Midges and crane flies and kissing bugs, oh my!

By |  April 25, 2019
Triatomine Bug Occurrence by State. CHART: CDC

Triatomine Bug Occurrence by State. They are typically found in the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America (as far south as southern Argentina). CHART: CDC (Content source: Global Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases)

We haven’t seen the plague of locusts whiz by just yet, but we have been collecting some interesting pest sighting news:

  • On April 17, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported on how aquatic midges (Chironomidae), also known as blind mosquitoes, are in breeding season and covering houses, vehicles and more. While they’re not a public health threat, they can be a startling sight by their sheer numbers. It doesn’t help that they resemble mosquitoes just enough that the affected county mosquito control districts are inundated with calls. Luckily, their life span is short, so no control is usually warranted. We particularly like the non-chemical treatment approach quoted in the newspaper by a Facebook user: “The solution is to hop onto I-95 north and go about 900 miles. That’ll get rid of them.”
  • A similar situation is being reported in California, but with crane flies (Tipulidae). Santa Clarita, Calif., radio station KHTS recently interviewed Cardon Ellis, co-owner of Unipest Pest Control.  Ellis noted during the broadcast that a common name for the insects, “mosquito eaters,” is a misnomer: “Everybody says, ‘Oh, don’t touch them, don’t touch them because they eat mosquitoes — they’re good.’ (They have) nothing to do with mosquitoes. It’s an old wives tale.”
  • Last but not least, USA Today reported April 23 that a kissing bug (Triatominae, also known as cone-nosed bugs) was confirmed as having bitten a child in Delaware while she was watching TV in her bedroom. The bugs are known carriers of Chagas disease, so the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) got involved. The girl did not become ill, thankfully.

So, how has this spring been for your pest control firm? Have you been inundated with not-actual-mosquito mosquito calls — called out to accounts, only to find it’s really just a population of crane flies or midges? What about kissing bugs? Now that they’re “moving north,” are you encountering them more frequently? Sound off below, or drop us a line at pmpeditor@northcoastmedia.net.

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