The assassin bug can carry a disease that could kill you and your pets, and it's continuing to spread across the United States.

The bug, also known as kissing bug, cone-nosed bug, and blood suckers according to the Centers for Disease Control, can carry Chagas disease, one of a handful of diseases being targeted by the CDC. Texas A&M says they usually bite humans around the mouth and eyes, and usually at night.

Twenty to 30 percent of people who are infected by Chagas disease will have symptoms that progress to the point of being debilitating and even life-threatening. The CDC says the most common complications are:

  • Heart rhythm abnormalities that can cause sudden death
  • Dilate heart that doesn't pump blood well
  • Dilated esophagus or colon, leading to difficulties with eating or passing stool

Where are you most likely to find these nasty critters? The CDC lists these as the most common locations:

  • Under porches
  • Under rocky structures
  • Under concrete
  • In rock, wood, brush piles, or beneath bark
  • Rodent nests or animal burrows
  • Outdoor dog houses or kennels
  • Chicken coops or houses

The assassin/kissing bug is similar to many other bugs but larger. A male and female are posted below and as you can see, are much larger than most other bugs that resemble it.

Triatomine bugs
via Centers for Disease Control

Kissing/assassin bugs are now found in 28 states, including both Missouri and Illinois. That's WAY to close for comfort. I also kind of look at it like the ash borer outbreak. They were in many areas long before they were actually confirmed. One KHAK listener who saw this story says they are, indeed, already here:

Kissing Bug Map
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[via CDC and Texas A&M]

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