Growing concern in Tri-Cities after CDC report of “Kissing” bug in U.S.

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – In a recent alert, the “Kissing” or Triatomine bug normally found in South America was spotted in Georgia  and South Carolina. That news has some in East Tennessee on edge. Even the experts at Leo’s Pest control in Bristol are puzzled.

“We are doing research, looking it up seeing what is going on.”

Steve Skeens has worked at Leo’s Pest Control for more than 20 years and even for him the kissing bug is a first.

SLIDESHOW: How to spot the kissing bug

“I haven’t ever seen one, but we are getting different pests year to year so its probably only a matter of time before it will be here,” Skeens said.

The CDC says the bug carries a parasite that causes the deadly Chagas disease, but it’s rare and hard to identify.

“A lot of folks are getting confused with another insect we are looking into called the wheel bug,” Skeens said.

Both the Wheel and Kissing bugs look similar, but in fact, they are two different type of insects. The wheel bug has what appears to be a saw on it’s back and it doesn’t have as long a snout as the kissing bug.

The CDC says if you spot what you think is the kissing bug trap it and call your local health department. Until then Skeen says  don’t worry.

“Until it is confirmed here, I don’t think it’s a great deal to be worried about at this time,” Skeen said.

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