Triatomine Bugs, more commonly known as Kissing Bugs, are bloodsucking insects notorious for carrying Chagas disease. They live in the southern United States - including Arizona - as well as Mexico, Central America, and South America. While they typically live outdoors, they are attracted to lights, which draws them towards homes and buildings. Triatomine bugs are nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of mammals, including birds, reptiles, and humans. They earned their nickname as Kissing Bugs because they tend to bite their victims around their mouths. They are also known as "cone-nosed bugs" due to their shape, or "assassin bugs" because their bites are potentially deadly. They are notorious for transmitting Chagas disease, a rare but incurable condition that can cause heart failure. While Chagas disease is extremely rare in the United States, some people still have allergic reactions to Kissing Bugs, which is why it's wise to prevent an infestation.
Eleven species of triatomine bugs have been found in the United States. They are wingless, and usually dark brown with red or orange markings on their body. They can range in size from 2 millimeters to just over an inch in length.
Where do Kissing Bugs live?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kissing Bugs are most commonly found in the following places outdoors:
- Underneath rocks and cement
- Between rocky structures
- Beneath porches
- In wood or brush piles
- In chicken coops, dog houses and kennels
- In rodent nests or animal burrows
Kissing Bugs are not limited to the outdoors, though. They can often make their way indoors, hiding in these spots:
- Inside cracks or holes
- Underneath pillows
- Inside mattress box springs
- On animal bedding
In Southern Arizona, Kissing Bugs often live in pack rat nests. They are also attracted to lights, so if you have pack rat nests near your home and you have exterior lights on your house or property, you may find Kissing Bugs around or inside your living space.
How do I keep Kissing Bugs away from my home?
The best way to prevent Kissing Bugs is to find and eliminate any means they can enter your home. The CDC recommends taking the following steps:
- Seal cracks and gaps around your home - particularly around windows and doors
- Remove wood, brush, and other debris around your home
- Use screens on doors and windows, and repair any holes or tears in screens
- Avoid using outdoor lights close to your house - particularly if you suspect you have pack rat nests in the area
- Allow pets to sleep indoors at night and inspect their sleeping areas for bugs
The experts at Conquistador Pest & Termite can inspect your property, assess your risk, and recommend specific steps you can take to prevent Kissing Bugs from finding their way inside your home.
How can I get rid of Kissing Bugs?
If you suspect you have Kissing Bugs inside or around your home, you should contact a professional pest control expert immediately. They can confirm whether the insects in question are indeed Kissing Bugs, and they can help identify access and infestation points around your home.
It is difficult to exterminate Kissing Bugs, as many commercial products and "roach motels" are ineffective. The CDC advises consumers affected by Kissing Bugs to contact a professional exterminator right away, as they can recommend and apply the appropriate insecticides in the safest and most effective way possible.
Call Conquistador Pest
Contact Conquistador Pest to help you get rid of Kissing Bugs around your home. Our licensed and insured exterminators will identify problem areas and work with you to determine the best possible ways to solve issues. Read about the other Tucson pest control services we offer. We also provide termite control and weed control.