A couple weeks ago, one of our technicians found four kissing bugs hidden in the bark of a tree in McLennan County. Yes, you read that right. Kissing bugs! “What in the world are kissing bugs?” you might be asking. Also called cone-nose bugs, these critters can be carriers of the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, which causes Chagas disease in humans. So why in the world are they called kissing bugs? We wish we could explain it with a ridiculous romantic tale or a funny story about a first date flop, but these bugs are simply named for the way they bite. Kissing bugs feed on blood and tend to bite humans on the face, generally near the mouth (hence the name).
So what’s the big deal? While most cases of Chagas disease are nothing to worry about, the disease can become chronic later in life, resulting in serious cardiac and intestinal complications. But don’t panic, Central Texas! The disease is not common outside of South and Central America, and very few cases have been reported in Texas. But in the spirit of protecting our people, we want to equip you to recognize these stinkers. If you see bugs that look like the ones pictured below, be sure to:
- Keep your family and pets away from them (and their feces). The disease is transmitted through feces, so contact with these guys is not a good idea.
- Call 855bugs.com right away! We know how to handle these bugs and want to make sure you and your family are thoroughly protected. Plus, these are Manny’s favorite bugs to beat up!
- Contact a physician if you start seeing itchy red bites you can’t explain.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call if these guys or any other pests are bugging you. Visit https://855bugs.com/inspect/schedule-a-free-inspection/ to schedule your free inspection and rest assured you won’t be getting any unwanted “kisses” any time soon!
For more information on kissing bugs, visit https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/biting-stinging/others/ent-3008/ or http://kissingbug.tamu.edu/FAQ/.
OO (no X’s around here!),
The 855bugs.com Team