Deadly Kissing Bug – A kiss to beware of
Some critters have unfortunately earned a bad reputation due to false public perception, their appearance, or even their portrayal in mass media. Even if many of these are actually beneficial, many people are scared of these creatures.
But if there is one particular creature that you should be wary about, that would be the triatomine bug, also known as the deadly kissing bug.
What we know about them
These insects are largely found in Central and South America and have earned their moniker because they bite mammals in the eyes and the mouth. These bloodsuckers can grow to the size of a grape after feeding. Once the triatomines have had their fill of blood, they will defecate. The problem is that these insects often carry a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi which causes the disease known as Chagas, which is little known by the American public. The parasites can enter the bloodstream when the bloodsuckers defecate and the feces enter the body through the bloodstream.
Chagas is named after a Brazilian physician who discovered the disease in 1909. Current estimates made by the World Health Organization pegs the number of people infected with the disease in Latin America at seven million. Symptoms of this disease include diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever and rashes. It can also lead to both intestinal damage and heart failure. It is also possible for the person to be infected with the disease without displaying any of the aforementioned symptoms, with some discovering the infection only after blood testing.
Although chagas is well-known and well documented abroad, in the US, it is relatively unknown. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning that can change this trend. According to the CDC, the kissing bug wound its way into the country by way of the southern states and can potentially affect half the population of the country. In fact, in one study conducted in Southern Texas, as much as 10 percent of dogs in shelters have tested positive for the dreaded disease.
Where deadly kissing bugs like to hide
The bloodsuckers often hide under beds and between cracks, coming out at night to feed. These insects can be quite difficult to kill. They are resistant to insecticides and the best way to kill these is to leave them in a jar filled with rubbing alcohol. Alternatively, you can put them in water that you can freeze.
In order to prevent these lethal insects from entering your home, make sure that cracks and gaps are sealed. Because these insects can also prey upon household pets, it is a good idea to inspect the beddings of your furry buddies. Also, it is a good idea to keep and maintain a good distance between shrubs, wood and rock piles and your home. Finally, turn off outdoor lights as these can attract these bugs.
Source: Fox 40