Table of Contents
- Basic Information About Kissing Bugs
- Prevalence of Kissing Bugs
- How You Can Spot Kissing Bugs
- Getting Rid of Kissing Bugs
Basic Information About Kissing Bugs
Kissing bugs refer to the insects diseased with Trypanosoma Cruzi. The insects host the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The disease spreads after a person experiences kissing bugs’ bite. The common names for the kissing bugs are cone-nose bugs and chinches. The insects feed on blood during the night, as they prefer to bite human beings. The bugs bite humans around the eyes and mouth. The bugs have a characteristic look and length that ranges from three quarters to one-quarter inches. The adult kissing bugs have a band at the edge of their bodies with characteristic orange and red markings.
The kissing bug bite appearances vary according to the species of the insects. Research shows the existence of 11 species of kissing bugs across the United States. Some of the bugs’ species in the United States include Triatoma sanguisuga, Triatoma gerstaeckeri, and Triatoma protracta. The insects vary in length, the outer edge of the body, legs, mouthparts, and head extensions. Kissing bugs belong to the Reduviidae insect family. Although the family spots similarity in appearance, they transmit Chagas parasite in different ways, particularly when disturbed.
The kissing bugs undergo a series of unformed life stages of nymphs and adults. Nymphs and adults engage in the behavior of feeding blood whereby a person sustains kissing bugs’ bite marks depending on the level of infestation. However, the bugs may feed on domestic and wild animals such as domestic dogs as well as wild rodents.
The insects transmit Chagas disease parasites by defecating on the bite. The transmission could further occur through blood transfusion and transplantation of ill organs.
Prevalence of Kissing Bugs
Many people wonder, “Where are kissing bugs found?” The bugs can be found in humans, animals, and different geographical locations. Some of the known locations of kissing bugs include South Central United States. The region is believed to be home to at least 11 different species of bugs. The common species include Triatoma sanguisuga and gerstaeckeri. The species are about an inch long. The central and South American regions provide a platform for the diagnosis and research on kissing bugs bite. While south-central America might have a kissing bug look alike, the insect may vary in length and cycles of development to mature stages. The insects have established breeding sites in at least 28 states. Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico account for the highest density as well as the diversity of the kissing bugs.
The bugs invest South American nations such as Brazil. The susceptibility of kissing bugs is to the loss of their natural habitats in the Amazon. The loss of the thick Brazilian forests through rapid deforestation led to the migration of the bugs to the human settlements. Brazil’s Amazonas state has the highest infestation of kissing bug disease prevalence.
The blood-sucking bugs affect elicited substantial health concerns in different municipalities within the vicinity of the declining Amazon forest. Brazil authorities recognize the bug at the deadly Triatomine that affects at least 8 million farmers across the country.
However, the prevalence of the kissing bugs is not limited to South and Central America alone. At least 21 Latin America states have recorded increasing cases of kissing bug bite disease. The endemic Chagas diseases in the countries prove the existence of the condition despite the effort to control the travel and migration among the countries. Canada has increasing cases of kissing bugs following the expansion of human settlements particularly from the South and Central America.
Kissing bugs act as vectors to the Chagas disease, which affects human beings. The bite on either the eyes or mouth enables the parasite to infect humans. Bugs can be found among human beings through direct contact particularly at night. The insect vector requires human body to transmit the parasite. The ability of the bugs to enter homes and other living areas can be attributed to the process of finding feeding grounds a host for the parasite and a subsequent kissing bug disease. Any congenital process can help in the transmission of the parasites. The process predisposes human beings who undergo blood transfusion or transplant to the infections.
The kissing bug bites can be found in animals, but they act as hosts. The bugs seek breeding and feeding grounds in hunting cabins, dog kennels, and other outdoor areas. The wild rodents and dogs host the parasites by consuming the bugs. The prevalence in hunting grounds and kennel predisposes human beings to the kissing bugs bite and kissing bug disease.
Furthermore, finding the bugs in the households is easy because they love to attack other pets such as cats. Rodents, dogs, and cats belong to the warm-blooded animals that ingest the bloodsuckers. The predation creates easy transmission of parasite that causes kissing bug disease. Take a closer look at your kennels and cabins to avoid wondering, “Where do kissing bugs hide in a home?”
How You Can Spot Kissing Bugs
Spotting kissing bugs are easy. You can identify the bugs through appearance, symptoms of Chagas diseases, and knowledge of their habitats.
You may wonder, “What does a kissing bug bite look like?” Acquainting yourself with the appearance of kissing bugs bite is essential. The appearance should help you to identify kissing bugs bite on the face. Many people may take little time to evaluate the look of insects, which increases the prevalence of the disease in many households.
The pictures you see on the news channel, and print news does not reflect the true appearance of bugs. Understandably, the 11 species in America and other 38,000 different kinds of kissing bugs are bound to have a striking appearance with some variations. A suspicious bug in your home and landscape should have a piercing-sucking mouthpart. Kissing bugs belong to the suborder Heteroptera that has a visible mouthpart as opposed to the hidden or chewing parts in other large bugs. The next you sustain a kissing bug bite mark, it could be because of the stout and straight mouthpart used to suck your blood around the eyes and mouth.
