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10 Facts About Assassin Bugs

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 4:16 pm December 24, 2015

If the name of these creatures isn’t enough to get your attention, some of the disturbing things that they tend to do surely will be.  Assassin bugs, or reduviidae, are found throughout the world, with over 135 species recognized in North America alone.  Here are ten facts about these insects that you couldn’t make up if you tried.

Assassin Bugs

Assassin BugsFact #1: Assassin bugs are also known as “kissing bugs.”  This isn’t because they’re sweet.  It’s because they like to bite the lips and eyes of humans while they sleep.  Gross.

Fact #2: These bugs not only bite, but their “kiss” can spread a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can cause damage to major organs, lead to heart failure, and even be fatal.

Fact #3: The appearance of these bugs can vary, from 4 to 40 mm in size and different colors and shapes. This depends on the species.

Fact #4: The mouths of kissing bugs are formed for the piercing and sucking of juices from its victim’s body.  Their beak has a tube inside that allows it to transfer its poisonous saliva.

Fact #5: A reduviidae can kill a cockroach in 3-4 seconds and a caterpillar in just 10 seconds.

Fact #6: The front legs of an assassin bug are also designed for its predatory activities. They provide a strong grip on its prey and have sticky pads on thousands of tiny hairs.

Fact #7: Females are the best hunters because they need more protein in their diet in order to lay eggs.

Fact #8: Assassin bugs can be devious hunters, using the bodies of dead prey to attract new victims.

Fact #9: When born, these bugs are wingless nymphs and have to grow and molt four times before reaching adult insect size.

Fact #10: Kissing bugs perform what is called external digestion.  They inject their toxins into their victim’s body, wait for the body contents of their prey to liquefy, and then suck out the contents with their straw-like mouth parts.

Kissing Bugs in Your Home

As if that list wasn’t disturbing enough, the final insult is that these guys are pretty prevalent.   Often, they will nest in the woods near rodents and other insects but they are also attracted to humans and the bright lights of houses at night.  As they work their way into your home, they’ll find a cool, dark place to hide during the day and then come out at night in search of food.  They’ve been known to hide between mattresses.

Keeping these bugs out of your home requires sealing up the home against pests and securing your perimeter.   Screens on doors and windows, as well as bug-safe light bulbs, are a help as well.  Pest control for these creatures is always recommended as their bite can dangerous.  Worried about assassin bugs? Call Horizon Pest Control at 888.612.2847 today!

Photo: Assassin bug by gbohne, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/resized from original

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Kissing Bugs Pose Serious Health Risks

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 4:08 pm December 22, 2015

Kissing BugKissing bugs, also known as assassin bugs, have made headlines recently as outbreaks have been reported all across the country. Everywhere you look it seems the insects have infested the news. They are dangerous and pose a serious risk to your health.

Kissing bugs bite both people and dogs, they are blood suckers and they get their name from the fact that they like to bite people around their mouth and eyes, specifically.

While experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) say the public health threat is low, there is reason to be concerned.

The creatures sometimes carry Chagas Disease, a parasitic disease that’s typically found in South America, and has a high mortality rate. Symptoms include swelling around the bite site, and the infection can affect the heart and cause digestive issues.

The bites are similar in appearance to mosquito bites and typically happen at night while you are sleeping. The bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale while breathing.

According to the World Health Organization, “Chagas disease presents itself in 2 phases. The initial, acute phase lasts for about 2 months after infection. During the acute phase, a high number of parasites circulate in the blood but in most cases symptoms are absent or mild. During the chronic phase, the parasites are hidden mainly in the heart and digestive muscles. In later years the infection can lead to sudden death or heart failure caused by progressive destruction of the heart muscle and its nervous system.”

Are you at risk? Eleven native species of the kissing bug exist in the Americas, most of which are capable of transmitting Chagas. But there are other ways, including a blood transfusion, to get disease.

Dr. Melissa Nolan Garcia, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine who has researched the disease, said newer active screenings at blood banks across the nation have drawn attention to the disease. “There haven’t been any cases of transfusion-transmitted Chagas disease since the introduction of blood donor screening, so the system seems to be working,” she told Wired.

Worried about kissing bugs? Call the NJ Pest Control Experts, Horizon Pest Control, today for a FREE INSPECTION!

