Kissing bugs are members of Triatominae, a subfamily of Reduviidae, and are also known as Conenose Bugs. These pests survive by feeding on the blood of humans and animals. They get their name due to their preference of feeding around the mouth and eyes of their human and animal victims. Kissing bugs are attracted to the heat and odor we emit from our mouths, sweat, and skin while we sleep. Sounds like something out of a horror film! Kissing bugs are always looking for an easy meal, so they congregate in areas where they can score one. Our bedrooms are a likely place they can be found. They seek refuge near a food source during the day and come out at night to feed when their victims are asleep. Unlike other pests, both nymph and adults suck blood. Kissing bugs are found mainly in the Americas, but they have been found recently in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Kissing Bug Identification
They range in size from about ¾ inch to 1¼ inch long. About the size of a penny. They have characteristic bands around the edges of their bodies that look like orange or red stripes. Unlike other bugs, their legs are long and uniformly thin and do not bulge or thicken around the body. They have distinctive mouthparts that look, like extensions from their heads. There are 11 different species of kissing bug, the most common found in the south-central U.S. are Triatoma Sanguisuga and Triatoma Gerstaeckeri.
Where are Kissing Bugs Found?
Kissing bugs are not new here in the United States. There is evidence proving there existence here since at least the 1800’s. They are now found in 28 states with the highest density of their population being in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Signs of Kissing Bug Infestation
Bed bugs tend to infest older dwellings but are not biased to newer homes either. A tell-tale sign of their presence is streak-like feces marks on the walls that can be whitish or black in color. They lay eggs that are pinkish to whitish in color in crevices on walls. After a blood meal they tend to be sluggish and don’t move much, so with their limited mobility chances are you can find them in a crevice on your mattress or on your wall.
Symptoms of a bite from Kissing Bugs- Symptoms can vary from unnoticeable to severe. The more severe end being you can go into Anaphylactic shock. When kissing bugs bite, they defecate near the site of the wound, the parasite they carry is then transmitted to us.
Chagas Disease Diagnosis
Chagas manifests itself in two stages. The first is acute, after the infection is passed on to us, the acute phase begins and can last anywhere from a few weeks to months! It can be difficult to diagnose because it mimics the symptoms of many other illnesses with symptoms including, fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite diarrhea and vomiting. Of those infected, 3-% of people will likely become chronically ill. The signs and symptoms of long term Chagas disease can manifest themselves decades after the initial infection and can cause severe health problems including Cardiac or intestinal complications.
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Never ever touch a kissing bug with your bare hands! They can transmit the parasite they harbor to both humans and animals, making you very ill. Call us at A Five Star Termite and Pest Control asap so we can come out and assess the situation and see how far the infestation has gone. Any area they have been found in will need to be completely sanitized with a bleach/water solution or steam cleaned to kill any lingering parasites/germs that may have been left behind. Our licensed and experienced professionals have the treatment options needed to control and eradicate the existence of these blood sucking pests. Give us a call today!