Friday, August 30, 2013

Kissing Bugs

Conenose or Kissing Bugs

Conenose bugs, (also known as the kissing bug, and Hualapai tigers), are three-fourths to one and one-fourth inch long and usually dark brown with yellow or red markings. They may also be recognized by their cone-shaped noses and straight beaks and get their reputation because their feeding ritual happens to be on the blood of mammals. They primarily feed on rodents, especially pack rats and may also feed on humans. People living in desert areas may come in contact with conenose bugs because they are more abundant in the desert than in strictly urban areas. They are also particularly common in the foothills of mountains.

Conenose bugs move slowly and bite only when the victim is unaware, usually at night or when the person is sleeping or at rest. However, bites can occur during the day as well when people are engaged in sedentary work, such as reading, deskwork or sewing. Most people who are bitten have no sensation at the time of the bite, even if they are awake, but local reactions such as reddening, some swelling, and itching normally follow. In rare cases, more severe symptoms can occur, such as swelling of the tongue, larynx and trachea, making speaking, breathing and swallowing difficult for a period of 10 to 12 hours after the bite. If you suspect you have been bitten by one, and might be allergic, call your local poison control center immediately.

They fly at night and are attracted to lights. The bugs may accidentally get trapped inside homes or come indoors when pack rats or other rodents are killed, causing them to feed on humans and their pets. They can also enter through gaps around doors and window screens, and up from crawl spaces under flooring. Then, areas of low light intensity, such as under furniture and in closets, become their home until feeding time begins. Keeping outside lighting to a minimum and to keeping blinds closed after lights are turned on at night is the best prevention against conenose bugs. Also filling or caulking any cracks, covering vents with window screen, and making sure doors and windows close tightly will help. Call the Pest-Pros if a problem with Conenose Bugs is suspected.