About Kissing Bugs
The Kissing Bug, also known as the Mexican Bed Bug and Triatomine bug, originated in Central America. Flat like a bed bug, but much larger, with a slender body and wings for transport, the kissing bug came to Texas through firewood. Since the bug often nests in wood during winter, firewood easily transported the insect farther north.
Most people keep their wood pile next to their home, which moves the Kissing Bug and other potential pests closer to you and your family.
Behavior and Risks of Kissing Bugs
Kissing Bugs are vectors. A vector is anything that transmits a disease. Other vectors that are common pests include mosquitoes, rodents and ticks, and all three carry diseases that can potentially be dangerous and deadly to humans and mammals.
Kissing Bugs are nocturnal and enter the home from open windows, doors, mesh screens and can travel on clothing and pets. When a Kissing Bug bites a host to feed off blood, a wound that is larger than a mosquito bite will appear. Their name is a result of the insect commonly biting near the mouth, as kissing bugs are attracted to CO2 exhaled by sleeping hosts.
While feeding, the Kissing Bug also defecates, causing irritation and encouraging a victim to itch. The rubbing of the wound causes a parasite, if present, to enter the body.
Two species of Kissing Bug carry Chagas Disease, which comes from the Trypanosoma Cruzi parasite that lives in the digestive track of the insect. The Center of Disease Control estimates 40% of all kissing bugs carry Chagas Disease.
Symptoms of Chagas disease mimic other common illnesses and may not even appear for 30+ years. Acute and chronic Chagas disease can remain undetected for some time, yet once active, the disease has no cure and can cause heart failure and death. Chagas Disease also affects dogs, and the effects tend to move quicker.
Identifying a Problem
The Kissing Bug has definitely moved into Lubbock, Texas. Bug Tech alone has over 8 confirmed cases and counting. Chagas Disease is now a very real threat for our community.
Kissing Bug infestations are rare, the insects don’t breed like bed bugs, german roaches and other insects. Even sighting one Kissing Bug is cause for alarm, posing a threat to your pets and family.
The Kissing Bug is similar to a stink bug and requires General Pest Control to defend a home or office. They are easily killed with regular chemical treatments, so don’t hesitate to protect your domain today.
Prevent the entry of kissing bugs in your home and always inspect outdoor pets that can carry the pest indoors. Other preventions include:
- Check window screens for openings and holes
- Install door sweeps on all doors leading outside
- Caulk and seal windows