How to get rid of kissing bugs quickly naturally.

Get Rid of Kissing Bugs Naturally (Ultimate DIY Guide)

So, you want to get rid of kissing bugs ASAP. And preferably using natural means to avoid nasty pesticides.

This is a comprehensive DIY pest control guide focused on eradicating these pests from your home (and life).

We’ll cover the process of ID’ing these pests, where they’re coming from, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them for good.

Feel free to bookmark this page (“CTRL + D”) as it may be a long read and you can reference it at anytime during your journey to rdi these nasty, disease-carrying buggers.

And if you have any questions during the question, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section at the end, and I’ll try to help you when I can.

Ready to go pest-free? Let’s get started.

What’s a kissing bug?

Kissing bug life cycle and how to get rid of them.
Kissing bugs are disease-carrying pests that’ll bite humans and pets. (Via Curtis-Robles et al, CC BY 4.0.)

A kissing bug is a common pest found all over the US towards the southern states. They’re about an inch in length and will bite humans, dogs, and cats without mercy during the night.

Kissing bugs are attracted to light, and often find their way into homes as unwanted guests.

From there, they’ll make themselves at home until the lights go out- to which then they feast on human skin! They’ve also been known to carry a parasite in their feces, which has been shown to transmit the disease Chagas.

That’s why you need to take action and get rid of these nasty pests before you get some real pain out of this whole mess.

Getting rid of them may be a process, but this guide will point you in the right direction!

Kissing bug life cycle

Kissing bugs have a very unique life cycle. They’re known to metamorphosize over the course of their life from nymph to adult.

Female adults will lay eggs between the warmer months of June to September and the eggs typically hatch within 2-3 weeks, depending on environmental conditions like humidity and temperature

Nymphs will arise from the eggs and will eat about 6-8 meals from hosts like humans and pets until they molt. The process continues over and over.

Each molt will have the nymph slowly turn into an adult as they get bigger each time. By the adult size, they’re fully developed and have wings to fly.

Kissing bug anatomy

Kissing bugs have a unique anatomy. The most noticeable identifier of these bugs are the tapering mouthparts right under their head.

Since they pierce skin, they have an almost needle-like mouthpiece compared to mouths with jaws on other pests, like drain flies or chigger bugs.

You can see this needle through the naked eye without any microscope. On the underside of the head, you’ll see a tapering, sharp tube that they use to pierce skin and suck out flesh. The mouthparts are straight, stout, and not curved.

The head looks like a stick from above with large antennas sticking out. There are 6 noticeable legs which are visible from the top view.

A conehead, bulging eyes, and a distinct coloration

They have eyes from the sides and bottom of their head, and often have a head with a cone-shape, which gives them the name “cone-nose” pests.

Kissing bugs have a distinct coloration and pattern on the dorsal side (top side). They have a black and cream-colored stripes going down their edges of their pear-shaped body. Other colors are orange or red.

They’re very noticeable against the black body. Kissing bugs that’ve fully matured have a pair of wings, and they’re always uncolored with no markings. Some may also have some coloration behind the head and around the wing base.

They range from 0.5” to 1.25” on average when fully grown, which is slightly larger than a penny.

Can kissing bugs fly?

Yes, kissing bugs can fly. They have wings that they use to fly short distances, but most adults won’t use them and prefer to stay landed.

However, when threatened, disturbed, or on the hunt for food, they gladly use their wings to make them hover around and fly to the next perch.

What do kissing bugs look like?

Kissing bug vs. stink bug.
Kissing bugs often get confused with stink bugs (pictured above). But they’re very different pests.

Kissing bugs are often confused with stink bugs as they’re both very similar in shape. However, if you look closely, kissing bugs and stink bugs have some minute differences between the two pests.

There are also many other bugs that look like kissing bugs but aren’t.

Kissing bugs have a cone-shaped head and thinner antennae. Stink bugs are rounder overall and have thicker antennae.

They also don’t bite humans, whereas kissing bugs will bite. Stink bugs have a shield-shaped body, while kissing bugs are more ovular.

Other common pests that look like kissing bugs include:

  • Bed bugs
  • Wheel bugs
  • Boxelder bug
  • Squash bug
  • Bark stink bug
  • Leaf-footed bug

How do I tell if I have kissing bugs?

If you’re unsure which one you have, do a quick search on all of the common bugs that are nearly identical in appearance kissing bugs.

Keep looking until you find one that matches. Take a picture of the pest in your home that you’re unsure of. Compare that picture to the ones you see online and look for a match.

