Deadly ‘Kissing Bug’ Has Invaded Indiana
The Center for Disease Control and Protection is warning residents in the United States about a deadly bug that has made its way to 12 different states including Indiana. An insect know as a Triatominae, has been known to bite people in the face and infecting them with disease called Chagas. This disease has been dubbed as the deadly "Kissing Bug."
These insects are not something to mess around with. Some of the symptoms of Chagas are fever, fatigue, swelling and a rash but it can be more serious causing strokes or even heart failure. Your pets aren't even safe from the triatomine insects, as Chagas can actually give your pets heart disease.
I found what looked like a Triatominae in my house the other day. I can't say for sure if it was, but it certainly looked like one. These bugs, when found inside your home, are typically located near the places your pets sleep, in areas of rodent infestation, and in/around beds and bedrooms (especially under or near mattresses or night stands).
The one I found was on my night stand. I didn't take my chances, so I squished it...which apparently you aren't supposed to do if you find one. According to the CDC:
If you find a bug you suspect is a triatomine, do not touch or squash it. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for identification.
Surfaces that have come into contact with the bug should be cleaned with a solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (or 7 parts ethanol to 3 parts water).
The CDC posted key characteristics to Triatoma sanguisuga, which is the type of triatomine bug that has been reported in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois:
- Orange-red to yellowish horizontal markings covering ≥¼ of abdominal segment
- Mouthparts relatively hairless
- Pronotum black with orange-red to yellowish side and top margins
- Tip of scutellum long, narrow
- Distinctive orange-red to yellowish markings on wings
If you want to take precautions to keep the triatomine bug out of your house, the CDC recommends that you contact a licensed pest control operator before you use any insecticides to kill triatomine bugs. It should also be noted that roach hotels or other “bait” formulations do not work against these bugs. Other precautions to prevent house infestation recommended by the CDC include:
- Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
- Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
- Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
- If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
- Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
- Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
- Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs