Are kissing bugs in NC? Yes, sadly, they are. Kissing bugs are found in North Carolina and other southern states of the U.S. The raunchy little critters are also known as assassin or cone-nosed bugs. Like mosquitoes, kissing bugs feed on blood from animals or people. The bugs get their name because they crawl around your face while you sleep and bite around your eyes and lips.
Most kissing bugs (triatomines) hide out during day and search for blood during night (vampire-like) when the host is asleep, and the air is cooler. Odors and heat guide these bloodsuckers to their chow. Carbon dioxide emanating from breath, as well as ammonia, short-chain amines, and carboxylic acids from skin, hair, and exocrine glands from vertebrate animals, are among the volatiles that attract triatomines. Vision also serves for orientation. At night, adults fly to houses attracted by light.
IT’S NOT THE BITE
The kissing bugs can deliver the Chagas (T. cruzi) parasite to humans and mammals (birds are immune to the parasite). According to the CDC, it’s not the bite itself that transmits the parasite. Here’s the nasty news: The bug bites and then defecates. “The parasite is in the feces. If the feces from an infected insect gets into the wound, that is when we see an infection.” Transmission usually happens when a person accidentally rubs the poop into the bite wound or into a mucous membrane such as the eye or the mouth. That’s cringeworthy.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THESE CREEPY LITTLE VAMPIRES?
Kissing bugs can hide in cracks and holes in beds, floors, walls, and furniture. They are most likely to be found:
1. Near places where a pet, such as a dog or cat, spends time.
2. In areas where mice or other rodents live.
3. Near beds, especially under mattresses or on furniture close to the bed.
1. Seal gaps around windows and doors. Fill in any holes or cracks in walls or screens that could let kissing bugs into your house.
2. Let your pets sleep inside, especially at night. Keep pets from sleeping in a bedroom. Keep clean areas where your pet sleeps.
3. Clean up any piles of wood or rocks that are up against your house.
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