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Which Common And Potentially Dangerous Home-Invading Insect Pests In Arizona Remain Largely Understudied By Researchers

Generally, the amount of scientific publications concerning common and potentially dangerous insect pests within homes are numerous. Of course, this is a good thing, as residents and their families who rent, own or lease homes should be made aware of the potential hazards posed by the insect pests that can be found in various areas throughout the US. For example, of the three primary cockroach pests in the US, the German roach species carries a number of disease-causing microorganisms, and is the most commonly encountered of all roach species within homes in every state. This is why the German cockroach is one of the most thoroughly studied of all medically significant home-invading insect species in the US. Other examples include mosquitoes, numerous fly species, and several arachnids, most notably, black widows, recluse spiders, and Arizona bark scorpions.

Surprisingly, kissing bugs are relatively understudied for being a group of disease-carrying insect pests that frequently invade homes throughout the southern half of the United States. However, and perhaps most important to US citizens, kissing bug bites are the most common cause of insect-related anaphylaxis in the US, which is an extreme and often fatal immune response. These airborne and ravenous bloodsuckers feed on a plethora of different animals, including birds, amphibians, horses, livestock, dogs, cats, and humans. Kissing bugs trigger anaphylactic shock in humans more often than Africanized honey bees, yellow jackets and red-imported fire ants. This response is triggered by an allergy that many people have to certain compounds found within the saliva of kissing bugs, but these pests do not transmit venom; instead, they travel miles in order to invade homes where they puncture skin with their bites.

After inflicting bites to humans, kissing bugs habitually deposit their parasitic feces near the wound. Once itchiness begins to develop around the bite, humans unknowingly smear the parasite-contaminated feces into the wood, allowing the T. cruzi parasite to enter the bloodstream, which often results in a potentially fatal infection known as chagas disease. Arizona is home to seven kissing bug species, most of which are found with human blood in their digestive tract after being trapped and collected by researchers. Chagas disease is common in South America, and based on recent research, experts are concerned that this disease may soon become common in the southern US states. Beyond this information, not much is known about the disease-spreading potential of kissing bugs inhabiting the country.

Have you ever found a kissing bug species within your home?

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