These insects go through an almost complete transformation before becoming adults. Kissing bugs (triatomine bugs) are harmful to humans and some animals; therefore, getting rid of them is vital.
Kissing bugs are from a subfamily called Triatominae and are the sole bloodsuckers in the family Reduviidae. The rest of the members of this sect are predatory bugs.
There are almost 100 species in the subfamily, and while they are not like other bugs on plants, they are all dangerous to people and animals alike.
These bugs belong to the Order Hemiptera . Eggs are laid and later hatch into nymphs, of which they’ll need a blood meal to molt.
Nymphs molt five times, feeding heavily between each stage, and as it grows, it changes both in size and color.
By the time it reaches adulthood, it looks almost completely different from its first instar nymph form.
How to Get Rid of Kissing Bugs Naturally
The following are nine of the best ways to repel them while being eco-friendly.
1. Clear Out Wood and Rock Piles
Keep piles of rock and wood well away from your house and other locations nearby to help keep kissing bugs away.
These are great places for the bugs to conceal themselves during the day and can help them infest your house. Also, get rid of bush piles as soon as possible for the same reason.
2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Use diatomaceous earth to kill kissing bugs by applying it to places where they might hide in your home and garden. If purchasing for organic gardening use, the food-grade or OMRI-listed version is your best bet.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide that is mildly abrasive. As a result, it’s great against these critters because they’re soft-bodied.
When they try walking on the powder, it will do a great deal of damage to them. It will later dehydrate and kill them.
3. Bottle Trap
Now, this is a neat trick. Take a bottle, preferably one big enough to fit an electric candle in or bigger.
Keep the top. Add strips of non-stick tape vertically so the bugs can climb it. Kissing bugs can fly; however, they prefer to crawl.
Light attracts them. Therefore, put the light inside and turn it on. Next, put the top back on upside down, creating a funnel.
At nights the bugs will be drawn to the light and climb inside the bottle where they can’t climb back out.
4. Essential Oils
This is a great kissing bug control remedy that you can use in problem areas as there are some smells that they do hate.
Mix a couple of drops of a strong essential oil like citronella, mint, or tea tree with water. Apply it liberally everywhere you see them congregating to keep them away.
Pyrethrin is an organic insecticide that you can use to kill kissing bugs.
It has proven to be fatal because it targets their nervous system. As a result, they lose control of their bodies and eventually become paralyzed.
Follow the package instructions for the right mix and spray it liberally on the bugs themselves. Pyrethrin is safe to use in organic gardening and around pets.
6. Shiny Container Trap
This is another excellent kissing bug trap. The critters like shiny things at night so this one is a sure-fire way to catch them.
Partially fill a shiny container with soapy water. The best to use are trays like bread pans or turkey pans.
Place this in a warm dark place where you’ve seen them and when night falls, turn on a lamp that will shine on the tray.
The bugs will fall in and suffocate in the water while trying to reach for the light.
Neem extracts seem to work on all stages of the bugs from eggs to adults. Though it doesn’t kill them, it immunizes them against parasites that live inside them .
Simply coat the bugs with the oil using a spray made with a few drops of neem oil and water.
You can use this natural kissing bug treatment as a deterrent by spraying it everywhere the bugs gather.
8. Garlic Spray
This is more of a kissing bug repellent than a way to kill them.
The smell of the spray, made from fresh garlic bulbs, water, and organic liquid soap, is so strong that it will deter them.
Spray your plants and everywhere the bugs can get into your home.
9. Bug Zapper
A solar-powered bug zapper can be used inside or out. The light doesn’t produce heat, but it does attract them — shocking them on contact.
10. Seal Cracks and Crevices
Last but not least, this is a vital step to ensure Triatomine bugs don’t infest your home.
Seal every crack and crevice in your home, including the foundation and any pipes or conduits going outside.
However, use heavy-duty materials or they will still be able to get in. Fine screens on the windows and caulk in the cracks are just two ways you can do this.
Kissing Bug Bite
Triatomine bugs are dangerous because they bite and draw blood from their victims.
People who are allergic to bug bites can experience anaphylaxis if bitten. Also, people and animals can get Chagas disease if bitten. It is no wonder people call the insect “the kissing disease bug.”
The kissing bug will bite on the face, lip, mouth, leg, or any exposed area. The bite mark resembles clusters of small bites.
When the bug bites, they defecate, and their feces can get into the affected area, or into an open wound like a scratch.
It can also be transmitted to the facial area where it’s absorbed into the body via the eyes and mouth by way of the mucous membranes of these body parts.
While this is disgusting, it’s not the feces that causes the disease, not directly. It’s the parasite hiding inside the feces. It gets into the bloodstream and can cause serious problems with a person’s heart or gastrointestinal tract.
While there’s no preventative medicine, no vaccine, for the disease, there is a cure — if caught in time. The cure is not to get bitten in the first place, and the only way to avoid such is to not have the bugs around.
Kissing bugs might have a cute name, but they are anything but. They pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones, even dogs.
You must take measures as soon as you see one, drastic ones, to keep everyone safe.