A New Threat in New Jersey
July 31, 2018
As if there weren’t enough unwanted pests in New Jersey, there is a now a new pest threat in town! Kissing bugs, which can be found in about thirty southern states, are potentially making their way north! While they haven’t been identified in New Jersey yet, there is a very real threat as neighboring states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia have all had confirmed sightings of these kissing bugs. While these bugs may have an innocent, sweet-sounding name, kissing bugs are definitely not a pest you want to come in contact with.
What Is A Kissing Bug?
The kissing bug, more formally known as the triatomine bug, is a species of blood-sucking pests. Like mosquitoes, these kissing bugs will bite and feed on human blood, leaving behind itchy bite marks. These kissing bugs look nothing like mosquitoes, however; instead, these bugs resemble other types of bugs like stink bugs or wheel bugs, with a few unique, distinguishing characteristics. Kissing bugs have a long, sharp mouth part and often have a bright, orangish-yellow striped pattern around the perimeter of their bodies.
What Problems do Kissing Bugs Cause?
Kissing bug bites often cause an intense itching sensation. The itching from these bites is often so unbearable that steroid treatments are required as well as home remedies like calamine lotion and oatmeal baths.
These kissing bugs present a much bigger problem than unbearable itching, however. These bugs are also known to carry and transmit Chagas disease which, once contracted, is a lifelong condition. The symptoms of this disease are varied and can be quite unpredictable. Some people can be infected and not show any symptoms, while others may experience mild symptoms such as fevers, swelling, and fatigue. The people who show no symptoms and remain untreated may experience issues later in life such as abnormal heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, or dilation of the colon or esophagus. In rare cases, particularly in children, the elderly, or immunocompromised people, Chagas disease can lead to death.
Should New Jersey Residents be Alarmed?
At this time, there have been no kissing bugs found in New Jersey, but the threat is still very real. These bugs can be found in several of the states surrounding New Jersey, so it is important to be vigilant while traveling, especially when traveling to nearby states, to avoid aiding in the spread of these dangerous, disease-spreading pests. While Chagas disease may sound alarming, it’s not as easily transmitted as you may expect. The parasite that causes Chagas disease is transmitted through the feces of the bug, not through their bite. To transmit this disease, the infected feces would have to come into contact with an open wound, a mucous membrane such as the eyes, or get inside the mouth. In addition, not all kissing bugs are carriers of Chagas disease.
As with any pest, you should take precautions around your home and property to avoid these pests gaining entry to your home. At Arrow Pest Control, we offer year-round pest control solutions to help you keep your home safe from a variety of pests. Don’t hesitate, give us a call today!