How To: Get Rid of Kissing Bugs
The last thing you want to do is kiss a kissing bug. They’re known for being an assassin in the insect world and taking up residence almost anywhere on your property. Learn how to get rid of kissing bugs here.
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly harmless name: Kissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, carry diseases that can affect humans when the bite is scratched, allowing the bacteria to enter the skin. While these bugs help by eating other insects that invade your garden, it may not be worth keeping them around since they also feed on humans. These bugs get their moniker from their tendency to bite around the eyes and mouth, so it’s essential to find ways to keep these pesky, nocturnal insects out of your house. A kissing bug bite isn’t harmful to everyone who’s bitten, but there are still risks of infection from venom or feces left behind. If you live in the warm southern region of the country, it’s likely you’ve seen these insects and want to know how to get rid of kissing bugs.
Time required: 1 to 2 days
Estimated cost: $20 to $170
Before You Begin…
Though these insects may seem harmless, they may carry a disease called Chagas disease that causes severe itching and rashes near the bitten area, and may also cause vomiting, fatigue, or swelling. It’s essential to work cautiously around a kissing bug infestation to avoid being bitten and unwillingly donating blood to an insect. Animals are also at risk of being bitten, too. You can purchase a few common items to help prevent kissing bugs from getting in the house. In general, calling a pest control company is the safest and most effective way to thoroughly eliminate kissing bugs and the other insects they feed on.
Tips for How to Get Rid of Kissing Bugs
- Seal any cracks or holes where insects can crawl into the house, including windows, doorjambs, roofs, plumbing and electrical areas, and the foundation.
- Change porch light bulbs to yellow light bulbs designed to avoid attracting insects.
- Move any wood or debris piles away from the house.
- Use an insecticide spray with pyrethroid to control an infestation.
- Work during the day to avoid spending time in areas where kissing bugs are active at night.
- When using spray chemicals, make sure the area is ventilated.
- When changing light bulbs, make sure the power is off first.
- Do not touch a kissing bug with bare hands or squish it on the floor to avoid coming in contact with any diseases it may carry.
STEP 1: Identify the kissing bugs and their source.
Kissing bugs are easily identifiable. They are typically 1¼ inches long and have dark coloring on most of their oval-shaped body. Some species have tan, yellow, or red stripes along their abdomen. Their most identifiable feature is a unique cone-shaped head.
Typically, kissing bugs are found in the southern region of the U.S., especially from Arizona to Texas, but they have been seen in other northern states. They are nocturnal, so they will hide in dark, dry crevices during the day. Any cracks in furniture, walls, or floors are a potential home for kissing bugs, as well as under beds or near pet beds. Kissing bugs will hide in any outdoor debris piles from bricks to leaves.
STEP 2: Seal any cracks or gaps in windows, doors, walls, and the foundation.
Seal off any small gaps where kissing bugs could get into the house looking for accessible food sources. Inspect around doors, walls, windows, and the foundation and caulk or repair any cracks or holes. If window screens have tears of any size, you’ll want to replace or repair them. Make sure the weatherstripping on the bottom of any outside door is in good condition.
STEP 3: Inspect your pet before it comes inside.
Bugs are well known for hitching a ride in the fur of household pets, and kissing bugs are no exception. If your pet has a long coat, be sure to inspect it carefully to make sure kissing bugs aren’t hiding where they can feed on your pet at will. Wear gloves and remove any kissing bugs outside to avoid bringing them into the house.
STEP 4: Move firewood piles away from the house.
Firewood piles are often full of critters and rodents who live in or feed off the wood. Since kissing bugs are predators to almost any other insect, they will also be found where there is an abundant food source. If the woodpile is located near the house, it gives kissing bugs and any other pests easier access, whether through unknown cracks or determined effort to find a way in. Moving a woodpile away from the house is recommended even if there isn’t an active infestation.
STEP 5: Replace outdoor bulbs with yellow light bulbs and use a bug zapper.
Using a porch light at night adds security for homeowners, but it also attracts unwanted insects. Months, flies, mosquitoes, and kissing bugs are all attracted to bright lights at night. If you’ve noticed a significant number of insects around your outdoor lights, consider installing yellow light bulbs that are specifically colored to avoid attracting insects. The yellow glow from energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs is not as visible to kissing bugs.
A bug zapper can also be effective in killing any bugs that make it too close to your home. An insecticide spray with pyrethroid is handy for killing individual bugs that may have made it inside.
STEP 6: Contact a pest control professional.
While these tips can help prevent kissing bugs and other insects from invading your home, these pests may still be living in your yard. Once kissing bugs have taken up residence on your property, it’s likely they’ll end up in your house. The best choice is to call a certified pest control professional to help manage the infestation before it becomes a bigger problem. Leaving these insects in your yard is merely a waiting game until they arrive in your home. Hiring a pest control company is the safest way to make sure kissing bugs stay far away and keep your family safe and healthy.
An assassin bug bite is no fun, and the bites can pose a risk to humans. Since the bugs are nocturnal, they are not easily discovered until it’s too late. With these ideas for preventing kissing bugs from entering your house, you’ll be better prepared to avoid an indoor infestation, and a pro can help reduce the kissing bug population outdoors so you and your family can enjoy your yard safely and in peace.