We receive many questions from our readers about bed bugs and other bugs that look similar to bed bugs. Most commonly asked question is ‘I have tiny bugs in my bed that aren’t bed bugs but look a lot similar, and what should do about them?’. The fact is that indeed there are many bugs that look similar to bed bugs. Let us discuss some of them.
Book lice are also called psocids. While they do not transmit any diseases, they can be extremely annoying when present in large numbers. Booklice can also be present in cereal boxes and other moldy areas with food grains. The best way to eliminate book lice and lice bites is to treat the environment. A book louse prefers warm and moist areas, so avoid these.
The bat bug or Cimex pilosellus is a close relative of the bed bug or Cimex lectularius. The name ‘bat bug’ comes from colonies of bugs that are found around bat nests in abandoned buildings, attics etc. Eventually, the bugs move to human populations to bite and feed on human blood. The good news is that the bat bug populations die off in absence of hosts to feed upon. This is a huge difference from bed bug behavior which can survive for months without a blood meal. Similarity includes the fact that both species, bat and bed bugs, have short broad heads that are attached to the prothorax and an oval shaped body.
Spider beetle is very similar in appearance to a bed bug. It has a shiny brown body which measures about 1/7th inches and has a humpbacked appearance. Like bed bugs, spider beetles prefer the dark and are most active at night. During the day, they hide in cracks and crevices as well as in areas with food grains. They usually do not bite humans.
Small cockroaches are similar to bed bugs in appearance. They are dark brown to mahogany colored and measure about 2 inches long. Immature cockroaches are especially similar to bed bugs. Cockroaches do not bite humans but they can contaminate food. They typically hide in kitchens and other areas with food and debris.
Carpet beetles do not much resemble bed bugs since they have round, solid brown or blackish hairy bodies. They even have irregular patterns on their body. The only similarity is that carpet beetles also have antennae and a hard exoskeleton covering their wings, just like bed bugs. Also, both species hide in carpets, rugs beds, mattresses and box springs. Immature beetles are covered with tufts of hair.
Bed bugs are reddish brown, flat and oval. They measure about 1/5th of an inch, have protruding eyes and short thick antennae. They also have wing like structures on either side of their head. Bed bug control is rather difficult and needs an integrated pest management approach. All infested sites have to be treated properly and at the same time.
As can be seen, there are many tiny bugs that can be present in your bed but they may or may not be bed bugs.
Bed bug bites
Typically, bed bug bites occur at night. Bed bugs can feed for up to 10 minutes on human hosts, before returning to their hiding place. You might notice a line of bites on your skin where several bed bugs have fed. These lines are usually present on the arms, legs, and torso and around the edge of the hem of your clothing. Many people do not immediately feel the effects of bed bug bites. Some people who are extremely sensitive may react to the protein injected by the bugs into the skin. As a result, they may develop reddish wheals which may be swollen and may itch terribly. The itchiness lasts for about a week after which, it diminishes. Bed bug bites produce variable symptoms as a result of which, it could become rather difficult to diagnose them. Regardless of these symptoms, it is very important to actually detect the presence of the bug in order to determine if it is indeed bed bug bites, dust mite bites, scabies or one of the many other possibilities.
Eradication of bed bugs
Eradicating bed bugs effectively needs an integrated bug management approach as stated above. You must dispose all infested items or at least wash them if possible. You can use insecticides but these need to contact the bed bug directly. Sometimes, bed bugs can walk across the treated surface but if they do not come in contact with the insecticide then they may not be killed.
Do visit the resources provided on this website to completely get rid of bed bugs.