Bugs can be a problem outside of any home. Typically, most people are used to dealing with rodents, roaches and ants but recently a new pest has been invading the United States that everyone should be cautious of. This new invasive species is making some people sick. Despite it’s name, you don’t want to get anywhere near the kissing bug.
Kissing bugs go by many names: assassin bugs, conenose bugs, and even vampire bugs. They’re scientific name is triatominae and they are a relatively new threat to the United States. They’re usually found in Asia, Africa, Australia and the southern U.S. border. But lately, there have been more reports of the dangerous critters appearing further north.
Kissing bugs have evolved to make their homes around humans and other vertebrates. These unwanted roommates feast on blood and rarely pay rent.
Kissing bugs are most active at night and like to attack people while they’re sleeping. Even worse, their bite can leave a parasite under the skin that could cause a condition known as Chagas disease.
Symptoms of Chagas disease are mild at first. People who are bitten will experience flu-like symptoms. However, about one third of people who contract the disease develop much worse problems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Rash, aches, fever, fatigue, swollen glands, and a loss of appetite occur in many people. In more severe cases, people experience abdominal pain, constipation, irregular heartbeat, and even sudden cardiac arrest.
Kissing bugs are small, darkly colored beetles. They have six legs and a light, golden pattern on their backs. Their bodies taper toward the head, giving them a sort of teardrop shape. Here’s what they look like at various points between nymph and fully grown.
The best course of action if you suspect you’ve been bitten by one of these deadly pests is to get to the doctor as soon as possible. Avoid rubbing or scratching the bite and do not touch your eyes. There is no known cure for the disease, so trying to minimize the chance of infection is the best course of action.
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