Mature or adult kissing bugs vary in size. The smallest bug is half an inch long while the longest bug can have a maximum of one and a quarter inches. You can spot the bug easily by looking at their body colors because they have dark-brown and black schemes. Other kissing bugs feature red-cream stripes, which can be identified along the abdomen. Kissing bugs stand out from other insects because they lack significant or noteworthy markings on the wings. Only a few varieties feature orange stripes around wings but bordering the shield. The insects have bulging eyes and stick-like heads, which is why they are called “conenose bugs” by researchers.
The bugs have a distinctive look with thin and tapering legs. It should not be difficult for you to identify or spot kissing bugs considering many feeds during the night. However, you may mistake the insects for bugs that look like kissing bugs but aren’t. The insects have common imposters including:
- Bedbugs, which are other characteristic indoor bugs but are only a 3/16 inch long when they are fully grown and are not associated with transmission of any disease
- Wheel bugs, which are exclusively outdoor insects without stout and curved mouthparts but their habitations is limited to cool weathers
- Squash bug that has the same size as the kissing bug but has a triangular head and thin mouthparts but their they hardly come indoors
- Boxelder bugs, which are smaller than the kissing bugs, do not bite or sport any markings similar to kissing bugs
- Leaf-footed bugs, which is larger than kissing legs and feeds on plant seeds as opposed to blood
Therefore, do not wonder, “do kissing bugs fly?” You should be keen to spot kissing bug look alike to avoid predisposing yourself to the kissing bug bites on the face and the subsequent Chagas diseases.
You can spot and identify an infestation of the insects guided by the kissing bug symptoms of the Chagas disease. The severity of the symptoms varies with the strain of the insects. The symptoms manifest themselves in two phases. Phase one comprises of the acute stage and has the following identifiable signals among humans:
- A swelling where you have a kissing bug bite mark
- Diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea
- Eyelid swelling
- Body aches
- Swollen glands
- Abnormal enlargement of spleen or liver
Phase two entails the chronic phase of the Chagas disease but begins to manifest itself after 10 to 20 years. They might not show up, but you are sure to spot severe kissing bug bite symptoms including:
- Irregular heartbeats
- Abrupt heart attacks
- Abdominal pain and constipation due to the enlargement of the colon
- Congestive heart failure
- Enlarged esophagus which creates difficulties in swallowing
You could focus on the symptoms of the kissing bugs to spot the infestation of the insects, but the severity of the disease should demonstrate the need to identify the physical appearance of the insect. You might consider different habitats within the vicinity of your home too.
Where are kissing bugs found? The kissing bugs live in woodland areas, but the design of the house may limit the entry of the insects. However, the insects may still infiltrate your indoor area through cracks and holes. Consequently, do not be surprised to find the kissing bugs in the chicken poops, porches, and woodpiles.
The woodland and cool habitats prove the prevalence of kissing bugs bite in places such as Texas, New Mexxxico, and Arizona as mentioned before. Having understood the prevalence, identification of kissing bugs, there are many ways of getting rid of kissing bugs.
Getting Rid of Kissing Bugs
Do not wonder how to get rid of kissing bugs in case you have spotted them within your indoor areas. The following ways could help to control or eliminate the infestation but varies the location of the bugs.
1 Proper Construction
Keeping the kissing bugs away from homes should be the priority for anyone. You should consider proper construction of the houses to prevent the penetration of the bugs in the living areas and sleep platforms in your home. The conenose bugs are nocturnal, which makes it easier for them to enter a home. Kissing bugs bite during the night when you are indoors so that it becomes necessary to construct a home that restricts access by small insects. Additionally, you should consider proper sanitation and tight construction of your buildings. Getting rid of the kissing bugs infestation requires limitation of the entry. Ensure that you have destroyed all the other trash piles and burrows in the vicinity. Do not ignore the exterior cracks and opening that may allow entry of the bugs during the night. Consider sealing the opening and any crawl places on the house sub-flooring.
2 Using Insecticides
You might wonder, “Where do kissing bugs hide in a home?” Using insecticides may eliminate the need of looking for the specific places where to spot the kissing bugs. Insecticides are effective means of eliminating the bugs because they penetrate to the most hidden places in your household. The places might be the floorings, window, and doorframes. Consider treating the room corners and edges to because they are potential hideouts the insects during the night. Additionally, pet houses including dog kennels should be sprayed with insecticides. Extend the activity to suspected places where the conenose bugs could hide while waiting to attack at night. Use the insecticides meant for controlling cockroaches and other indoor pests because they will provide the favorable environment. Researchers recommend the use of pyrethroid insecticides such as permethrin or bifenthrin.