There are plenty of bug forums where you can post your bug pictures and see if someone can help:

When you identify the bug you have, you can take it from there. If you do have kissing bugs, then continue reading this tutorial! If you don’t, use the search button on this page and search for the bug you do have!

Kissing bug native locations

Kissing bugs are found all across the US in the southern states.

This ranges from California on the west coast all the way across to Florida on the east. Some kissing bugs have also made their way up to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and surrounding areas.

Other areas that have reports of kissing bugs are Central America, Mexico, and South America.

Kissing bugs – Washington state

Washington state has kissing bugs just like any other state.

Although WA isn’t considered a southern state, kissing bugs have made their way up to the northern states so WA would be no exception.

If you have kissing bugs, it doesn’t matter which state you’re in. The process to get rid of them remains the same: identify the bug, set up DIY traps, use natural repellents, and create your own natural bug killer at home.

Then set up your house to prevent further kissing bugs down the line by using control and preventive measures against these pests.

Why do I have kissing bugs?

Kissing bugs are attracted to bright lights like many other flying bugs (such as June bugs).

Thus, light from your porch, lamps, patio lights, shed light, outhouselighs, pathway markers, or even from indoors are all attractants to kissing bugs. These sources of bright light will help bring kissing bugs into your home.

Just like any other pest, kissing bugs can easily sneak into your home, and that’s probably why you’re on this DIY pest control guide- am I wrong?

How do these pests get into my home?

Kissing bugs enter your home through many of the common entryways:

  • Wall voids
  • Foundation cracks
  • Damaged window or door screening
  • Patio doors
  • Exposed cracks and crevices
  • Chimneys
  • Windows
  • Pet doors
  • Under doors
  • Or even on a host, such as your dog or cat!

Kissing bugs will bite humans and pets, so they can easily travel into your home from your pets if they spend time outdoors in the yard.

Do kissing bugs stink?

Kissing bugs don’t emit odors or smells to repel their predators.

But they often are confused with stink bugs, which may have started the notion that kissing bugs stink.

Many people get confused over stink bugs vs. kissing bugs, so they may be mistakenly thinking a stink bug is a kissing bug and therefore think that kissing bugs smell.

Do kissing bugs bite?

Kissing bug conehead anatomy.
They definitely do bite. And can transmit Chagas. (Via Zezinho68, CC BY-SA 4.0.)

Yes, kissing bugs will bite both humans and pets.

Bites are generally not dangerous, however, they can cause some mild pain and swelling. They do have the possibility of causing allergic reactions in some individuals due to their bite, pollen they carry, or their saliva from the bite site.

Most people won’t notice that they’ve been bitten until they wake up the next day, as kissing bugs are nocturnal and will feed on humans and pets at night.

Some of the most common signs of a kissing bug bite are:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Itch around the bite
  • Possible allergic reactions

Do kissing bug bites hurt?

The bite can definitely hurt, especially if the bite triggers an infection.

This will make the swelling and pain worse because the infected site will harbor bacteria which will only amplify the current pain.

If you get an infection, use rubbing alcohol or disinfectant to clean it out and keep it clean until the pain goes away. Seek medical attention if needed.

Can kissing bugs make you sick?

It’s definitely possible. Kissing bugs can bite humans and spread a disease called Chagas disease.

This is caused by a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi. Kissing bugs are a known carrier of this parasite, and can spread this parasite to humans.

Chagas is a disease that’s only found in some parts of Latin America and the Americas as a whole (which includes the United States). There have only been very few cases of Chagas outbreaks from pests that carry the parasite, but there’s always the possibility says the CDC.

Kissing bugs are Triatomine bugs. They’re the same thing. So anytime you hear either word used, they’re referring to the same pest. The CDC states that Chagas is possibly, but the transmission is “not easy.”

Chagas and kissing bugs

Kissing bugs can spread the disease because they suck blood from humans, dogs, cats, and other mammals. After they feast, they then leave feces behind on the host. So in other words, a kissing bug will bite you, drink your blood, then poop on you.

After they defecate on your skin, the feces may be infected with the parasite and that’s when it can enter the body from that open wound, or from other areas such as the eyes, mouth, or other open sores.

Because kissing bugs bite us at night, we often don’t that we’ve been pooped on by them.

And then when the day comes around, we may touch the feces left on our skin then rub our eyes, touch our mouth, or maybe even brush the parasite into a wound. This is where humans are susceptible to T. cruzi and end up getting Chagas.

Do all kissing bugs carry Chagas?

Not all, but many.

Chagas has infected more than 300K people in the US alone, reports the CDC. Kissing bugs are often found in southern US states across the entirely of the US. However, they’ve also been reported to be going up north to states such as PA< VA< and MD.

