- They are found in Central and South America, as well as Mexico and the Southern United States. There are 11 different species in the U.S.
- They are responsible for transmitting a nasty disease known as Chagas disease, which is on the increase in the United States.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 8 million people have the infection in the Americas and Mexico, with up to 300,000 infections in the United States.
- Some of the larger kissing bugs can reach 2.5 inches in length and take as long as 20 minutes or so to ‘fill up’ on blood!
- Some people are highly allergic to the bite of these bugs, which can result in anaphylactic shock.
- Kissing bugs have the nasty habit of defecating on the host while they are feeding, and this is how the parasites that cause Chagas disease are transmitted.
- And finally, the name? Well, they are not called ‘kissing bugs’ because of amorous tendencies. In fact, they generally bite people at night, when they are sleeping, and they prefer to bite on the face, around the lips. There you have it!
It’s Valentines Day, and supposedly, love is in the air! And guess what? So are some nasty insects called ‘kissing’ bugs. These creatures belong to the insect family Triatomidae, and they all feed exclusively on blood, including that of humans. Here are a few interesting facts about kissing bugs: