Is the kissing bug a threat in Utah?

Apr 26, 2019, 6:56 PM
Closeup of an assassin bug, also known as a kissing bug, carrier of Chagas disease. (Getty Images)...
Closeup of an assassin bug, also known as a kissing bug, carrier of Chagas disease. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The kissing bug comes in the spring. This bug has nothing to do with romance. The kissing bug is a pest that causes infections around a human face, especially near the mouth.

There are several national reports about the rise of the dangerous kissing bug.

The kissing bug can transmit the Chagas disease, which can cause heart and digestive problems.

Symptoms of the Chagas disease includes a fever, fatigue, rashes, loss of appetite, and swelling.

There are reports that the kissing bug has been spotted in Moab and St. George, but experts say what people are most likely seeing around your home is the similar looking conifer seed bug or leaf footed bug. It could also be the box elder bug.

The kissing bug is recognized by the red and orange markings around its body. It is just a bit larger than a penny.

There is a species of the kissing bug in Utah. The Utah version does not transmit the Chagas disease.

Utah State University bug expert Ryan Davis says what the people are seeing are a nuisance more than they are a danger.

Ryan Davis is formally known as an entomologist.

The kissing bug is formally known as the triatominae.

Davis says the bugs that make their way into the home can be vacuumed up, or just sent back outside. Caulking cracks and crevices of your home will help keep the bugs out, Davis says.

Other pests in the spring include pavement ants, jumping spiders, red fire bugs, rocky mountain wood ticks, and even some mosquitos.

Mary Richards contributed to this report.




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Is the kissing bug a threat in Utah?