3 Hiring Pest Control Professionals
Sometimes you could be too busy to undertake the application of insecticides. You might also not complete the work as required, which could increase the risk of infestation. Professional pest control would be the ideal solution if you were considering having a sustainable problem for the kissing bugs. A licensed professional would be best suited for the task of controlling the infestation of rodents, pest or bird problem that prey on the kissing bugs. A professional offers unsolicited advice on how to pest-proof your home. The expert recommends the best products for conenose bug control. Licensed professionals in pest control understand the colonization patterns of the kissing within and beyond your household. You might notice kissing bug look alike, but you might not get the right and permanent treatment solutions for the bugs attacking your home from wildlife or woodland habitats.
4 Pet Hygiene
Sufficient hygiene for your pets such as dogs and cats is essential in getting rid of the kissing bugs. The pets are prone to complications such as heart disease, but an infected dog may remain asymptomatic. Different strains of parasites predispose pets to complications. Hygiene for the dogs and cats would be appropriate. Hygiene in the pet kennels is essential because it reduces the risk of contracting kissing bug disease. The pet has limited treatment options and undiscovered vaccinations against Chagas disease. Cleaning the pets and taking them for checkup could curtail the transmission cycles of the insects that seek blood meals. Moreover, the kissing bugs engage in nocturnal movements to find males and mammals for feeding purposes. Therefore, ensure the kennel environments do not have lights because adult bugs fly towards the spotlight areas. Fumigate the pet houses on a regular basis create unfavorable habitats for the conenose bugs.
5 Daily Routines
You could consider a daily cleaning routine so that you are sure your homestead does not have any pest, rodent, or insect breeding grounds. Consider keeping your house clean during the day and checking the presence of the kissing bugs. Your house should be free from any clutter. Therefore, apportion to remove the woods, brushes, or rock piles where the kissing bugs hide during the day. The remove of the hiding and breeding grounds means you have reduced the risk of contracting kissing bug disease. Additionally, the daily routine should entail screening the door and windows to establish cracks or locks that need repair. Seal the holes, cracks, or tears to limit the kissing bugs from using them as entry points during the night.
6 Travelling Tips
Limited or controlled travel and immigration could help in inferring with the transmission cycle of kissing bugs. The bugs use humans for blood feeding, but they end up leaving infections that lead to the prevalence of Chagas disease. The kissing bug disease is a public health concern in the South and Central America due to the regular travels across the continents. Proper screening of the disease is important because it prevents further breeding of the parasites. Conscious travel schedules, especially in 21 Latin America countries, could help in getting rid of the kissing bugs and its disease. It would help public health organizations to erect screening points at the entry points for people coming from suspected infested areas. The approach could prevent the subsequent public health and travel challenges brought but the kissing bugs.
7 Rodent Control
Rodents are hosts for the kissing bugs because they are warm-blooded animals. Getting rid of the rodents from your home would be one of the easiest ways of eliminating the insects from your home. It does not matter whether you have spotted a kissing bug look alike within your home. You should control the rodents that predate on the insects at night. The rodents require sealing the exterior part of a building including the chimney flues and the crawl spaces. The rodents cannot exacerbate the infestation of conenose bugs if you have controlled the entry points and the feeding areas within the homestead. The depth of the rodent control could vary depending on whether you are within woodlands or not.
The rodent control should further involve a pest control program. Undertake the process on a regular basis to ensure your home is free from the pests that come into your home in search of kissing bugs for food. You will reduce the susceptibility to kissing bug bites on the face when you consider a pest control process that involves proofing your home. You could use formulations of insecticides among other recommended approaches because they help to mitigate kissing bug infestation before it happens. Alternatively, you could consider pets sleeping at separate places at night. Scheduling for different sleeping places for dogs and cats reduces the risks of pest infestation and kissing bugs coming indoors to feed.
8 Sleeping Habits
You could consider using or sleeping under clothing fabric infused with repellants for kissing bugs. Kissing bugs attack sleeping victims and defecate on the wound, which increases the risk Chagas disease. Proper sleeping habits should involve keeping the bedroom shut during the night and ascertaining the window frames do not have holes through which the bugs could enter in your rooms. You could further consider sleeping while the lights are on to limit the flight movement of the kissing bugs. The bugs use light to look for males and mammals that provide them with blood. Controlling the movements of the bugs interferes with their feeding cycle and reduces the chances of infesting your home. Consider keeping your pets away at night to spread the risk of attracting adult bugs that seek warm-blooded mammals such as dogs and pets.
Guided by the information provided about kissing bugs, you may no longer wonder, “What does a kissing bug bite look like?” spotting and getting rid of the kissing bugs is easy if you consider learning about their breeding as well as feeding patterns. You can identify the kissing bugs guided by their habitats, appearance, and the symptoms of the Chagas disease. Conversely, getting rid of the bugs requires the application of diverse ways. You could use insecticides, hire a licensed pest control expert, watch your sleeping habits, and undertake conscious traveling. Your house cleaning routines, rodent control, pet hygiene, and proper construction or repair of your house could keep the kissing bugs away.