Today since we are moving into the summer months in southern Arizona and…well…most of the country I want to address another topic of concern. Kissing Bugs.
These bugs are some nasty little creatures, to me, and are probably the only bug that gives me the hee-bie-jee-bies. They hide out during the day and come out at night, although I have been hit by them even in the daylight while out tanning away from any other source of cover. Just my luck, right?
Anyways, these kissing bugs gets their nickname from the wounds that would occur on sailors while Darwin was cruising his ships around the oceans of the “New World” at that time. The sailors would have their marks around their lips because of most likely the carbon monoxide emitted from the breath that attracted the bug. They feed on blood. I know creepy right. They inject a numbing agent into the victim while sucking the blood so more often than not you don’t feel them on you or sucking the blood from your veins. With me they most often attack on areas like the ankles or neck similar to bites from mosquitoes. Or other times, simply everywhere.
Their Bite vs. Mosquito
Since the comparison was already there and people who don’t know about the bugs ask me what it feels like this is how I compare it. Imagine a mosquito bit that gets about 5 times as large and itches just about that many times worse but also has a little sting or burning feeling to it. That’s my reaction and I’ve been bitten or stung by just about everything venomous in southern Arizona except a rattlesnake and Gila monster.
Chagas and Allergic Reactions:
Chagas is a disease found in the bugs is actually a parasite that is delivered into the victim’s blood stream after the kissing bug bites and then defecates by the wound where it has access to the blood stream through the epidermis. They can also be transmitted during the transfusion of the blood or how I like to look at it, the draining of my blood to satisfy its evil little hunger. There are many types of symptoms that follow the contraction of Chagas including: vomiting, diarrhea, rash, fever, and more. (Check out symptoms on a medical website for more information).
Some people have an allergic reaction. Like I mentioned earlier I get a bad swelling bite and usually get bit a few times a year. Sometimes, like when I was young, these bugs would light me up at night and leave my brother alone just a bed away. They choose their victims based on scent and other factors. I guess I was just sweeter. Another brother of mine needs penicillin after being bitten or perhaps medical attention based on the case.
So just a little reminder for the year that they are out. Keep a clean yard free of pack rat nests where they like to live and feed on the rodents but also any other trash piles or dark areas. You never know what lurks in those desert shadows. Also they make a different noise when fluttering around at night. It’s different from a moth and my fear of these bugs has trained me to identify it. It is a crackly, brittle wing noise and usually brief because they stalk and fly from point A to B unlike a moth that will continue to flutter.
Keep a watchful eye out for these bugs and be safe.
Thanks for Reading,
Joshua Crane Dowidat