Kisses from kissing bugs are no fun. Since these creatures are bloodsuckers, they feed on animals’ and humans’ blood.
In addition, kissing bugs can live almost anywhere. Therefore, you should protect your house and loved ones from them.
Despite their harmless name, kissing bugs spread a disease that threatens the lives of animals and humans.
They tend to bite around the lip, mouth, and eyes. Hence, it is crucial to find natural ways to get rid of kissing bugs.
In this post, you will discover all things about kissing bugs. Read on to learn some techniques for kissing bug control.
Table of Contents
- Kissing Bug Detection
- Are Kissing Bugs Dangerous?
- What Attracts Kissing Bugs?
- Where Do Kissing Bugs Hide in a Home?
- How to Get Rid of Kissing Bugs Naturally
- The Life Cycle of Kissing Bugs
- The Habitat of Kissing Bugs
- To Summarize
Kissing Bug Detection
Kissing bugs are nocturnal and secretive. You can hardly spot them in the open during the daytime.
They love to hang out around lights at night too.
These little, obnoxious bugs got their name in the 20th century since they have a habit of sucking blood from the facial area of their victims.
The bites indicate that there is an infestation. Moreover, the mark of a kissing bug bite looks like clusters of small bites.
Kissing bugs bite the victims using their long piercing mouthparts. Typically, their bites are not harmful.
They just cause redness and mild pain.
Since the bites go unnoticed, the victims are usually aware of the bites after waking up from their sleep.
Most victims even have little to no reaction. However, sensitive people usually show an allergic reaction to the kissing bugs’ saliva.
They can experience swelling and itching.
You must work cautiously around the infestation. That way, you do not get bitten and infected with the disease.
Are Kissing Bugs Dangerous?
Now, you probably wonder, can kissing bugs kill you? Kissing bugs or conenose bugs are potentially deadly.
Not only do they bite animals and humans, but also they may transmit Chagas disease through their feces.
After sucking the blood of their hosts, kissing bugs defecate near the bites. Scratching the bites of kissing bugs allows the feces to get into the hosts’ bodies.
If those kissing bugs carry the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, the victims become infected with Chagas disease.
The hosts usually experience diarrhea, headaches, vomiting, body aches, and fever.
In some cases, animals and people who suffer from Chagas disease have serious complications, including digestive and heart problems.
There are kissing bug species that do not spread life-threatening Chagas disease, they can bite you, though.
Additionally, they may produce allergic reactions.
What Attracts Kissing Bugs?
Some people did not know how they did get kissing bugs. Here are things that attract those pesky, nocturnal insects:
Bright Outdoor Lighting
Kissing bugs love bright doorway and porch lights. Such lighting can entice the kissing bugs into the homes with ease.
As I said earlier, kissing bugs feed on animals. Outdoor dogs or cats lure kissing bugs inside people’s homes.
Kissing bugs constantly seek out a meal.
Apart from dwelling in the garden, these insects choose pets and animal quarters as their vital harborage areas.
You may find kissing bugs around poultry quarters or dog houses.
Where Do Kissing Bugs Hide in a Home?
Kissing bugs can get inside your home through several entry points such as windows, open chimney flues, and patio door gaps.
They remain hidden during the day. Indoors, you can also see them hiding in exposed cracks or crawl spaces.
Always check the cracks in floors, walls, or furniture units.
These spots are kissing bugs’ favorites for sure. Moreover, they reside in dark, dry crevices during the daytime.
If you bring your pets indoors, chances are the kissing bugs also hide near or under pet beds.
However, you probably do not have much luck hunting for kissing bugs in your home. Consider looking for them in your yard because they primarily take up residence outdoors.
Look in animal burrows, flower beds, and gardens. Also, it is important to search for them in the piles of bricks, leaf litter, mulch, and yard debris.
Once you have found the kissing bugs, take note of their dwellings before deterring them. Refrain from touching the kissing bugs with bare hands.
Moreover, you should not squish them on the floor to prevent infected bugs from transmitting the disease.
How to Get Rid of Kissing Bugs Naturally
Prior to addressing the kissing bug problem, you should identify kissing bugs properly.
People usually mistake these blood-feeding insects for wheel bugs, boxelder bugs, stink bugs, and squash bugs.
Kissing bugs show clear differences. The adults are about ½-1 inch or 14-24 mm long. They mostly boast deep brown or black coloring on their oval-shaped bodies.
Additionally, some kissing bugs feature yellow, orange, and red markings on the abdomen.
To tell if you are dealing with kissing bugs, take a look at their heads carefully. Apart from having thin legs and antennae, they possess cone-shaped heads.
Eradicating kissing bugs is undoubtedly a good call.
By doing so, you can shield your loved ones from potentially dangerous kissing bugs. Here are eco-friendly actions you should take when having them around:
Kissing bugs are a true nuisance in buildings and homes. Thus, keep those bloodsuckers from visiting your home by implementing these methods:
1. Inspect Indoor Pets for Kissing Bugs
If you are looking to deter kissing bugs, it is advisable to work during the day.
Kissing bugs are nocturnal hence they are active at night. It is no secret that kissing bugs target pets like cats and dogs.
If you have indoor pets, the bugs tend to be close to the pets’ sleeping areas. No wonder you will likely spot them under cats’ and dogs’ beds.
Indoor pets that consume infected kissing bugs can get Chagas disease.
Kissing bugs love to stay close to cats or dogs because they cannot attach to pets, unlike ticks. That way, these insects can suck pets’ blood when they are asleep.
Consider looking at areas where your pets sleep, especially near the beds. If the kissing bugs are there, you must take action shortly.