Photo: Kissing Bug (Triatoma sp.) by  Glenn Seplak, used under CC BY 2.0/resized from original

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10 Facts About Kissing Bugs

Filed under: Bug Control — admin @ 11:58 am December 18, 2015

Assassin BugsAlso known as triatominae, kissing bugs are a subfamily of Reduviidae family and also go by the names, the assassin and conenose bug. Wondering if your home is plagued with these pests? Read the following 10 facts about kissing bugs to find out.

Fact  1: A plethora of species- There are approximately 140 species of kissing bugs in existence which all evolved from a Reduviidae predator.

Fact  2: They don’t kiss, they suck- They’re called “kissing bugs” because they are known for killing their prey by injecting them with highly potent toxins that liquefy the insides of the prey so they can be sucked out by the predator.

Fact  3: Only 2 species are most-known for infecting humans- There are only 2 species that most affect humans, the Triatomini and Rhodniini. These 2 tribes likely evolved from the same ancestor.

Fact  4: There’s a ‘kissing bug season’- The adults actually engage in migratory flight. ‘Kissing bug season’ begins mid-spring and continues on until the end of the summer. There is sometimes a second peak season, which occurs during mid-September. This is also the time in which they often invade homes.

Fact  5: The creeps come out at night- These bugs are essentially nocturnal. They come out for feeding and traveling at night.

Fact  6: They love it when you ‘leave the light on’– Given that these bugs typically fly out after dusk, kissing bugs are attracted to the brilliance of porch and window lights.

Fact  7: They hide under beds- These bugs often seek refuge between mattresses, daybeds, futons, and other tight spaces where potential prey frequent.

Fact  8: They can cause Chagas disease- A horrific disease that can cause damage to the heart and central nervous system, kissing bugs, bed bugs, and other blood sucking parasites are known for causing this disease.

Fact  9: Most humans are usually allergic- Most people have moderate to severe allergic reaction to the bites of kissing bugs. The most common culprit behind insect bites that result in the medical emergency known as anaphylaxis, people with severe allergies are often rushed to the hospital for treatment of low blood pressure and other unfavorable side effects.

Fact  10: They can remain undetected for a while- Depending on the size and composition of your home, these bugs can remain undetectable for some time. This is due the fact that only visibly seeing the bugs or the brown/black spots they leave from feces.

Overall, if you suspect that you have kissing bugs, steer clear of the area and contact an bug extermination expert that you can trust.

Photo: Assassin bug by gbohne, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/resized from original

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Wolf Spiders

Filed under: Spider Control — admin @ 11:46 am December 11, 2015

Wolf SpiderThe wolf spider is a strong, agile hunter that often chases their prey at high speeds. Not only are these creatures intimidating to watch, but there are several interesting facts about them you may not know. The following are 10 things you didn’t know about these incredible and sometimes frightening spiders.

1. They Don’t Spin Webs

A wolf spider does not spin webs like normal spiders. Their primary activities include hunting and reproduction.

2. They Have an Interesting Courtship

Males often perform strange rituals before courting. This sometimes includes complex leg signals. Mating can also be dangerous as the females sometimes kill and eat the males after the process is finished.

3. They Have Many Offspring

These spiders carry egg sacs during their reproduction time that can hold up to 365 eggs.

4. They Were Mistakenly Named

Some people may believe they were named after wolves for their hairy, wolf-like appearance. The spider was named after wolves, however, because early scientists believed that they hunted in packs.

5. Finding a Wolf Spider

Many people may know these spiders have large eyes, but may not know that they reflect light. This makes them easy to spot at night.

6. There are Different Breeds

We may use the general name for all types of wolf spiders but there are different types. The South American species, for instance, has a bite that can cause serious medical problems.

7. Carrying Their Babies

This species of spider actually carries their babies around on their back. After a few weeks the baby spiders are on their own.

8. They are Fierce Hunters

These spiders are known to be ambush hunters. They eat a wide variety of prey, depending on their habitat. This can vary extensively since they live on every continent except for Antarctica.

9. They Run Quickly

These spiders can run very quickly. Some of them may even run fast enough to cover two feet in a second.

10. Seek Professional Assistance

Because of their speed, potential bite, and reproductive abilities, you’ll want to call professional pest control services to help rid your home and property of these spiders. Contact Horizon Pest Control for a free pest inspection and information on how you can keep your home pest free.

Photo: Wolf Spider and kids by Konrad Summers, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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