These bugs are a known vector for carrying parasites in their feces.

A visit to Latin America is where you’ll become most susceptible to getting Chagas. If you’re only in the US, the chances are slim.

Note that Chagas can spread through eating contaminated foods, skin contact with infected individuals (rare), pregnancy, or other means.

Symptoms of Chagas

Chagas symptoms are pretty obvious for some people, whereas others have absolutely no symptoms at all.

Some of the most common signs of Chagas from kissing bugs are:

  • Fatigue
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Itch or irritation at the bite
  • Rash
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling of the eyelids

Chagas can be treated by using antiparasitic approaches. There are no current drugs or vaccine that can prevent the diseases at the moment.

You can protect yourself by preventing kissing bugs from getting through your barriers into your home.

Practice basic household maintenance. Seal up cracks and crevices. Use DIY natural kissing bug repellent. Set up DIY triatomine bug traps. Use pest killer.

Are kissing bugs dangerous?

Other than the fear of getting Chagas and the possibility of an allergic reaction, kissing bugs don’t have any other threats to worry about.

Kissing bugs will bite you when you’re sleeping, feed off of your dogs and cats, but other than typical bug bites, they’re not really dangerous.

However, if you think you’re susceptible to allergies or you’ve been to Latin America recently, there shouldn’t be any fear over kissing bugs as the chance of actually getting Chagas is pretty low.

You should be more concerned about your bite getting an infection from the bite, or something like that.

Can kissing bugs kill you?

Kissing bugs can’t kill you, unless you have a deadly allergic reaction, or maybe an infection turns into a nightmare, or you get Chagas.

But all of those possibilities are very rare, so chances are nothing will happen from a kissing bug bite.

They’re known to carry feces and drop them all over your skin, so as long as you take a shower during the time when you have kissing bugs, you should be OK.

The bug bites are just something you’ll have to deal with, as with any other bug bite. The problems really only come to rufrition when a bite gets an infection, or you have a bad allergic reaction, or you transmit Chagas.

Other than those, kissing bugs won’t kill you. But I wanted to provide you with a few possibilities of how they can be dangerous.

The process to control these pests

Kissing bug on human skin.
There are many ways you can get rid of kissing bugs naturally and quickly so they’ll stop biting you! (Via Karya sendiri, CC BY-SA 4.0.)

There are multiple ways to get rid of triatomine bugs, and I always suggest starting off using natural techniques only.

This keeps it safe for you and your family and pets, and aids the need to use dangerous poisons and chemicals that leave hazardous resides around your home.

Always stick with natural or organic approaches when possible. Only escalate to commercial and professional poisons when necessary (after you’ve tried everything else on this list).

Use a combination of solutions

The trick is to use a combination of these methods and see what works best for you. You’ll need to use different approaches as there are many species of triatomine bugs, and not all of them react the same.

You’ll have to see the differences in the effectiveness of each method you use, and stick with the ones that work best.

My suggestion to get rid of triatomine bugs is this:

  • Use a variety of DIY home remedies.
  • Apply them around the home and see which ones work best.
  • Scale up the ones that work, and stop the ones that don’t.
  • Set up DIY traps and repellents to stop more kissing bugs from entering your home.
  • Leave the traps for monitoring over time to see if your approach proves to be effective.

How to get rid of kissing bugs naturally

Kissing bugs can be controlled using a variety of methods that you can do at home. (Via gailhampshire, CC BY 2.0.)

Here are some natural methods you can use to get rid of kissing bugs in your home or garden. The trick is none other than to use a bunch of these techniques and see what works best for your situation.

Depending on the species of the pest, location, and how many pests you’re dealing with, every situation is unique. So try out a few of these, ditch the ones that don’t work, and scale up the ones that do.

These techniques will help you get rid of kissing bugs in your house.

DIY traps

You can make an effective kissing bug DIY trap at home for minimal cost. You probably already have all the necessary equipment to make this trap also.

These traps will help keep your home free of kissing bugs and also kill the ones that are already in you house. The best part about using your own trap is that you control what chemicals are placed in it.

These two traps use no chemicals, so they’re safe for humans and pets. You can alasset up them up and forget about them, as they’ll continuing eot catch and kill kissing bugs when you’re not even home.

Do-it-yourself bottle trap

This is a popular trap that works on kissing bugs, along with other bugs that are attracted to nocturnal light and whatnot, such as silverfish and related pests.

