Arkansas July 12, 2019
A Parasitic Bug Has Been Spotted Throughout Arkansas And Its Bite Can Be Deadly
The mild winter and consistent rains have brought bugs out in droves from
butterflies to ticks. Unfortunately, another pest has popped up, the kissing bug. Let’s learn more about this creepy crawly and how to keep them as far away as possible.
If you just realized that you’d rather not learn more about this nightmare-inducing parasite, please feel free to head over to this
lovely waterfall hike instead.
This little pest is
Trypanosoma cruzi, also known as the kissing bug.
It's common name comes from its tendency to bite people on the face. The personal space invading parasite is typically harmless, though some bites have proved to be deadly.
The kissing bug can be found in a variety of sizes throughout the southern states of America.
They vary from penny-size up to quarter-size and have a distinct snout. The kissing bugs in Arkansas are typically one-half inch to 1-inch long and are darker in color. They can be most easily spotted by their orange-yellow markings.
The pests originated in rural South America but have now spread to the United States as well.
The south has been affected the most, with the majority of Chagas cases coming from Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. There have been confirmed sightings of 11 different species throughout the U.S.
The issue with kissing bugs is that they are known for carrying a parasite that can cause Chagas disease.
Chagas disease is transmitted to animals and humans solely from insects, and those infected may carry very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This infection can occur after being bitten by the kissing bug. The bug sucks blood after they bite and then defecates immediately after. If the rude bug's fecal matter gets into the bite, a Chagas infection can occur.
Chagas is an inflammatory disease that can cause serious illness if left untreated.
Some people can have Chagas without realizing they have the disease since the symptoms are typically swelling, headaches, fever, and body aches. However, the disease can be fatal to young children and people with weakened immune systems. The CDC has estimated 20-30% of infected people can have cardiac as well as gastrointestinal complications from untreated Chagas. A blood test can prove if you have been infected with Chagas, so it's important to contact your doctor if you suspect you've been bitten.
There's no need to panic about these pests, but there are measures you can take to keep them from invading your home.
The bugs are active at night so folks are bitten while they sleep. Kissing bugs are attracted to brush piles, wood decks, and sheds. Keep wood and brush piles away from your home and regularly clean underneath your deck as well as any outdoor buildings in the yard.
For more details on the pest, you can visit the
CDC, the AR Dept. of Health, and the Mayo Clinic.
Did you know about the kissing bug? Have you spotted one before? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
One place in Arkansas that’s 100 percent kissing bug-free is at this
geothermal steam cave.