Kissing Bugs

Triatominae

Kissing bugs earned their name through the process of how they eat. They use an anesthetizing agent that they have in their saliva, and then suck the blood from a point on a person, usually on their face. The whole process can take up to thirty minutes so they normally will attack when their victim is sleeping, and with their numbing agent in the saliva most don’t know they are there. They are known to attack mammals, birds, and reptiles. They sneak into homes to feed through gaps in windows or doors, and when outside they generally live in hollowed out trees where they can get the blood from other mammals such as squirrels and rats.

Kissing bugs are generally not know to cause any damage to people, however recently they have been shown to carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease. While the disease is focused in Central and South America, it has slowly made it’s way up to the US and the CDC has stated that nearly 300,000 people in the US have been infected by the parasite.

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