Should you be concerned about Kissing bugs? To help answer some questions about Kissing bugs and Chagas Disease, please read the article below from N. C. Hinkle, Ph.D. University of Georgia Department of Entomology. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact your local extension office at 912-496-2040.
Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease
Kissing bugs have been in Georgia for millions of years. They, and their relatives such as leaf-footed bugs and wheel bugs, are common. Kissing bugs are not deadly and most of them are not infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The Chagas disease parasite is transmitted only by the feces of specific kissing bugs. In other words, being bitten by the bug will not harm you but rubbing the bug’s excrement in your eyes might make you sick. While Chagas disease is not uncommon in Central and South America, only 23 cases acquired here in the U.S. have been reported in the last 60 years. Areas of Texas just north of Mexico have lots of infected kissing bugs, and that’s why Texas is in the news. For us here in the Southeast, the risk isn't being bitten by a kissing bug (very little chance of that). The riskier behavior would be cleaning up raccoon, opossum, skunk or armadillo nests; that's where the bugs live and where kissing bug feces are most concentrated. The animals aren't the risk, nor is the bite of the bug; we can get infected with Chagas disease only by getting the bug's feces inside us – through a break in the skin, through swallowing, through inhalation, or through rubbing our eyes. Again, not much risk if we stay away from the nests of wild animals. Not every potential reservoir is infected. Here in the Southeast very few of the bugs carry the parasite. In the U.S. we are more likely to die in an automobile accident than to ever in our whole lives get infected with Chagas disease.
What can you do? Keep bugs out of your home by turning off porch lights at night to avoid attracting the bugs. Seal around doors and windows with weather-stripping and replace door sweeps; if cold air can’t get in, neither can kissing bugs. And, of course, freezing cold nights are sending kissing bugs into hibernation, so the risk is even lower this time of year. Give thanks for your cozy home that protects you from kissing bugs.
Ashley C. Mesa
Charlton County Extension Agent
You to join the Southeast Georgia Cattlemen’s Association
Who is wanted: Anyone interested in learning about Cattle & Hay Production or supporters of the Cattle Industry
What you get from your $65.00 paid membership:
- 4 free meals yearly at the quarterly meetings in Nahunta
- Free subscription to Cattleman’s Magazine
- Interesting speakers & topics such as: Beef Cattle Management, Cattle Nutrition, Hay Production, Pasture Pest Management
- Experts and specialists willing to answer questions and provide assistance.
Contact the Charlton Extension Office at 912-496-2040 for more information on registration.
Your annual $65.00 dues payment includes a free subscription to the Georgia Cattleman’s Magazine and dinner at the quarterly meetings held in Nahunta, GA.
Now is the time to test the soil before you plant your fall garden.
Cost is $10. per sample. Stop by the Extension Office to get a soil sample bag or just bring in a quart ziplock bag full of soil and someone will be glad to assist you.
Water tests are available starting at $20. per sample.
Updates on the Swine Influenza Virus
The following links have been sent to the Charlton County Extension Office concerning the Swine Influenza Virus.
- How to Avoid Getting the Flu
- Swine Flu Viruses are not transmitted by food
- Links from the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Public Service Announcement-Flu Outbreak-English & Spanish
For more information checkout this website: Southeast Health District--- www.sehdph.org
Check out the new gardening articles in the Agriculture & Natural Resources section.
Our mission is to extend lifelong learning to Georgia citizens through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families.
Address & Phone
UGA Extension Charlton County
55 Kingsland Dr.
Folkston, GA 31537
912-496-2364 - fax