Watch Out for Kissing Bugs in Central Texas

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Do not let the cute name fool you, kissing bugs (also known as “cone-nose bugs or chinches” according to KWTX) have been spotted in Central Texas. These insects tend to bite people around the mouth and eye area, and unfortunately, those who are bit could come into contact with Chagas if the bug was infected by a parasite that is carrying the disease. Chagas results in flu-like symptoms that could become very serious with heart and stomach issues if left untreated.

You’ve probably heard of these insects before since they pose a yearly problem. In 2014, CBS Austin reported that many dogs in the area were contracting Chagas, and the disease was showing up in people, as well. They stated that the dreaded kissing bugs are usually about the size of a quarter and can be found in crevices outside. They become active at night when they’re looking for blood and tend to be attracted to bright white lights.

KWTX quotes Dr. Michael Merchant who says to stay safe, Texans should, “Seal exterior cracks and openings into buildings and keep chimney flues closed tightly. Inspect and seal any openings from crawl spaces into the house sub-flooring. Check pets for signs of feeding and examine pet houses.”