Kissing bug intrusions into homes in the southwest united states

Stephen A. Klotz, Shannon L. Smith, Justin O. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Kissing bugs readily enter homes in the Sonoran Desert and bite the residents. Their saliva is highly antigenic, causing local and systemic skin reactions and life-threatening anaphylaxis. We attempted to determine what characteristics of homesites may have contributed to home intrusion by kissing bugs. Extensive and detailed information about the homes and the home environment was collected from 78 homeowners in Tucson who suffered kissing bug intrusions. Homeowners collected 298 Triatoma rubida in and around their homes. Of the homes entered by kissing bugs, 29 of 46 (63%) contained bugs harboring Trypanosoma cruzi. Although in the aggregate, homeowners were bitten > 2200 times, no individual tested positive for Chagas disease (N = 116). Although yearly intrusion likely occurs in some homes, T. rubida does not domiciliate within homesites in the Desert Southwest. We conclude there is little risk to homeowners for Chagas disease given the current behavior of resident kissing bugs and absent ingesting kissing bug fecal matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number654
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Allergic reactions to insect bites
  • Chagas disease
  • Insect bites
  • Kissing bug
  • Triatoma protracta
  • Triatoma rubida
  • Trypanosoma cruzi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science


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