What you’ll need:

  • 2L soda bottle
  • Packing tape
  • Knife or scissors
  • LED candle (battery-powered)

How to make the trap:

  1. Take the bottle and use the knife to cut the top ⅓ of the bottle off. This is where the bottle starts to curve inward to create the cap.
  2. Cut this part off so you end up with a funnel that you can invert back into the bottle. Be careful with the knife and don’t cut yourself.
  3. Use the packing tape that line the outside of the bottle with it. Just wrap the other ⅔ of the bottle with packing tape all around.
  4. The point of this is to give the kissing bugs something to climb on. They’ll be climbing up the tape to the very top of the bottle, so you want to make sure you use plenty of vertical strips of tape from the top to the bottom.
  5. Take your LED battery-powered candle and turn it on. Place it inside the bottle at the bottom.
  6. Take the top that you cut out earlier and stick it back into the bottle upside down. You should have a funnel now that draws the kissing bugs into the bottle.

How it works:

They’ll be attracted to the light and climb the tape to the light. They’ll then fall through the funnel and into the bottle, where they can’t climb back out.

Place the trap somewhere where you think kissing bugs are present. Leave it out overnight.

The next day, you should see some kissing bugs that have fallen into the bottle and remain trapped. You can kill them and dispose of them, then set up the trap again for the next night. Only use the trap at night, since kissing bugs are nocturnal.

You can make multiple traps and use them all over your home for effectiveness.

Homemade dish soap trap

This is a very simple, but effective kissing bug trap you can make at home.

Reports from Virginia Tech say that this thing works way better than commercial traps you buy from the store.

What you’ll need:

  • Aluminum tray (turkey roasting tray)
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Desk LED lamp

How to make it:

  1. Take the trap and place it in a dark area where you suspect kissing bugs to be present.
  2. Pour the soap and water mixture in a 1:1 ratio into the tray.
  3. Mix the solution until the soap and water look equal with minimal bubbles.
  4. Place the LED lamp nearby and point the light directly at the tray.

How it works:

The LED light will attract kissing bugs during the night to the shiny tray. Once kissing bugs walk into the tray, they’ll get caught in the dish soap and water mixture and drown. That’s it.

Because of the light, kissing bugs and other pests like cluster flies can’t resist walking into the tray. Then they drown from the dish soap and that’s the end of that. Wash out the tray every other day and replace with a fresh mixture of soap and water.

Be sure the lamp stays secure and doesn’t tip over into the tray, as this may pose a fire hazard.

Here’s a video demonstration from Virginia Tech:

Essential oils

You can use essential oils at home and spray them around the home as needed.

Typically, any strong-scented oil will work, such as peppermint, lavender, or tea oil. mix a few drops of the oil with pure water into a spray bottle. You can adjust the amounts as needed. Then spray them around areas where you think these pests are present.

Typically, any strong-scented oil will work, such as peppermint, lavender, or tea oil. mix a few drops of the oil with pure water into a spray bottle. You can adjust the amounts as needed. Then spray them around areas where you think these pests are present.

Essential oils are effective for kissing bugs when you spray the stuff directly into areas where they may be coming from, such as small holes, cracks, and other entryways around your home.

They’ll avoid the scent of the oil and natural be deterred.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powerful, natural desiccating dust that can kill kissing bugs as they come into contact with the powder.

You can buy DE from any department store, just be sure to grab the food-grade quality DE for safety. After you get some DE, you can apply this stuff around your home as a natural pesticide to kill kissing bugs.

As long as the bug touches the powder, they’ll dehydrate and get killed over time. Use this as both a natural repellent and a killer for kissing bugs.

You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your home as if you’re building a barrier or fence to keep the bugs out.

And any that cross over the fence will touch the DE and eventually get killed. This is an effective and safe natural way to get rid of kissing bugs

Where to use the DE?

Sprinkle the DE around your home in areas such as:

  • Patio door entryways
  • Under door frames
  • Dog or cat doors
  • Windowsills
  • Around cracks or crevices
  • Foundation cracks
  • Along the edges of each room
  • Basements
  • Attics
  • Garages
  • Home vents or grates
  • Bedrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Around the floor as a preventive and control measure

Boric acid

Boric acid is another dehydrating dust that you can buy at department stores. Use this stuff the same way you’d use DE.

Sprinkle it around your home. Use where you suspect pests are getting access into your home.

As kissing bugs walk across the boric acid, this stuff will naturally dehydrate and dry them out. Boric acid makes a safe, natural, and effective deterrent to kissing bugs.

How to get rid of kissing bugs outside

Kissing bug outdoors.
Outdoor kissing bugs are the source of indoor bugs- so stop them in their tracks. (Via Glenn Spark, CC BY 2.0.)

Here you can find some natural ways you can use to control and prevent kissing bugs outdoors in your yard, garden, or around the perimeter of your home, shed, or outhouse.

