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Where are Kissing Bugs originally from?

Kissing Bugs are native to Latin and South America. They mainly feed on mammals (including humans) and are a nocturnal insect. In South America, many of the houses have thatched roofs and poorly insulated walls which, is why they have a higher rate of Chagas. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates about 8 million infected in Latin and South America. The CDC estimates about 300,000 infected exist in the United States. Most of those were infected while in other countries.

Why are they called “Kissing Bugs?”

They were given the name of Kissing Bug because they mainly like to bite humans on the lips or anywhere on the face.

What is Chagas Disease?

According to the CDC, the disease, which has infected as many as 8 million people worldwide, is transmitted by insects that carry the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. Newsy reports that “the disease has an acute phase much like the flu to start. Then it transitions into a chronic phase, during which up to 30 percent of people develop heart problems and 10 percent develop gastrointestinal issues.”

Where are Kissing Bugs found in the U.S.?

Kissing Bugs can be found in 28 states within the United States. Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have the most dense population of them. Kissing Bugs are members of reduviids that are similar in appearance feed on plants and other insects and can inflict a painful bite when disturbed. Since Kissing Bugs feed on mammals, the bites are often painless and cannot be felt when bitten.

What do Kissing Bugs look like?

They look similiar to a cockroach, but can be recognized by their ‘cone-shaped’ head, thin antennae, and thin legs. All of the U.S. species are mainly black or very dark brown, with red, orange or yellow ‘stripes’ around the edge.

Where am I most likely to find them?

In the United States, you are more likely to find them outdoors. If you have dog kennels with numerous dogs, they are attracted to carbon monoxide and heat produced by the dogs.

Are they really deadly?

According to various sources across the net. 50% of all Kissing Bugs have the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite which carries the Charas disease. The sources also go on to say that only 20 to 30% of those infect the host. The answer to the question is yes, they can be.

What should I do if I come across one?

Never touch one with your bare hands. Texas A&M University that studies the insect statesthat you should use a jar. Open the lid, put the jar over the insect and scoop it up and close the lid. Take it to your local city health office to confirm what the insect is.

Are my animals safe?

As stated above. If you have kennels that have several dogs, you are more than likely to find them around a larger population of dogs. humans, opossums, woodrats, armadillos, coyotes, mice, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. Wildlife are responsible for maintaining this parasite in nature. Therefore, Chagas disease emerges at the intersection of wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and vector populations. To prevent infestation, the CDC recommends that you: Seal cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs and doors Remove wood, brush and rock piles near your house Use screens on doors and windows and repair any holes or tears Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs If you suspect you’ve found a kissing bug, the CDC says don’t squash it. Instead, place it in a container and fill with rubbing alcohol or freeze in water and take to your health department. You can read more at Texas A&M University Website 



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