Kissing bugs, aka triatomines, are not as romantic as their name implies. Rather, they bite and suck blood while their human or animal host is sleeping.
Most triatomines aggregate in refuges during day and search for blood during night when the host is asleep and the air is cooler. Odors as well as heat guide these insects to the host. Carbon dioxide emanating from breath, as well as ammonia, short chain amines and carboxylic acids from skin, hair and exocrine glands from vertebrate animals, are among the volatiles that attract triatomines. Vision also serves triatomines for orientation. During night, adults of diverse species fly to houses attracted by light.
Happy Valentine’s Day!