If you live in a warm, southern location, you know springtime signifies kissing bug season. This bug species is responsible for inflicting painful kissing bug bites and is particularly problematic for those with allergies, so it’s vital to prevent a kissing bug infestation by taking the proper pest control measures.
Contrary to its name, the kissing bug does not kiss. Like bed bugs, kissing bugs or assassin bugs bite and feed on you or your pet’s blood while you sleep. Kissing bugs are usually harmless, but they may cause an allergic reaction and some spread disease.
These pests transmit Chagas disease, mostly in rural areas from Central America and Latin America to South America. This infectious disease, discovered by Carlos Chagas, may lead to intestinal problems and heart disease. It’s crucial to keep these bugs out of the home or call a pest control service to prevent an infestation.
Ways to Prevent a Kissing Bug Infestation
While the kissing bug is a problem pest, there are ways to keep them away from your living space and prevent an infestation. Learn what this insect is, what attracts it to the yard, and how to eliminate it with home remedies.
Kissing Bugs and the Problems They Cause
While the name kissing bug conjures up a pleasant type of insect, this bug is actually a nuisance. Learn about these bugs and why they are a problem pest around the home.
There are different types of kissing bugs, or conenose bugs, including Triatoma protracta and Triatoma sanguisuga. They are usually a half-inch to an inch long with brown or black wings. Kissing bugs look like a stink bug. You may also wonder if you have a stink bug or squash bug. However, like the mosquito and tick, the kissing bug needs blood to survive.
While they usually get their food source from animals, they sometimes bite people. The best way to avoid an infected bug bite from a kissing bug is to keep these insects away from the house.
These annoying bugs get their name because they tend to bite their victim near the mouth or eyes. However, they are not picky and bite anywhere on the body, usually while you’re sleeping.
Their bite resembles those of the bed bug and may cause minor skin irritations. According to public health officials, the kissing bug is a known vector of a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that causes Chagas disease, primarily in the Americas.
What Attracts Kissing Bugs?
You’re probably aware that stink bugs and fruit flies love fruit, and house flies like hanging out around trash, but what attracts kissing bugs? Discover what stink bugs are attracted to and what draws the kissing bug to your yard and home to help you keep these pests at bay.
The kissing bug or reduviid bug enjoys living in piles of wood and leaves, in a chicken coop or outdoor dog house, rodent and opossum nests, and under porches. Leaving these areas unchecked may lead to a kissing bug problem.
Additionally, kissing bugs are attracted to light. Since they tend to live with rodents, a rodent infestation often leads to a kissing bug infestation.
Using Essential Oils to Stop a Kissing Bug Infestation
One of our favorite ways to stop kissing bugs is to use essential oils – there are several types that these insects hate. This is one of the home remedies for stink bugs and some other insects, too. Discover how to make an essential oil spray to repel these pests from the area.
Most strong scented essential oils repel the kissing bug or triatomine bug, but peppermint, citronella, tea tree, and lavender essential oil are some of the most effective.
Fill a glass spray bottle with water and add several drops of your oil of choice. Spray it in areas where you suspect kissing bugs may have access to your home, such as doorways, small holes, or cracks, and reapply as needed.
Using Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Kissing Bugs
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder that eliminates insects by penetrating their exoskeleton, and it’s useful for everything from kissing bug prevention to bed bug control. Sprinkle it in the garden for bugs on romaine lettuce or insects on your tomatoes. Apply DE in and around the house to eliminate kissing bugs without using harmful chemicals.
Don a mask so you don’t inhale the powder, and sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the house in areas where you suspect kissing bug activity.
Spread it across patio and door entryways, windowsills, the attic and garage, and other places of interest. Use an applicator to get into foundation cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach areas.
How to Make a Kissing Bug Trap
Kissing bugs or conenose bugs are nocturnal blood-feeders, and you can’t always catch them in the act. Setting up traps helps capture these pests while you sleep. Make an insect trap to stop a conenose bug infestation.
Use scissors or a knife to slice off the top third of the soda bottle and set it aside. Turn on the LED candle and put it in the bottom of the bottle.
Flip the bottle top over, place it inside the bottom section to create a funnel, and secure the two parts with tape. Place the trap where you see kissing bugs and watch as the insects crawl into the bottle to the light and cannot get out.
Eliminating Kissing Bugs with a DIY Garlic Spray
Believe it or not, there is a nugget of truth to vampires hating garlic. We should clarify, though, that we mean vampire bugs or kissing bugs, not Count Dracula. Eliminate a vampire bug infestation with homemade garlic spray.
Place the garlic cloves into a blender, add the water and a squirt of soap, and blend until liquified. Strain the garlic liquid through cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer into a spray bottle to prevent clogging the sprayer, and spray the garlic water in areas where you see kissing bugs.
Kissing Bug Prevention Steps
Knowing what attracts kissing bugs and ways to eliminate them are excellent first steps to cutting back on the kissing bug population and avoiding a kissing bug bite. However, there are other forms of kissing bug prevention. Follow these tips for keeping these blood-sucking pests in check.
Use weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows and doors, and apply caulk to cracks and crevices around the outside of the house to keep kissing bugs from having easy access indoors. Use traps or sprays to keep mice and rats out of the yard to prevent a rodent and kissing bug infestation.
Keep the yard free of piles of rocks or wood, clean up leaf debris, and keep the chicken coop and doghouse away from the house. Install a bug zapper for kissing bug control, and change the outdoor lighting from bright light bulbs to bug light bulbs.
The kissing bug is a pest we’d rather not have in the home since it likes to feed on those who sleep and leaves an uncomfortable bug bite.
Stopping a kissing bug infestation is a form of disease control since these pests carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get rid of these insects and keep them from invading your space.
Now that you know how to prevent a kissing bug infestation, why not share our kissing bug elimination and prevention guide with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?