt bad. And when I saw the bug that had bitten him, I was extremely concerned, to say the least. I thought I recognized what it was, but wasn’t absolutely positive, so I ran inside to get a jar and rushed back out to capture it before it scurried away. I knew I’d need it for positive identification if we had to head to the emergency room.
I picked Titus up and rushed him indoors. If this bug was what I thought it was, he was in some major pain. The first thing I did was what I always do when any of us gets a bite or a sting- I wiped his swelling thumb with an antiseptic wipe, got out the snake bite kit (The Extractor), and sucked the red mark hoping to remove some of the venom. He continuted to cry, and asked me through big tears, “Why did God make those bugs?!” To which Jada decided to answer, “He had to have had some reason for making it!” Which didn’t help Ty at the moment.
I washed his hand good with soap and water. He complained that it felt “like a sword was getting him”. Poor little thing!
I gave him a piece of ice to hold on the bite while I jumped on the phone and called my husband, who used to be in pest control.
“Hey! What are those bugs that we used to have at our old place, that curl up under leaves and have a terrible bite?” I asked him, trying to hide the concern in my voice.
“Oh, Assassin Bugs. They’re also called Wheel Bugs.” He replied knowledgeably.
“I think Titus just got bit by one.” I said.
Tension immediately flowed through the phone line as Jerry asked if I think I ought to take him to the emergency room. I told him I was gonna look it up online and make sure that’s what it was first.
A quick search brought up an image that matched the ugly insect in the jar before me. It was indeed an Assassin Bug. The Wheel Bug variety, one of the worst of the various types. I continued reading about what to do if bitten by one.
These bugs are bad. Really bad. Their bite hurts 10x worse than a wasp or a hornet’s sting. And the pain can last for several weeks or even months. I read all kinds of horrible reactions he could have, including a swelling throat which would require an epinephrine shot within 15 minutes.
When I read this I jumped on the phone to call my grandma who is allergic to bees. I wondered if she might have an epi pen on hand, but unfortunately she didn’t. I was left to worry about how I’d get him to an emergency room in time to give him the shot, should he need one. (Note to self: Get an epi pen!)
I went back into the kitchen where he was sitting and told him to let me know if his throat started to feel funny. He said, “It does.” I tried to soften my concerned expression as I said, “Now buddy, you have to be really serious ’cause if you tell me your throat feels weird I’m gonna take you to the hospital.” To which he replied, “It does feel weird.” I asked him what it felt like. “Like a tree fell on my throat, and it’s bleeding,” he casually explained as he munched away on a cucumber. I figured he was fine since he was eating. And he was.
His thumb, on the other hand, was not fine. It was red and swelling. I decided to have him soak it in a bowl of warm water with Epsom Salt for several minutes. He said it felt a little better, but it still hurt.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Plantain!!! I hurried outside to the garden where I knew of a big Plantain plant growing beside the tomato bed, and picked a large leaf off of it. After bringing it inside and washing it off, I chewed it up a bit and placed it on Ty’s sore thumb. Then, holding the wet green glob directly on the bite, I wrapped it with gauze and secured it with tape.
An hour and a half later Titus was back to his normal self, playing as if nothing had happened, and claiming to be pain free. I took the bandage off to find that the swelling was completely gone, and his thumb looked perfectly normal again! Only a red dot where the puncture had occurred remained.
I figured the pain would return after a while, but I am SO thankful to be able to say that it was gone for good. Praise the LORD for his healing herbs!!
I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved and grateful I was that he was okay and pain free. Especially knowing how bad it could have been. I kept checking on him through the night to make sure he was still okay. You know us moms, we always fear the worst!
Anyways, I thought I’d share what worked for us just in case anyone is doing their own emergency google search for what to do when bitten by one of these bugs- which, by the way, Titus has decided to rename “Dumb Bug”- which he’s not normally allowed to say but he totally earned the right to call it just about whatever he wants.
And now he knows, never touch one of those things again! I hate that he had to learn the hardest way! Oh, and by the way, turns out God created the Wheel Bug to help with garden pests. It’s a very beneficial insect to have around. Just be sure not to pick one up!