2. Seal Entry Points of Kissing Bugs
Without a doubt, sealing any cracks is an incredible way to prevent kissing bugs from creating a large indoor infestation.
You should seal small gaps in your doors, roofs, walls, or windows using copper mesh or caulk.
Kissing bugs could enter the house hunting for their food sources through these spots. As a homeowner, you must check your structure’s foundation.
Also, do not forget to seal any crevices.
Replacing or repairing broken window screens is undoubtedly a great idea. In addition, you have to repair your attic vents.
If your weather stripping is not in good condition, then you should replace it immediately.
3. Make a DIY Bottle Trap
If you’re a DIYer, you’ll love this neat trick. This homemade kissing bug trap is equal parts simple and affordable.
First of all, grab a bottle. Make sure it is large enough to accommodate an electric candle inside.
Set the bottle’s top aside. Next, arrange non-stick tape strips vertically, so the kissing bugs can climb it up with ease.
You may wonder, can kissing bugs fly? These pesky insects can fly, but they love to crawl too. The light of the electric candle will lure in kissing bugs.
Put the electric candle inside the bottle.
After turning the candle on, you will have to place the bottle’s top back on upside down. This trap resembles a funnel.
When the night arrives, annoying kissing bugs will approach the light and crawl into the bottle via vertical strips.
As a result, it will be hard for those bloodsuckers to get out.
4. Use Garlic Spray
If you want an eco-friendly bug repellent, this idea comes in handy. However, the garlic spray only deters the kissing bugs, not kill them.
Since kissing bugs hate the strong smell of raw garlic, the spray will make a fabulous repellent. Just mix organic dish soap, fresh garlic, and some water in a bottle.
Spritz the indoor plants and kissing bugs’ entry points with the garlic spray. This method ensures those bugs do not have a nerve entering the home.
5. Make a Neem Oil Spray
You can use neem oils to deter kissing bugs of all stages.
Although neem oil cannot kill kissing bugs, it immunizes the bugs against the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite that hides inside them.
Mix water with 2-3 drops of neem oil. Then, use the spray to coat the kissing bugs with neem oil.
This DIY neem oil spray is an amazing kissing bug deterrent. Just spray it everywhere they hang out.
6. Put Essential Oils to Good Use
This is an awesome kissing bug control remedy. You can use essential oils in indoor areas with kissing bug infestations.
As you know, there are specific smells that they loathe.
Pick strong essential oils such as tea tree, mint, and citronella. Then, mix 2 drops of your favorite essential oil with water.
Apply the essential oil generously everywhere you spot kissing bugs gathering. The oil’s pungent smell will drive them away.
7. Create a Shiny Container Trap
Speaking of kissing bug traps, the ideas are nearly endless. This homemade trap is incredible because these pesky insects love all things shiny at night.
The trap is such a foolproof way to get rid of kissing bugs.First, find any shiny container.
Then, fill half of the container with soapy water. For this trap, I suggest using turkey pans or bread pans.
Place the shiny container trap in a warm, dark spot where you have found kissing bugs.
At night, switch on the lamp. Its light will shine on the container. The kissing bugs will try reaching for the light.
However, they will fall in before suffocating in the soapy water.
Apart from getting rid of kissing bugs indoors, you need to keep the outside of your house kissing bug-free.
Not only do these methods prevent outdoor infestations but also ensure your loved ones can enjoy the yard in peace.
8. Switch Off Unused Outdoor Lights
As I mentioned earlier, kissing bugs are huge fans of bright exterior lights. That is why you must switch the outdoor lights off when not in use.
Using porch lights gives homeowners a sense of security during the nighttime. However, they can attract troublesome insects, including kissing bugs.
Besides pesky kissing bugs, mosquitoes and flies gather around outdoor lights at night.
If you have seen an invasion of kissing bugs in your yard, it is better to not turn them on. Another option is changing white lights to yellow or red lights.
These lights do not lure in many insects the way regular lights do.
9. Declutter the Yard
An uncluttered yard can draw in all kinds of critters. Opossums and raccoons are extremely attracted to it too.
You should make sure your yard is clear of firewood and bush piles. Also, move the piles of rock away from the house.
Firewood piles are undoubtedly an excellent hiding place for small mammals.
Kissing bugs also love to conceal themselves in these places during the day. Since they are bloodsuckers, they always stay close to their targets.
If you stack the firewood near your house, chances are, kissing bugs and other bothersome pests can enter the home easily via gaps or cracks.
Clearing out piles of wood and bush is definitely recommended, even if there is no active kissing bug infestation yet.
Well-maintained areas keep mammals from residing there and attracting kissing bugs.
RELATED: How to Get Rid of Bugs in Garden Soil
The Life Cycle of Kissing Bugs
Kissing bugs are in the order Hemiptera. The females lay their eggs in spring. Then, kissing bug eggs will turn into nymphs (immature bugs).
The young kissing bugs need a blood meal every time they molt.
Moreover, the nymphs will molt 5 times. They feed on their victims heavily to change their skin and grow bigger.
As the young bug reaches adulthood, it changes in color and appearance.
The Habitat of Kissing Bugs
Conenose bugs or kissing bugs live throughout the Americas. You can see these creatures in many states across the U.S.
Kissing bugs are a regular occurrence in southern states like Texas and Arizona. However, you will spot them in the northern states.
Forget about their cute name! Kissing bugs can pose a fatal health risk to you and your family. You can get rid of them by taking serious measures.
With the eco-friendly techniques above, you will be prepared to avoid kissing bug infestations—indoors and outdoors.
They will help you keep your entire family safe, too.