I have a Roridula gorgonias that is over-run right now with dead flies. I figured it would be great to be able to put all of these insects to use to benefit the plant by getting some Assassin bugs. Does anyone know if it is legal to bring those into the US? Are they a threat to native insect populations? If it is safe to bring them in does anyone know a good source?
I think that, since these are insects with little known about them, but that they are from a group of insects that includes both crop pests and vectors of human disease, that USDA APHIS would pretty roundly prohibit their importation into the USA.
As is so far known, the two species of assassin bugs on Roridula are extremely host specific, indeed.
But....what would really be needed here is to do what is referred to as centripetal testing. You'd test the bugs on closely related plants, then more widely related plants, and also some other plants such as important crop plants. This is the kind of testing that is done on potential biocontrol species.
The fact that Roridulaceae is in its own family is promising for those who would want to import them.
You'd also want to demonstrate that the critters are not vectoring in diseases.
Yes I think it would need a lot of time, effort and money.
I just got into trouble importing my two plants of R.gorgonias into the kitchen for the winter (greenhouse is too cold and damp). It was OK for a while until I pointed out all the Pameridea bugs scurrying around...
you might be able to use another hosting assasin, like the native milkweed assassin, that stays on a milkweed plant and eats flys that get caught on sap or come to the flowers. some of those might adapt, but its unlikely. but finding a syimbiote species like that, and it being legal for import, may take a little work.
In my opinion predatory bugs of the family Miridae (to which the South African Pameridea belong as well as the Australian Cyrtopeltis and Setocornis), are so common world wide, that it is a little overcautious to consider them as dangerous for humans. Digitalis has its own Miridae as well as Tobacco (a true mutualism, as the bugs are alerted by the plants when they get attacked by parasites) and closely related bugs live on many other plants, also in the Americas. I cultivated hundreds of Pameridea for more than 12 years in our house and most times even in our living room. Receiving even a sting on the back of my hand one time, however, without getting ill. Ok, it looked like a mosquito bite for about a week, but except some itching nothing else happened. Especially when the bugs have been propagated in cultivation its not very likely that they will carry any dangerous deseases. Certainly a true mix of bacteria and virus of the surrounding region, where the insects came from on which they fed.
One last remark, as I wrote even 1995 in an article for the "Journal of the ACPS" Vol. 15/1: the trivial name "Assassin bug" is given to the species Coranus subapterus by entomologists and should therefore not been used for other mutualistic bugs like the species mentioned above.