Kissing bug against a white background - Keep kissing bugs away from your home with Kona Coast Pest Control in Kailua Kona

Kissing Bug

Actual Size: ½ to 1”

Characteristics: Elongated, flat bodies with criss-crossed wings. Usually black with red, yellow, or tan markings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Often invades sleeping areas of mammals. May be found near beds, pet beds, or in nests.

Habits:

  • Can transmit a parasite that spreads Chagas disease. 
  • Primarily feeds on blood to grow or reproduce. 
  • Known for biting hosts on the face, which is how they get their nickname.
Featured Image

Kissing Bugs in Kailua Kona

Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, are characterized by their elongated bodies and distinct tri-segmented heads. They are typically dark brown or black and range in size from about half an inch to one inch in length. One unique feature is their mouthparts, which are adapted for piercing and sucking. Kissing bugs earned their name due to their tendency to bite humans around the lips or face, often attracted to the carbon dioxide emitted during breathing. While their bites are generally painless, kissing bugs are vectors for a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

Kissing Bug Habitat

Kissing bugs are commonly found in the Americas, particularly in warmer regions. They prefer outdoor habitats such as woodpiles, animal nests, and cracks in walls. These insects are nocturnal, emerging at night to feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes humans. They are attracted to light sources, making them more noticeable around illuminated areas.

Kissing Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

While the bite of a kissing bug is usually painless, the real concern lies in their role as vectors for Chagas disease. When feeding, kissing bugs defecate near the bite wound, introducing the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite into the bloodstream when the person scratches the bite site. Chagas disease can lead to serious health issues, including heart and digestive problems. It’s important to be cautious and take preventive measures in regions where kissing bugs are prevalent. If you are dealing with a kissing bug issue on your property, contact your local pest control experts.