They look like flattened insects with extended, cone-shaped heads bearing a pair of five to six-segmented, elbowed antennae and a prominent “beak.”
Kissing bugs received their name because they usually bite people near their mouth during the night while they sleep. Kissing bugs are attracted to the odors that we exhale and therefore tend to flock to our mouth, plus our face is usually the only exposed area of skin during sleep. They will usually not burrow under our covers like spiders. Kissing bugs are also referred to as cone-nose bugs or Mexican bed bugs in the United States.
Some species of kissing bugs live in or near buildings. Most species are sylvantic, meaning they live in wooded areas far from human habitation. Usually wild rodents are hosts to kissing bugs in the United States, but they may also feed on raccoons, possums and even cats and dogs. Around and in homes, wherever rodents are found, kissing bugs can be found. They can sometime be found in bricks and firewood, or in sheds, decks, barns, crawlspaces, attics, and dog houses. During the day, kissing bugs rest and hide in dark areas before seeking out a person to feed upon when the room is dark. They are attracted to bright lights on the outside of buildings. Most often, secluded homes on wooded lots will harbor the kissing bugs.
If kissing bugs are found inside or around a home, an experienced exterminator should be called. Controlling rodents can reduce the presence of kissing bugs. Removing any habitat that the kissing bug may fester in and around the home is also a good idea. Try to use minimal lighting outside the home or switch to yellow “bug light” bulbs to minimize the number of bugs attracted to the house. Be sure to seal any cracks or crevices on the exterior of your home. Using the right insect and rodent screens on your windows, attics, chimney, and foundation vents will minimize entry into your home. Use insect traps to capture bugs. If you still have a kissing bug infestation after this process, call a professional for treatment.