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Bugs that look like bed bugs


While bed bugs seem to be increasing, at an alarming rate, across the country, not all bugs in your home or in your bed are actual bed bugs. Many may look similar, but are something different altogether. This article will look at some of these bugs the hopes that next time you bump into any of these, you will be better informed and able to recognize them.

Swallow Bugs

swallowbugSwallow bugs are in the same family as bed bugs. While similar in color and shape to bed bugs, they actually have what looks like long thin hairs on their bodies. Typically, they come into homes when cliff swallow birds are migrating.

If you have swallows or swallow nests around your home, your bugs are more likely to be swallow bugs than bed bugs.

Also, swallow bugs tend to spend their time on windowsills instead of beds as they feed off of the birds. Of course, once the birds leave, the bugs need new hosts and that could possibly be you.

Bat Bugs

Cimex lectulariusBat bugs look quite a bit like bed bugs as both have wide heads and a flat, broad body, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that the bat bug tends to bloat after a meal while bed bugs do not. In addition, bat bugs don’t feed off of humans. Instead, they live off of bats, but if you have bats in your attic, then you probably have bat bugs in your home.

To tell bat bugs apart from bed bugs, you’ll need to look at the hairs on the insect. Bat bugs have longer hair which is longer than the width of the eye of the insect while bed bugs have hair that is shorter than the width of their eyes.

Poultry Bugs

Like bat bugs, poultry bugs look the same as bed bugs, but they normally don’t live in homes. They feed off of birds, such as chickens and turkeys, so you will find them on farms or around areas that raise fowl. In appearance, they have the same body as a bed bug, but they also have a beak and longer legs.

Carpet Beetles

Anthrenus.verbasci.7057Carpet beetles are very similar in appearance to bed bugs. The only real difference is that they have wings. One way to determine whether a bug is a carpet beetle or a bed bug is to look at its color. Carpet beetles have orange, yellow, and brown scales across their bodies while bed bugs do not. The carpet beetles’ body is also a little more compact.

One of the main differences between carpet beetles and bed bugs is that carpet beetles have a mouth that was designed to chew on plant material. Bed bugs, on the other hand, have a mouth shaped to pierce the skin and suck blood. Finally, carpet beetles can fly while bed bugs cannot.

Book Lice

Book_louse_01While book lice don’t look like an adult bed bug, they do resemble bed bug nymphs. Book lice are not actually lice, but they are the same shape and size. Book lice can be found in wallpaper, around windows, in furniture, or in potted plants. They only feed on mold or fungi and not on humans. Like bed bugs, book lice are wingless.

They can range in color from brown to gray and even translucent. Book lice are often found in humid locations that are susceptible to mold growth.

German Cockroach Nymph

Adult cockroaches don’t look like bed bugs, but when they are in the nymph stage, they do appear the same and are often mistaken for bed bugs. The German cockroach nymph is wingless and smaller in size and not the normal cockroach color.

Shiny Spider Beetles

shiny spiderSpider beetles have round, reddish midsections that are on the large side that can be mistaken for the torsos of bedbugs. They range in size from 1.5 to 3.5 mm and have small hairs on their thorax and head. Shiny spider beetles feed on food items found in your kitchen or a grocery store. Stored pet food is another source of feed for the insects. They also like to feed on dead animals or their droppings, such as mice.

If you start to notice small holes in the packages of food in your kitchen or pantry, this could be a sign of shiny spider beetles. Check for webbing around and inside the package.

Drugstore Beetle

While these bugs can be found anywhere, including your bed, they tend to feed on stored products such as potpourri or spices. The drugstore beetle is normally between 2 and 3.5 mm in length, and it has an oval shape and is brown. This type of insect can fly once it is an adult which distinguishes it from bed bugs. Also, drugstore beetles are attracted to the light.

An additional issue with the drugstore beetle is that it can carry with it a wasp parasite. These parasites do bite, and when they do, the bite does look like a bed bug bite.


3404894430_197b580c0a_oLike bed bugs, fleas do bite and they can take up residence in any part of your home. They feed on warm-blooded creatures which can include you and your pets. While fleas are similar in shape as bed bugs, both are oval, fleas are much smaller. The average flea is 1.5 to 3.3 mm in length while bed bugs are 5 to 6 mm in length.

Like bed bugs, fleas cannot fly, but unlike bed bugs, they can jump. In addition, bed bugs tend to crawl and look more like an apple seed.

Regardless of the type of bug you find in your home, it is unpleasant. All types of infestations can be difficult to deal with and may need to hire a professional to eliminate completely. Bed bugs are particularly nasty as their favorite meal is human blood and they tend to attack you when you’re most vulnerable, in bed asleep. That’s why it is important to make a correct identification when you find a bug in your bed or home. If you don’t, you may be treating your house for the wrong bug, and you’ll have to do it all over again.

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