Talcum powder

Talcum powder is another desiccating dust you can buy at hardware stores.

This stuff can be used outdoors around your home to prevent kissing bugs from getting access. Use talcum powder around your patio doors, doors, windows, and foundation cracks and crevices.

Pretty much anywhere you thin kissing bugs are able to crawl into your home, you can apply some talcum powder to make a natural DIY repellent against them.

DIY kissing bug traps

As mentioned earlier, you can build your own home remedy to catch and kill kissing bugs.

There are plenty of recipes online that cover the process of building these traps, and there are many different types of traps that you can build for cheap.

You can use the ones I mention above, or you can do your own research and build whatever DIY traps seems suitable for your specific situation.

Again, there are so many out there so choose one that looks promising and go from there.

How to get rid of kissing bugs on dogs

Kissing bugs on your dog go through the same process as kissing bugs on your skin.

They’ll eat your dog’s outer skin and can cause some extreme itchiness, especially for dogs with a single coat. If you’ve been walking your dog and you notice that Fido’s been scratching a lot more than usual, your dog may have gotten kissing bugs.

To get rid of them, use a professional flea and pest dog shampoo.

There are a ton out there, but this is the most effective way to get rid of kissing bugs on your dog. Do your research and read reviews.

Use the one that works

Since there are so many, it’s difficult to choose just a few. Any natural dog shampoo made to kill fleas and pests will remove kissing bugs also, as fleas are generally harder to ride than kissing bugs.

So if the shampoo can kill and remove fleas, chances are it’ll also kill kissing bugs. There’s no dog shampoo made just for kissing bugs that I could find, so you’ll have to use a substitute

The same goes for cats, horses, rabbits, chickens, or any other pet or livestock outdoors that may have kissing bugs. Just get the appropriate pest shampoo and use as directed.

Commercial traps and poisons

As your final approach, you can consider using commercial poisons and traps to kill these pests.

There are a ton of pesticides you can buy at any hardware store, and some will kill kissing bugs specifically whereas others will kill many bugs at once.

You’ll need to do your research and choose the one that works for you. Try to et one with natural compounds that’s safe for pets and children.

If you have no other options, then use the bug killer as directed. Always exercise caution and read the labels.

Typically, bug killer that works for stink bugs or boxelder bugs also should work for kissing bugs also. Some other pest killers are generally labeled as “indoor pest killer,” which also seem to work well against kissing bugs.

Some brands to consider that I’ve had decent success with are the following:

  • Harris Home Pest Control Insect Killer
  • Harris Stink Bug Killer (Odorless)
  • Black Flag Extreme Home Insect Control Plus Germ Killer

How do you prevent kissing bugs?

Kissing bug prevention.
Preventing kissing bugs from entering your home requires some work. But nothing too difficult.

You can prevent kissing bugs by taking preventive measures to control them by patching up your home and keeping it maintenance.

The best thing you can do going forwards is to simply repair the upkeep on your home and property.

Even if you live in a place where there are a ton of kissing bugs naturally, you can still prevent a good amount of them from ever getting into your home and biting you.

Here are some general tips to prevent and control kissing bugs.

Preventing kissing bugs indoors

  • Seal up all the crevices and cracks in your home’s outdoor foundation and walls
  • Repair all damaged window screenings
  • Repair damage patio doors screenings
  • Patch up any gaping entrances on your door
  • Block off all possible vents
  • Use traps around chimneys
  • Apply natural repellents regularly around hard-to-block areas
  • Set up DIY traps and continue to monitor them over time
  • Use blinds to block out lights from your home attracting outdoor bugs

Preventing kissing bugs outdoors

  • Regularly mow your lawn
  • Keep trees pruned
  • Regularly cut down bushes, wees, and shrubs that are overgrown
  • Keep woodpiles clean
  • Practice basic lawn care
  • Use natural bug repellents outdoors
  • Turn off any unneeded patio or pathway lights
  • Using the above with regular maintenance will help you keep kissing bugs at bay and prevent pests from coming in your home.

Did you get rid of your kissing bug problem?

Kissing bug anatomy, sizes, and life cycle.
Kissing bugs are no match if you just keep up the maintenance and secure some traps. (Via Etotalora, CC BY-SA 3.0.)

With these tips and continued persistence, you’ll be able to reduce the kissing bug population in your home and yard.

The trick is to utilize a variety of techniques and use the ones that are working, since each situation is different.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Or fi you’ve dealt with these pests before, leave some helpful tips for others trying to get rid of them!

If you found this pest control guide to be helpful, let me know!

Thanks for reading.