Kissing Bug


Actual Size: ½ to 1”

Characteristics: Light brown or black in color. Some have red, tan, or yellowish markings on the abdomen.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Yes

Habitat: Often infests abandoned rodent nests and other burrows. Also known to fly into barns and homes, hiding near sleeping areas.


  • Capable of transmitting the parasite that causes Chagas disease.
  • Requires blood to grow and reproduce.
  • Known for biting hosts on the face near the mouth, which is where they get their nickname.

Kissing Bugs in Memphis TN Metro Area

Kissing bugs are primarily active during the night, and they are blood-sucking parasites that feed on various invertebrates, including humans, as well as wild and domestic animals. Similar to bed bugs, these insects take up residence and lay eggs in cracks and crevices in and around human-made structures. At night, they come out to feed on their unsuspecting sleeping hosts. These bugs may occasionally bite their hosts on the face, particularly near the eyes and lips, earning them the name “kissing bugs.”

Kissing Bug Habitat

Kissing bugs often take up residence in the nests of rodents and other wildlife. They may also fly into barns and homes, where they feed on livestock, pets, and humans. In rural areas, the presence of domesticated mammals and poultry tends to attract rodents, thereby increasing the likelihood of kissing bugs being found in close proximity to human structures. These bugs can enter homes through open windows or damaged screens. Once inside, they seek hiding spots in cracks, holes, and furniture, with a preference for areas where pets, like dogs or cats, frequent.

Kissing Bug Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Kissing bugs occasionally bite humans while they are asleep, usually during the spring or summer months. Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to the bug’s saliva, resulting in symptoms such as itching, swelling, and redness, although local reactions are not commonly observed. It’s important to note that kissing bugs carry the parasite responsible for Chagas disease, a potentially life-threatening illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 300,000 people in the United States are infected with this parasite. If you suspect an allergic reaction to kissing bug bites in yourself or a family member, it is advisable to seek medical advice from a physician or allergist to explore available treatment options. For assistance with a kissing bug infestation on your property, it is recommended to contact your local pest control experts.