A deadly insect known as the "kissing bug" has been reported in North Carolina, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Triatomine bugs can carry a parasite that causes Chagas disease.
These bugs are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. Its not clear which part of North Carolina the insect was found.
The CDC says these bugs can live in cracks and holes indoors and in outdoor spaces including:
- Beneath porches
- Between rocky structures
- Under cement
- In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
- In rodent nests or animal burrows
- In outdoor dog houses or kennels
- In chicken coops or houses
To keep these bugs away from you home, the CDC suggests:
- Sealing cracks and gaps around windows, walls, roofs, and doors
- Removing wood, brush, and rock piles near your house
- Using screens on doors and windows and repairing any holes or tears
- If possible, making sure yard lights are not close to your house (lights can attract the bugs)
- Sealing holes and cracks leading to the attic, crawl spaces below the house, and to the outside
- Having pets sleep indoors, especially at night
- Keeping your house and any outdoor pet resting areas clean, in addition to periodically checking both areas for the presence of bugs
If you think you've found a triatomine bug, the CDC suggests:
Please do not touch or squash the bug. Place a container on top of the bug, slide the bug inside, and fill it with rubbing alcohol or, if not available, freeze the bug in the container. Then, you may take it to your local extension service, health department, or a university laboratory for species identification. In the event that none of these resources is available in your area, you may contact CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria (firstname.lastname@example.org) for species identification or T. cruzi testing.