Adult Triatomine bugs (also called “kissing bugs”, cone-nosed bugs, and blood suckers) are about 1/2 to 1 inch long. Kissing bugs hatch from small eggs and go through five juvenile (nymphal) stages before they become adults. They feed on blood and are active mostly at night. There are many beetles and non-triatomine reduviid bugs that resemble the triatomine bug. Two examples of non-triatomine reduviid bugs that do not feed on human blood, but prey upon other insects are the wheel bug and the western corsair. Some plant-feeding bugs, such as the leaf-footed bug also resemble the triatomine. Non-kissing bugs. If you are unsure if the bug you’ve found is a kissing bug, then you can bring it to the Environmental Division at the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District located at 1700 3rd Street, Wichita Falls, TX 76301 for identification. Kissing bugs are a 'vector' because they can carry a parasite that can make people and animal sick. The parasite is Trypanosoma cruzi and it causes Chagas disease.
Texas A&M University has a team that will test kissing bugs for Chagas. For more information on this program, click here. The Health District does NOT send bugs to Texas A&M.
The Vector/Mosquito Control Program does NOT treat for kissing bugs.
Where are kissing bugs found?
Kissing bugs can live indoors, in cracks and holes of substandard housing, or in a variety of outdoor settings including beneath porches, between rocky structures, under cement, in rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark, in rodent nests or animal burrows, in outdoor dog houses or kennels, and in chicken coops or houses. They are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (as far south as southern Argentina). The following image shows the different species of kissing bugs found in the United States: