How To Keep Kissing Bugs Out of Your Home
Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, are members of the family of “true bugs” called Hemiptera. There are more than 30 known species of kissing bug in North America. 12 of these species can be found in the United States, but most are found in the warmer climates of the Southwest. A few species are known for carrying Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas Disease. The kissing bug feeds on blood and often defecates on the bite afterwards, potentially infecting the victim with the disease-causing parasite. There have been at least 2 different Chagas carrying species that have been reported in Arizona. While most reports in AZ have been for the Tucson area, the species has a wide migratory area and can be found in outskirt suburban areas. You should contact a Pest Control company if you believe there are Kissing Bugs in your home, Mesa and Gilbert residents should be particularly on the alert.
In many cases, Chagas Disease victims show no symptoms initially. If symptoms are present, however, they’re usually mild and flu-like and involve headache, lymph node swelling, fever and swelling at the bite location. The chronic stage of Chagas occurs between eight and 12 weeks later, although roughly 60 to 70 percent of people show no progression of symptoms. The remaining 30 to 40 percent of victims may not notice additional symptoms until anywhere between ten and 30 years later. What makes Chagas so dangerous is that it can result in fatal cardiac and digestive disorders. Chagas disease is not curable, and instances of drug-resistant Trypanosoma cruzi have been increasing. Fortunately, there are steps homeowners can take to avoid the disease-carrying kissing bug.
Change Your Lights
Like most flying insects, the kissing bug is attracted to light in the blue, or cool, end of the spectrum. If you use white lights on your porch or patio, you may be inviting these pests into your home. To avoid this, switch those cool-spectrum bulbs out for LEDs or yellow bug lights instead. These bugs cannot see light in this end of the spectrum, so they won’t be attracted to it.
Check Your Pets
Humans aren’t the only creatures kissing bugs feed on. The family cat or dog also makes a suitable meal. If you let your pet outside, there’s a chance they might bring home a kissing bug in their fur. For this reason, you should make a habit of checking them thoroughly each time they come back inside.
If you bring in wood to use in your fireplace, it’s important to inspect it thoroughly before hand. Spiders and cockroaches aren’t the only pests who like to hide under loose bark and in nooks and crannies in wood piles. The kissing bug is also known to favor these locations.
Seal Off Entry Points
Most bugs enter your home either by accident or as a way to avoid hot or cold temperatures, and the kissing bug is no exception. Therefore, it’s essential to identify any cracks, holes, or other openings in the exterior of your home and seal them up with a weather-resistant caulk. Check carefully around windows, screens, foundations and attic vents. If your door seals are cracked or degrading, replace them.
Keep Your Yard Tidy
Kissing bugs are not often seen in cultivated, well-maintained yards and gardens. This is because they prefer wild, overgrown environments that make it easier to hide from predators. Keep your yard free of tall weeds and mow your grass regularly. Remove any brush heaps, keep firewood piles away from the house and don’t allow junk to accumulate on your property.
Kissing bugs are a dangerous threat to human and animal health, and data shows that the incidence of Chagas disease is becoming more common throughout the United States. By following the preventative steps above, you can help safeguard yourself and your family against this pest.
If you live in the Phoenix area and have captured or believe you have Kissing bugs in your home contact Green Home Pest Control to help rid your infestation and protect your home.
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