South Carolina is home to quite a few insect pests, and there’s now one more to add to the list. Experts have found evidence that kissing bugs have made their way to our state. These pests can spread disease, making it important for you to learn more about them and get immediate help for a South Carolina kissing bug infestation if you have one.

Kissing Bugs

What exactly are kissing bugs? These bugs are similar to ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs in that they feed on human blood. They attach themselves to people and bite in order to feed. As with bed bugs, this typically occurs when people are asleep in their bed.

Identifying Kissing Bugs

How do you know if you’re dealing with a kissing bug problem? These pests have a black or light brown appearance in general, although some species have reddish or yellowish markings on them. They also have a cone-shaped head. Kissing bugs grow up to an inch in length when they’re adults. They’re able to hide in any spot that offers cover, so you might find them in several areas of your home.

Kissing Bug Behavior

If you’re wondering how these pests got their name, it’s due to the way they feed on people. The South Carolina kissing bug and other kissing bug species tend to bite people on their face when they feed, rather than on the arms or other areas as bed bugs do.

Kissing bugs come out at night after hiding all day in mattresses, bed linens or other hiding places. They usually take up to a half-hour to feed, but you’re unlikely to notice. These pests inject you with an anesthetizing agent that stops you from feeling their bites when they occur. Instead, you’ll notice bite marks on your face when you wake up in the morning.

Problems with Kissing Bugs

What kinds of problems do kissing bugs cause? These bugs can cause skin irritation, such as redness or itchiness, in people who are allergic or sensitive to their bites. However, these bites usually don’t cause a noticeable reaction.

However, kissing bugs have been found to carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can be fatal in some individuals. During the early phase, you might have a fever, body aches, a rash, fatigue, headaches and other milder symptoms. Without treatment, this disease can enter an advanced stage that can lead to heart failure, blood clots, an enlarged heart or other organs, and sudden cardiac arrest.

How Kissing Bugs Enter Homes

How do these pests manage to get inside homes? They can enter anywhere that offers them a small opening, such as a torn screen. They might also fly in through unscreened, open windows. Kissing bugs typically live outdoors in hollow trees that other animals have inhabited, such as rats or raccoons. These bugs feed on other mammals, reptiles and birds, so being outside provides them with easier access to several sources of blood.

Kissing Bug Prevention

How can you lower your risk of ending up with a South Carolina kissing bug problem? The best way is to close up any possible entry points for these pests, such as gaps and cracks on your home’s exterior and around doors and windows. You can use caulk to seal these or install weather stripping to keep them from entering near doors and windows.

Keep in mind that closing entry points also reduces your risk of having other pests enter your home. Moving firewood away from your home and removing debris from your yard can help lower the risk of having kissing bugs around as well.

If you need pest control for a South Carolina kissing bug problem or other pest problems, please contact Island Pest Control. Our knowledgeable technicians will do a thorough inspection of your property and provide reliable pest control services.