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Are Kissing Bugs Making Your Family Sick?

Kissing bugs carry a parasite known to cause Chagas disease in humans.

Despite the romantic name, kissing bugs are creatures straight out of a horror movie. Found in warmer climates, they are called kissing bugs because they bite humans and other mammals in their sleep, most often around the mouth.

Kissing bugs look similar to stink bugs but with distinct red, orange, or yellow stripes of color around their edges. Although they live outdoors where they feed on raccoons, opossums, and rodents, they do find their way into homes through cracks in foundations or holes in window screens. Once inside the home, they hide and lay eggs:

  • Near where your dog or cat likes to hang out
  • In areas where rodents thrive, like basements or attics
  • Near human sleeping areas, such as under mattresses or in night tables

What Makes Kissing Bugs Dangerous?

Kissing bugs feed on blood like mosquitos. They hide by day, coming out after dark to feed. Some people have allergic sensitivities to the bug’s saliva that cause itching, swelling, and redness.

Kissing bugs sometimes carry a parasite, which lives in its feces. As a kissing bug feeds on a person, it often defecates on their face. The unknowing person can then easily rub the feces into the bite wound or into their mouth, making them susceptible to Chagas disease.

Symptoms of Chagas disease include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, a rash where the parasite entered the body, and swelling around the eyelids. Caught early, it can be cured. If left unchecked, it becomes chronic and symptoms can only be managed.

What to Do if You Find a Kissing Bug in Your Home

Do not touch a kissing bug with your bare hands! Use gloves or a plastic bag to pick up the bug. Use bleach to wash any surface you think the bug might have touched.

Kissing bugs can be hard to get rid of. As with an infestation of rats, termites, spiders, bedbugs, or cockroaches, a pest control specialist should conduct an inspection and advise you of the best solution. Ecola specializes in eco-friendly pest control and can offer pest removal solutions that are friendly to both the environment and your family. Call Ecola today at 800 471-BUGS (2847) to request a free inspection for whatever pest is pestering you.

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