Triatomine bugs aka kissing bugs or assassin bugs invading Oklahoma and southern US can kill humans

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Note – 21 July 2014: Stats today show a sudden new interest in this article posted a year ago. I’ve reopened Comments, and posted an Update at the bottom. What brought you here? Why the interest in this now?

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Special Report by Jim Lantern, Norman Oklahoma, 8:00 a.m. CT Wednesday 30 July 2013 – Check for Updates at bottom of this article.

Triatomine bugs aka kissing bugs or assassin bugs are invading Oklahoma, and they carry a disease that can kill humans.

I’d never heard of this bug before seeing the report on KFOR this morning. Here is the link to the KFOR story about it…

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The two main differences between this bug and bedbugs * is these bugs can kill humans, and we can kill them with over-the-counter sprays – but it is better to have a professional exterminator remove them because of how they transmit a disease. All sprays failed to kill the bedbugs during the Oklahoma invasion 1 to 2 years ago. Professional exterminators also failed. It required heat treatment to kill the bedbugs. What triatomine bugs have in common with bedbugs is they attack at night and hide in sleeping areas. They are larger than bedbugs, so they are easier to see, easier to find.

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Triatomine bugs can be carried by people from Central America, to Mexico, to Texas, to Oklahoma. The most likely carriers here in Norman Oklahoma are OU students from Texas, and foreign students from Mexico, Central America, and South America. Same for other colleges here in Oklahoma. Also, any travelers visiting Oklahoma from the south.

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CDC report and other map of invasion…

Wikipedia article about the bug…

About the disease…

I’ve not seen any here yet.

I’ve had more insect bites this summer than any past summer of my entire life. Most appear to be from mosquitoes, biting flies, and especially biting gnats. I’m presently treating what appears to be a spider bite. I’ve never actually seen the insects that have been biting me. About 90% of the bites have been during the day while intently working on something at my computer and desk. A similar thing happened about 3 to 4 years ago, when I was getting bit at my computer desk and never saw what was biting me. That was about a year before the beginning of the bedbugs invasion. I’ve only been bit at night when I’ve had door and/or windows open to let in fresh air, and fell asleep on my couch while watching TV.

Global warming is contributing to the insect problem, with shorter and warmer than usual winters, wet stormy springs, and dry hot summers.

* What bedbugs look like…

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The bedbug invasion here in Norman Oklahoma about 1 to 2 years ago was caused by foreign students at OU who came here from India, and carried the bedbugs in boxes and luggage. The bedbugs spread to apartment complexes, college dorms, hotels, motels, movie theaters, and the downtown public library.

All sprays failed. The professional exterminator failed. About 50 tenants here had to discard most of their furniture. I had to remove my bed, couch, and reclining chair. They hide in that kind of material. I replaced the furniture with furniture of a material bedbugs can’t hide in. Mostly camping and lawn furniture I bought at Walmart. I bought an air bed with an internal air pump. I bought a dome tent of the design that makes it possible to set up inside, instead of outside with steaks driven into the ground. I put the tent in my bedroom, and the air bed in the tent. Much more effective and much less expensive than buying and using mosquito netting for beds. Buy insect repellant in the camping and sporting goods area instead of other store area where insect sprays are usually found. Buy the kind of repellant that has at least 30% DEET. Bedbugs and other bugs don’t like it. It will not kill them, because they are immune to sprays, but it will help keep them away.

The landlord had to buy $40,000 worth of industrial heaters to heat the infected apartments up to 140F for 7 hours to kill the bedbugs and their eggs. Nothing else tried gets the job done 100%. The only other way is to nuke the bugs from orbit, the only way to be sure…

…Or call in the Starship Troopers…


UPDATE – 7:30 a.m. CT Wednesday 7 August 2013

WordPress Stats, and the separate free StatCounter service I also use for this and my other blogs, shows there is much greater interest in this subject than I expected there would be. At least as much as the horrible invasion of bedbugs from 2010 to 2012 here in Norman OK. Welcome to this blog, everyone. Visit my main blog at Timeglass Journal.

