Danelle Cutting Q&A: Kissing-bug reports cause confusion

Published 1:02 pm Friday, December 4, 2015

The media can be a wonderful tool to learn about things happening all over the world. There are days when the media can irritate me because they hype something very small and can cause chaos in people’s lives. One of those days happened recently! I am hoping this information can help assist you and calm any fears you may have over the kissing bug. Our office has also received numerous calls about the Extension Master Gardener Program and the NC Farm School. Below are a few questions from this week:

Question: Help! I have the kissing bug in my home and I think it is going to attack me when I sleep! What can I do to get rid of this bug?

Answer: I confess, I have combined the numerous questions to make the one above, but they were practically all the same. As most of you have probably read online, Twitter, Facebook and numerous media outlets that the kissing bug was identified in a North Carolina town, but the location was not released. This has caused a huge scare in our state and my fellow agents have received calls, visits and emails trying to identify the insect. Currently, we have not seen a kissing bug in the pictures or samples provided. The unfortunate side of this scare is that we have had numerous assassin/wheel bugs (a beneficial insect) killed because they look similar to the kissing bug. We have also had people think that the stink bugs that have invaded their homes are the infamous kissing bug as well. It is great that people are aware, but I just want to make sure everyone checks before killing everything they see, what I recommend is taking a look at the NCSU Extension publication: http://ncsupdicblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/kissing-bugs-and-chagas-disease-in-nc.html?m=1

It is a great article and can help determine which insect you have. If you are still positive that you have a kissing bug, please place the insect in a glass jar and bring to our office.

Question: I am very interested in becoming an Extension Master Gardener, how do I sign up?

Answer: You can visit our office, call, or email me for an application. We will also have an informational session Dec. 29 at 1 pm at the Cooperative Extension office, 2727 Old Concord Road. We are asking that everyone RSVP by calling the Cooperative Extension office 704-216-8970. It is a great program that lasts over 17 weeks and space is limited, so be sure to register as soon as possible.

Question: Is there still space to attend the Southern Piedmont NC Farm School?

Answer: Yes, there is space available, but we highly encourage those that are interested in attending to do two things. First, visit the website www.ncfarmschool.com to review what the program is and make sure that it is still what they want. The second is that we are requesting all of those that are interested in the NC Farm School attend one of two informational sessions. The first session is Tuesday, Dec. 15 at the Cooperative Extension office at 6:30 p.m., and the last session will be in Cabarrus County at their Extension Office, 715 Cabarrus Ave. W., Concord) on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. RSVPs are required for either session, please call 704-216-8970 to register for one of the informational sessions. Applications on the website and at the informational sessions.

If you have questions concerning insects, Extension Master Gardeners, and the Southern Piedmont NC Farm School, call your local agent, Danelle Cutting, at 704-216-8970 or email her at danelle_cutting@ncsu.edu .