The kissing bug goes by many names. It shares a number of features with bed bugs.


Synonymns: triatomine bug, reduviid bug, assassin bug, chipo, barbiero, vinchuca


General appearance: flat body, six legs, cylindrical point-like head, antennae midway between eyes and front of head. Adults show coloration but nymphs do not.


Triatome bugs are preent in the tropics and subtropics and depend on blood meals from mammals for survival.


The kissing bug interact with humans by biting at night while the person is asleep. The bug stands alongside the victim and extends a proboscis from which a stylet emerges to penetrate the skin or mucosa. The bites are painless.


Reactions to a bite may take the form of:

(1) papular

(2) small vesicle

(3) urticarial

(4) hemorrhagic nodular or bullous lesions

Kissing Bug

Bed Bug

reaction to bite requires prior sensitization

reaction to bite does not require prior sensitization

multiple bites, may be scattered

bites in a 1-2-3 linear pattern


distinctive odor

no excrement

black or brown excrement after feeding


Both kissing and bed bugs can be transported in luggage to start a new infestation.


A kissing bug can transmit South American Trypanosomiasis (T. cruzi) via its saliva.


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