The Kissing Bug: What You Need to Know

A kissing bug sounds sweet, like something you’d find in a children’s picture book. But when you learn more abouta kissing bug on a gray wall these pests and what they do, they suddenly become far less romantic. In a month dedicated to love, the last choice you’d want for a date is a parasitic pest known for biting and defecating on your face. 

If that wasn’t enough, kissing bugs can carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in their stool. When rubbed into breaks in the skin, it runs the risk of transmitting Chagas disease. This can be potentially life-threatening if left untreated, which makes it all the more important to identify and prevent kissing bugs through both exclusion and extermination.

What Do Kissing Bugs Look Like?

The average kissing bug is between ¾ to 1¼ inches, with an elongated and oval-shaped body. They’re mainly hued in shades of brown or black, but their abdomen may also have splotches of red, yellow, or tan. 

They originated in Mexico, as well as Central and South America. But they’ve migrated to several locations around the Southern US, including East Tennessee. For the most part they’re seen outdoors, adjacent to the wild and domesticated animals that they feed off of. However, they can get into homes through open doors and windows, where they may choose to hide in various corners and other secluded areas. 

How Do You Treat a Kissing Bug Bite?

Kissing bug bites look a lot like other bites, irritations, or infections. They can be anywhere on your body, but mainly take the form of 2-15 marks around your mouth or eyes. And they may itch, but for a majority of people, all you’ll need to soothe it is an ice pack and an over-the-counter antihistamine. 

But what about the risk of Chagas disease? It’s a very real problem in warmer areas where kissing bugs are found. It starts with similar symptoms to a bad flu, with fever and nausea. If it progresses to swollen eyelids and more acute pain you should seek medical attention immediately.

Can You Prevent Kissing Bugs?

Fortunately, out of all the parasitic pests, kissing bugs are one of the least likely to infest homes in East Tennessee. And, even better, you can use the same solutions you’d take to exclude a variety of other pests. If you seal cracks and gaps around your home and cover larger openings with screens and other forms of mesh, you’re actively eliminating easy entry points for a majority of bugs. 

But nothing is perfect, and pests can be unpredictable. If you take every precaution and still wind up with an infestation of kissing bugs, or any other type of bug, you can trust the team at Johnson Pest Control to take care of the problem safely and effectively. We’ve been making pest prevention easy since 1984, and with our help we can help you break up with kissing bugs for good. Contact us today to get started!