Kissing bugs spotted in Central Texas

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Kissing bugs have been spotted in Central Texas, but despite the name, they’re not lovable neighbors.

Kissing bugs. (Texas A&M photos)

The bugs, commonly known as cone-nose bugs or chinches, are known as kissing bugs because they prefer to bite humans around the mouth or eyes.

Experts at say a bite from one of these bugs can cause Chagas disease.

Side effects of Chagas include flu and cold symptoms.

Chagas can also cause chronic cardiovascular or digestive issues if left untreated.

A kissing bug was recently spotted in the Valley Mills area.

The bugs, which look similar to stink bugs, like to live in trees and brush piles.

Dr. Michael Merchant, an urban entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, says a single kissing bug in a home isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, but the presence of a number of them or of unwinged bugs may be.

He says infestations are more likely in poorly constructed homes.

“Destroy trash piles, bird and animal nests and burrows. Control and exclude rodents and birds from the house. Seal exterior cracks and openings into buildings and keep chimney flues closed tightly. Inspect and seal any openings from crawl spaces into the house sub-flooring. Check pets for signs of feeding and examine pet houses,” he wrote in an article about the insects.

Insecticides can be effective in controlling the bugs, he says.