The comparison between bed bugs and bat bugs can cause some confusion. Both of these insects can cause discomfort and potential health hazards for homeowners and both look very similar, especially at a distance. In order to effectively address an infestation though, it is important to have a clear understanding of the differences between the two.
So you’ve heard about bed bugs, but what are bat bugs?
Are they different from bed bugs, and if so, how?
This article provides the tools and knowledge you need to differentiate between bat bugs and bed bugs and deal with their infestations.
What are Bat Bugs?
Bat bugs are similar to bedbugs, but they’re about the size of a thumb. They are small, brownish bugs with wings and long antennae.
Their primary hosts are bats – specifically big brown bats and little brown bats – and are often found in close proximity to their hosts.
They are arthropods, which means they have jointed legs and a hard exoskeleton.
Their wings are small and flat and they are about the size of a mosquito or fruit fly.
Bat bugs are often mistaken for bedbugs, which is why you’ll see so many people reporting bed bug infestations in the United States.
How to Identify Bat Bugs?
Bat bugs are about 1/4-inch long, and the females are slightly bigger than the males. They are typically brown in color, but their skin color can vary depending on their feeding habits.
When bat bugs feed on human blood, the human skin turns bright red and is often mistaken for a bed bug bite.
A bat bug’s body consists of four segments:
1. Head: The head has a mouth, a pair of antennae, and six small, segmented legs.
2. Thorax: The thorax has three pairs of wings and four pairs of legs.
3. Abdomen: The abdomen has eight legs and an oval-shaped rear end.
4. Caudal tail: The caudal tail is relatively small, with two pairs of wings and six legs. It’s used for propulsion and can be folded back against the abdomen.
Bat bugs have a long lifespan, and adults can live for up to a year.
You may also be interested in What Does a Bed Bug Look Like? The Definitive Guide
Bat Bug Vs Bed Bug – Where Are They Commonly Reported?
Bat bugs are relative newcomers to plague mankind, with reports of them starting to increase in the early 2000s.
They were spotted for the first time in California in 2001, but now they’re quite prevalent – with sightings in most of the United States, Europe (especially Germany), North Africa, and Australia.
Bat Bugs are also much more common in the United Kingdom, where there’s been a spike in their population. There, bat bugs are most commonly seen in public housing, where they can be quite an issue.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, are common throughout the world. They like to stay close to their human host, hiding within the mattresses and furniture and coming out at night to feed on the blood of their host.
How Fast Do Bat Bugs Grow?
Bat Bugs grow rapidly in number, making them a hard to deal with pests.
Their reproduction occurs throughout the year, but it’s most common during the summer months. In fact, the mating season can last up to three weeks, which is the reason why you may have bat bugs in your home for so long.
The female bat bug lays her eggs in the summer months, and they hatch in about a month. After hatching, the young bat bugs begin to eat. The adult female will also lay eggs for the next batch of bat bugs.
Bat bugs can reproduce quickly, and in as little as a week, they can grow to adult size.
What Causes A Bat Bug Infestation?
When bat bugs first arrived in the United States, they were typically found in public housing, and it was assumed that they came in through transiting ships or aircraft.
That theory was disproved when bat bugs were found in New York City in the early 2000s.
Today, bat bugs are everywhere. You may have bat bugs in your home, but you may not know it.
The most common causes of bat bug infestation can come from:
- Hiding in luggage, backpacks or purses and entering your house with you
- Traveling from one infested room to another
- Coming into your home from used or recycled furniture brought from elsewhere
In a study conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 80% of homes that were surveyed had bat bugs, and 50% of homes with bat bugs were in the New York City area.
Where Do Bat Bugs Live?
Normally bat bugs are found very close to their primary hosts, bats.
Since bats tend to occupy eaves of building, dark voids and cavities, and places like attics and cellars, it makes bat bugs prime candidates for home infestation.
They may come in interaction with humans as a source of food even when bats have left, occupying the walls of the property once the bats have gone.
How to Get Rid of Bat Bugs?
It’s important to know that bat bugs are not a very common infestation, and most people who are having problems with bat bugs don’t know they’re having them.
If you are being bitten by them and you think you have an infestation, you can start by contacting a pest control company.
Pest control companies have been trained to spot bat bugs, and they can help you find where they are hiding. They can also give you tips on how to get rid of bat bugs in your home.
The good news is that most bat bug infestations can be treated, and most people are able to get rid of them in a few days.
Bugs are attracted to heat, so it’s important to keep your home well-ventilated. If you’re concerned about your home, a pest control company can help you find the source of the problem.
They may recommend that you buy a carbon monoxide detector, or that you buy an exhaust fan.
How Can You Tell If You Have Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human and animal blood. They often spread through second-hand furniture that has been sitting in storage for a while.
Bed bugs can be hard to identify, but there are some tell-tale signs of their presence like:
- Appearance of small, reddish-brown stains on bed sheets or mattresses
- Blood spots on sheets and bedding
- Small insects in the folds of sheets and mattresses
- An unpleasant sweetish smell.
Can Bed Bugs Harm You?
Bed bug bites can be distinguished by red welts on your skin where blood has been drawn. They may itch or burn immediately after the bite, so be sure to consult a doctor for an antibiotic sensitivity test if you have any symptoms of sensitivity.
While bed bugs resemble little brown mosquitoes, bed bugs don’t actually suck blood. Instead, they inject a saliva-like substance that irritates the skin and makes the red welt appear.
Their bites however, can cause itchiness, redness, and welts when scratched.
Many people also experience anxiety when they know bed bugs are near them.
Where Are Bed Bugs Found?
You may have a problem with bed bugs if you’re having problems with bites, and you may have an infestation if you’re seeing bed bugs.
Bed bugs can be found anywhere in the home, including bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. They can also be found in public housing, and in the bedrooms of hotels.
Their favourite spots include:
- Cracks and crevices of furniture and other objects in home
- Headboards of beds, mattresses, and dressers
- Seams of couches and chairs, and in behind wallpaper, flooring, and other surfaces.
- Bathroom, kitchen, and even the laundry room.
- Public housing, and in the bedrooms of hotels.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
You may have an infestation if you see signs of bed bugs, including:
- Bites on your skin
- Dried or live bed bugs
- Pupae on furniture
- Eggs in your home
The best way to prevent bed bugs is to get rid of them before they have a chance to get into your home. The best way to do that is to:
- Treat the mattress
- Treat upholstered furniture
- Make sure your home is well-ventilated.
- Place your mattress in the shade, and if possible, in a room with a fan.
Bat Bugs Vs Bed Bugs – Pest Management
It is crucial to learn the differences in signs, habits and harms of these nasty little bugs to plan necessary actions for infestation control.
Professional exterminators, with apt knowledge and skilful extermination techniques can efficiently identify between the bed and bat bugs and help you get rid of any infestation in a safe and reliable manner.
Professional pest control services also offer guaranteed results.
Pest Control experts will typicall get rid of the bed bugs by:
- Extreme head and fumigation
- Chemical-based pest control solutions like Cryonite which employs frozen liquid carbon dioxide to kill the bedbugs.
- Vacuum Cleaning
All these methods are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. For bat bugs, the focus is to get rid of the bats first. Once all the bats are evicted from the house, bat bugs are killed by any of the above method.
The Information on this page is intended for use by people who are concerned about their own personal health and well-being. It is not intended to replace the professional advice of doctors, scientists, veterinarians, medical doctors, or nutritionists. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, so please, consult a professional if you have symptoms that are causing you harm.