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Bat Bug or Bed Bug – Learn to Tell the Difference

At the tail-end of World War II, bed bugs had been nearly eradicated. Now, however, they’re resurgence is at an alarming rate throughout the whole of the United States. As the number of bed bug cases rise each year, so do the number of false identifications, often caused by their lesser-known look-alike: the bat bug. Bat bugs are eerily similar to bed bugs in appearance, so telling the difference between the two can be tricky to the untrained eye. To help you out, we’ve compiled a quick checklist to help you determine whether you have bat bugs or bed bugs.

#1. Location (In Your Home)

Where are the bugs located? This is an important box to check because it can be a clear indicator of whether or not you’re dealing with bed bugs.
While both bat bugs and bed bugs are considered parasites (meaning they survive by feeding from a living host), there is one key difference: bed bugs will feed from a variety of different species – including humans – while bat bugs almost exclusively prefer bats. Bat bugs will occasionally feed on humans but only if they’ve been abandoned by their bad host, making this a fairly rare occurrence.

What does this have to do with location? Both insects will inhabit areas close to their hosts. For bed bugs, these areas include your bed (big surprise there, right?), nightstands, bed frames, and floor boards near. Bat bugs, on the other hand, will likely be spotted in areas closer to a bat’s roost. This could be in the insulation of your attic or in and around your chimney.
However, if a bat bug is abandoned by its host, it will be looking for a new food source (which could be you). Only then are you likely to find them in areas closer to you, such as your bed, bed frame, or nearby furniture.

#2. Physical Appearance

Sure, bat bugs and bed bugs do look eerily similar, but there are physical differences that you can use to tell them apart. The first thing is their color. Bat bugs are typically brown or beige in color, while bed bugs are traditionally redder, leaning more mahogany than brown.
Second is their size. While both are oval in shape, bed bugs tend to be wider in appearance, measuring up to 1/4 of an inch. On the other hand, bat bugs are generally much smaller, measuring at only two (2) to five (5) millimeters.

#3. Geographical Location

Bed bugs exist in countries all around the world – they’re not too picky about where they live so long as they have a host to feed from. Bat bugs, on the other hand, are specific to the Midwestern United States.

Okay, so now you have more information on how to tell the two bugs apart, but what are your next steps? As similar as these two pests may appear, the process for exterminating each one is actually quite different.

In order to get rid of bat bugs, you simply need to get rid of their hosts (the bats) and disinfect all affected areas. Bed bug treatment is, unfortunately, more complicated. The key to eliminating bed bugs is to alter their reproduction cycle using chemicals. Extermination using heat is also an option, as bed bugs will dehydrate and die when exposed to certain high temperatures. In both cases, professional pest management services are required to ensure you, your family, and your home are safe.

Need help getting rid of these parasites? Presidio Pest Management will quickly and efficiently get rid of the insects so you can relax in peace. Reach out today to schedule a free inspection and let us professionally verify whether you’re dealing with bat bugs or bed bugs.

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