Oh no, Florida has a native blood-sucking kissing bug? Tell me it isn’t so! Hide the children and hide the pets, grab the bug spray and install the bed nets! That’s probably what you’re thinking…Right? Well, it’s not quite that bad.
Although it’s true, we do have the Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose (Triatoma sanguisuga) in Florida, it doesn’t possess the health concern as its cousins south of the border.
Its cousin, commonly called Vinchuca (Triatoma infestans), is found in Central and South America and is the vector of the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite known as Chagas Disease. There are a few other blood-sucking kissing bugs that carry the disease down that way, but Vinchuca is the main culprit.
Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose Kissing Bugs naturally live outdoors and hide in dark crevices during the day. At night, they emerge in search of a blood meal from raccoons, possums, dogs, cattle, deer, or other mammals. If they enter a house, they seek out dark crevices such as cracks around doors and floors. They’ll even hide behind curtains…Any small dark area will do.
You’re probably wondering how they got the name Kissing Bug. When they emerge to seek out a blood meal from a sleeping person, they will usually feed on the face typically near the mouth. Hence the name Kissing Bug. Is this freaking you out yet?!
If you’re all worried now about Blood-sucking Conenose Kissing Bugs infesting your home, fear not. You have a much better chance of getting a Bed Bug infestation. Although Florida does have these insidious creatures, home infestations are quite rare. Now, that should make you feel much better!