By Glenn Workman, Owner, Pest and Moisture Specialist
The Kissing Bug is more dangerous than it sounds with the ability to cause a rare parasitic infection. Learn about The Kissing Bug and how to protect yourself.
The Kissing Bug – What You Need to Know
What is The Kissing Bug? It’s the latest bug featured in the news, and it’s spreading across the United States. It’s called The Kissing Bug, but don’t let the innocuous name fool you. It can be deadly. The Kissing Bug is an inch long and can cause a rare parasitic infection called Chagas disease. It’s called the “kissing bug” because of its habit of biting around the face and lips to feed on blood while people sleep. While the bite is not deadly, the bug typically defecates on the bite after and the parasite can be transferred in the bug’s feces. Yes. That’s what it does!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say there are 300,000 cases of the disease in the United States, but the symptoms can remain dormant for up to 20 years. Chagas disease presents with flu-like symptoms including body aches, fever and vomiting. Chronic conditions such as chest pains, difficulty breathing and sudden death occur with 20-30% of infected people. Dogs can also be infected, and there is a slight chance of it transmitting to a human through feces.
Experts say that we should have heightened awareness of the Kissing Bug, and it’s potential health threat. For more information, we have provided links to 2 recent articles about the Kissing Bug.
Q&A about the Kissing Bug with Glenn Workman, Owner and President of PESTOUT, a comprehensive pest control company in Hampton Roads Virginia
Have you seen the Kissing Bug in the Hampton Roads area?
Yes, I have personally seen them throughout the 7 cities, and they are throughout all the southern states.
Where do the bugs like to hide and where should I look for them?
Look for bugs in the following areas around your home:
- Beneath porches
- Between rocky structures
- Under cement
- In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
- In rodent nests or animal burrows
- In outdoor dog houses or kennels
- In chicken coops or houses
- Areas of rodent infestation
- In and around beds and bedrooms, especially under or near mattresses or night stands
Are they seasonal?
Kissing bugs are most active mid-spring to mid-fall, so inspections should be conducted regularly during this time and any bugs discovered should be destroyed. The CDC recommends putting it in a container and then drowning it in rubbing alcohol or freezing it in water. After, take the bug to your local health department.
How can PESTOUT treat and prevent kissing bugs from coming into your home?
- 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 holes or tears.
- Seal holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside.
What can I do to prevent kissing bugs from coming in?
- Have pets sleep indoors, especially at night.
- Keep your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, and periodically check both areas for bugs.
- Change exterior lights to moon/bug lights, which won’t attract them as normal white lights, would or just turn them off at night. These bugs are attracted to lights.
If you see the kissing bug, call PESTOUT, and we’ll be happy to help you eliminate the bug’s chance of invading your home. The good news is that out of 900-4000 contacts with the bug, only about one case of Chagas develops. Still, to protect your family and dog, follow the steps listed above and call us if there’s a problem!
Glenn Workman, owner of PESTOUT, has over 20 years experience in the business. PESTOUT is a pest control company that delivers professional and prompt pest control services across Hampton Roads Virginia, including the cities of Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, and north into Williamsburg. PESTOUT is a local, family-owned business providing that personable and professional touch you expect from people who are your neighbors. Your children and pets are important to us, so safety is of the utmost importance. We will treat your property and environment as if it is our own. Call PESTOUT for a free pest inspection today. (757) 251-0944
Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.