Despite their pleasant-sounding name, kissing bugs have more than earned their notoriety as pests by spreading the infamous Chagas disease. Over the past several years, they have been migrating northward. Unfortunately, there are now kissing bugs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, meaning that you should be prepared to fight against them. Here’s what you need to know about these dangerous insects.
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Why Kissing Bugs Are Dangerous
Kissing bugs are primarily nocturnal creatures that feed on the blood of birds, reptiles, and mammals, including humans. They prefer to make their homes in cracks and holes in housing structures and outdoor areas. It’s not just their blood-sucking habits that make this pest so dangerous. Kissing bugs are known to carry the parasite trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. These parasites are normally spread when kissing bug feces gets into the wound made by a kissing bug. Chagas disease normally is mild, sometimes causing swelling around the wound. However, some cases can be quite severe and even life-threatening; they can lead to heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause sudden death through cardiac arrest.
Symptoms to look out for:
- Body Aches
- Eyelid swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
If you suspect that you might have Chagas disease as a result of kissing bugs, contact your doctor or medical provider immediately.
How to Protect Yourself
In order to protect your home against kissing bugs, you should ensure that all cracks and gaps throughout your house and in your roof are filled. Remove wood, brush, and rock piles near your house, and keep your property clean in general. Even with your own DIY preventive measures, the best way to protect you and your family is by hiring professionals, like Viking Pest Control, who are experienced at eradicating pests with quality materials.