If you haven’t ever heard of kissing bugs, they probably sound a little silly. But these dangerous insects are nothing like the “cooties” you feared in grade school. Kissing bugs are bloodsucking insects that can be infected with parasites carrying a deadly disease.
Have you noticed bugs scuttling around your home or yard and wondered if they might be kissing bugs? Here is a guide on how to identify kissing bugs from our team of pest control professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services.
What Are Kissing Bugs?
Kissing bugs are sometimes also called “assassin bugs” or “vampire bugs” because they sneak into bedrooms at night to suck human blood. They tend to bite people on or around their mouths. Most kissing bug bites are a bit painful, but harmless. However, some kissing bugs are infected with a parasite called Tyropansoma cruzi. This parasite causes Chagas disease, a chronic illness that can cause lifelong symptoms and complications.
How to Identify Kissing Bugs
In order to determine whether or not you have spotted a true kissing bug, look for these characteristics:
- Kissing bugs are ¾ – 1 ¼ inches (14-24 mm) long.
- They have cone-shaped mouthpieces on their heads and oval bodies.
- Their legs and long and thin.
- They are dark colored, usually brown or black.
- Most species also have red, yellow, orange, or tan markings in a band around the edge of their bodies.
- Adults have wings and are strong flyers.
You can also identify kissing bugs by their behavior patterns. Kissing bugs tend to live outside, underneath porches or in dog houses. They creep inside of homes through cracks in the walls and floor in search of blood. Usually they hide during daylight and come out to fly around at night. They are sometimes attracted to porch lights and will fly towards them.
How to Identify Kissing Bug Bites
If you have been bitten by a bug with qualities similar to a kissing bug, it is critical to determine whether or not the bite is serious.
Kissing bugs get their name from biting near the mouth, but the eyes, face, head, arms, and feet are also some of their favorite spots. Usually you will see multiple bite marks in the same area with redness and swelling.
Chagas Disease Symptoms
If you notice bug bites on your body and experience any of the following early symptoms of Chagas disease, visit a health care professional right away. Symptoms include:
- Body Aches
- Cardiac Issues
- Intestinal Issues
We hope this guide on how to identify kissing bugs helps to keep you safe from their bites.
Kissing bugs are mostly harmless, but a bite from an infected bug can have major consequences. If you identify kissing bugs around your home, call us for professional help with eliminating the problem. If you think you might have a kissing bug bite, talk to your doctor right away just in case.
Do you have a kissing bug infestation affecting your home? ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. Call us today for pest control solutions that work.