Is The “Kissing Bug” Something To Worry About? The CDC Says Yes
Great, yet another random crazy thing to worry about, right?
Well, add this one to the nightmare list!
Look at that gross thing. They call it a "kissing bug" because it typically likes to bite you on the FACE. And the bite is pretty bad. We're talking fever, fatigue, body aches, muscle pain, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, swollen eyelids, and vomiting but severe cases can lead to stroke or heart failure. The kissing bug can also make pets sick. It's a bug that comes out at night and goes for blood. There are about 11 different varieties and they're all just awful. Like, "turn left out of Harbor Freight" awful. It's just rude.
So apparently the polar vortex stuff and a bunch of other things I don't understand has made these bugs come up further north than they usually do, and bang if Missouri ain't right in their path. Not just us, but most of the south, Kansas, and Illinois. Here's the basics of what you need to know.
1. Where is it?
The kissing bugs tend to hang out in places like these:
- 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
2. What do I do if I see one?
DON'T TOUCH IT. Don't squish it, don't do anything to it if you don't want Chagas Disease. The CDC says if you see one, get a plastic container and capture it. Then fill the container with rubbing alcohol or freeze it. Then you can take it to the local extension to have them ID it. If one of them somehow got in your house, clean that spot like, yesterday. Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).
3. How do I keep these things away from my house?
Well, sorry, but there isn't a magic spray that will make them go away. Roach motels and stuff like that just don't work on them. A pest control specialist can set up something called a bednet/curtain that kills em dead. You might also try a few precautions:
- Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
- Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
- Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
- If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
- Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
- Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
- Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs
Now that I've gotten this off my chest, I can hopefully manage to sleep tonight. Or maybe we'll all be paranoid freaks scared of bugs together. Anyway, I got most of my information straight from the CDC itself, so you can follow that link if you want some more information.