The stats also show the interest is much more wide-spread, with this posting being read by people in many other states than previously expected, and in states not yet identified by the CDC as having infections. No surprise, because the CDC is usually far behind reality. That’s mainly because it refuses to accept reports from the general public, will only accept reports from doctors and hospitals who find out about the problem from their patients. So the CDC is willfully ignorant of the victims who self-treat with nonprescription over-the-counter options and old home remedies.

This is also recently true about the sudden significant number of people who are experiencing sudden sharp pain slightly above and behind their right ear. CDC knows nothing about it and refused to communicate with me about it, while people are very active on the Internet to determine the cause of that new odd symptom. I have determined, at least in my case, it is caused by something in VitaminWater and other energy drinks.

By the way, the CDC has reported a small percentage of people are now getting a severe rash and other worse symptoms from acetaminophen – Tylenol and other products that contain it. What the CDC, doctors and hospitals, fail to understand, is acetaminophen is not the cause but is only one of the triggers. A cause can be different from a trigger. The cause is not certain, but I mention this here because I suspect it is poison from unusual insect bites, which remains in the body, and then different triggers set off the symptoms. Acetaminophen is just one of several triggers. It has happened to me. So when I take products containing acetaminophen, I also take diphenhydramine – such as Benedryl. It helps to knock down the rash. Also, physical exercise, such as bicycle riding, results in me sweating it out – to eliminate all symptoms within an hour.

You need to buy insect repellant that has at least 30% DEET. Get it in the camping and sporting goods section of stores that sell those products, instead of other locations in a store where bug sprays are displayed, Also, get all the kinds of sprays for directly spraying all kinds of bugs. Read and compare active ingredients to make sure you are not buying the same thing in different spray cans for different purposes. Maybe one of them will help. It’s not just the bugs I’ve already reported on in this posting.

The changing climate, world-wide, with warmer winters, wetter springs, and hotter summers, is ideal for the vast insect population. This year, spring and summer, I’ve received more insect bites than any past year of my life since born in 1956. Mainly mosquito bites, but also from biting flies and biting gnats. I’m seeing an invasion of “red gnats” I’ve never seen before. The bites by the flies are so severe that they do permanent damage and leave indented scars, taking a minimum of a week to recover from each, all being extremely painful, not just itching. Because of the changing climate, no doubt it will continue to get worse, and it will never get better.

I’ve returned to the extreme of sleeping on a queen-size airbed with a built-in air pump, which I got at Walmart in the camping supplies area, put inside a dome tent that can be set up inside my bedroom without need of anchoring it to the floor. It works better than the significantly more expensive mosquito nets for beds. I no longer get bites at night, unless they ambush me while in the bathroom, or getting a middle of the night snack in the kitchen.

Londo Mollari is my favorite Babylon 5 character. This is one of my favorite scenes in which he battles a bug…

…I have a sword like that, but the bugs have not yet become big enough to use it. Maybe next week.


UPDATE – 3:30 p.m. CT Monday 21 July 2014

It must be kissing bug season again. I just noticed in WordPress Stats and StatCounter a sudden new interest in this subject posted a year ago, causing many people to find this article and blog. Well, I assume its people. Maybe by now the bugs have figured out how to access the Internet and are now reading this article to find out how much I know about them. Otherwise I assume someone out there is now referring readers to this posting, but I don’t know who. Maybe someone at Facebook? What brought you here? Source? Why the new interest in this subject now? I’ve reopened Comments.

There hasn’t been any major new sightings here in Oklahoma, so far as I know, but I’ve just read a recent article about the kissing bugs are now attacking dogs in Texas.


“First the Zombie Apocalypse. Then ObamaCare. Now kissing bugs. I can’t take much more!!!”

Twitter: @TimglassZone

Facebook: Jim Lantern

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Categories: Breaking News, Climate, Health, News, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Triatomine bugs aka kissing bugs or assassin bugs invading Oklahoma and southern US can kill humans

  1. Becky news had a story that the CDC warns about kissing bugs that can kill humans, so I read it, and then googled triatomine bugs to see better pictures, and then I clicked on your picture of hand holding the bug, because it shows so well how big it is.



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