They’re creepy crawlers.
They have six legs and two antennae. They hide in the cracks of your furniture, baseboards, and other difficult-to-reach places. Just like bed bugs, they come out at night.
They’re called kissing bugs, but if you see one, it’s time to run!
These bugs have an otherwise cute name because they are capable of delivering the kiss of death. They may seem rather small and harmless, but these bugs can pack an unexpected punch if you find one in your home.
What makes these bugs extra creepy is that they’re attracted to carbon dioxide—what humans exhale. When they come out at night, they’re likely to be found on your face, nose, and mouth.
Just like vampires, they feed off of blood. They attack humans, dogs, cats, and livestock. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if you or your pets have been bitten because it’s most likely to happen while you’re asleep.
These bugs are dangerous because their bites open wounds on your body, and (warning, this is the grosses part!) they may defecate into the wound. If the bug is carrying a parasite, then this process can be fatal.
These bites can lead to Chagas disease, an inflammatory condition that can lead to heart and digestive issues.
Symptoms include: swelling, rash, fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If left untreated, the symptoms can lead to irregular heartbeat, heart failure, enlarged esophagus, and an enlarged colon later in life.
These symptoms are common for many infections and diseases, so it’s important to recognize the bug and know if you and your family might be at risk.
The map shows where in the US these bugs have been found. Be on the lookout for these critters in your home.
Knowing how to identify them could save the lives of you and your family!
If you do find these bugs in your home, be warned that regular bug sprays do not work on them. You can kill them by drowning them in running alcohol or freezing them in water—a lot of work for each bug!
You can prevent these bugs from getting into your home by sealing off cracks and holes, and by removing wood piles around your home where they can hide. Also be sure to check your bedding!