Also know as: Conenose Bugs, Assassin Bug, Hualapai Tiger. Kissing Bug, common name for any of several large species of true bugs that suck the blood of mammals, so called because their favorite site of attack is on the face about the lips. These bugs belong to an insect group found almost exclusively in the Americas. The so-called big bed bug, or conenose, of the Southwestern United States, is a black insect, margined on the sides of the abdomen with red. This species (about 25 mm/1 in long) commonly bites humans, but also lives outdoors, feeding on the blood of rodents. The South American barbeiro, or conenose, is the principal vector of the parasite that causes Chagas’ disease, which is a form of trypanosomiasis.
Scientific classification: Kissing bugs belong to the family Reduviidae, of the order Hemiptera. The big bed bug, or conenose, is classified as Triatoma sanguisuga. The South American barbeiro is classified as Triatoma megistus.
All potential breeding areas such as rodent and bird nests and trash piles in or near houses should be eliminated. Since these bugs fly at night and are attracted to light, adequate screening must be used around windows and doors. Use non-attractive insect yellow lights, if possible. Be sure to caulk and seal any openings into the house. Should a bug alight on one’s face or hand, it should be brushed off gently since it is likely to bite if pinched or crushed. Usually only a few individual bugs are found in the home at one time except for the bloodsucking conenose, which may be in groups of 10 to 15 at a time or scattered singly. Do not handle bugs. Use a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner to collect and discard individuals.
“Kissing Bug,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
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Ohio State University.
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