5 Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

No one likes even the thought of bed bugs. Imagine finding out that an insect has been tucked in your bed all night, and has more than likely been feasting on your blood while you sleep. That’s enough to make you itchy already. 

But, it turns out that not all over-night bed-bites are from bed bugs. Bed bug bites have common symptoms with other types of insect bites. Some of these insects even appear similar to bed bugs themselves as well! 

Here, we’ll look at the common insects normally mistaken for bed bugs, hoping that next time you’ll be able to single them out with ease. 

5 Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs 

People hardly identify bed bugs until they see red bite marks and other signs of infestations like tiny black spots on bedding. While these symptoms may be true, a couple of other insects share similar symptoms that may be mistaken for bed bugs. 

Here they are:

Spider Beetles 

A quick glance at these American insects and you’ll be tempted to call in help for a bed bug extermination. That’s because spider beetles are quite similar to bed bugs that have just had a blood meal. And, to top it off, they also have that reddish-brown color that bed bugs are famous for. However, there are also some white-marked varieties that are easier to distinguish from bed bugs. 

Spider beetles do not fancy human blood but they love eating grains and basically all types of foods. 

Similarities to Bed Bugs

  • Both have a reddish-brown color
  • Both hide in cracks and are active at night
  • Both insects are oval-shaped

Differences from Bed Bugs

  • Spider beetles feed on food while bed bugs rely on blood 
  • Some species of spider beetles have a shiny body surface

Bat Bugs

Yep. You read that right, we said Bat Bugs. Bat bugs, also bloodsuckers, are bed bug look-alikes that primarily feed on blood from bats instead of humans. They look similar to bed bugs but will have a couple of subtle identifiable features. 

The best way to tell the difference between the two is by looking at the length of the hair spread all over the bodies. But they are so small how would you possibly tell? Well, you’ll need a microscope for this one.

Similarities to Bed Bugs

  • Flat oval body shape 
  • Same body size (around ¼ inch)
  • Both are bloodsucking insects

Differences from Bed Bugs

  • Bat bugs mainly suck bats while bed bugs feed on humans
  • Bat bugs have longer hairs than bed bugs

Lice

Similar to the effect of bed bug bites, when lice bites, you’ll experience a lot of scratching and little bumps of bite marks. Lice, however, can cause bite marks all over the body. If you look closely, they resemble nymph bed bugs due to their whitish color. Lice are a little smaller than bed bugs but you can’t really tell the difference with the naked eye. 

Similarities to Bed Bugs

  • Lice resemble bed bug nymphs
  • Both bugs are found throughout the world

Differences from Bed Bugs

  • Lice do not feed on humans like bed bugs
  • Lice mainly live on wall areas, windows, but bed bugs stay close to mattresses, creeks, electrical wires, etc
  • Bed bugs are bigger than lice 
  • Bed bugs are oval while lice are segmented or oblong

Fleas 

Fleas are dark-colored insects that survive on blood from their hosts. They are one of the best jumpers in the insect family. A flea bite will usually occur as a cluster of dots in humans although they love feeding on animals. If you suspect of any flea bites be sure to visit a doctor as they might carry other diseases. 

Similarities to Bed Bugs

  • Both insects cause itchy bites 
  • Both may have reddish-brown hues

Differences from Bed Bugs

  • Bed bugs cause irritation but fleas may transmit diseases
  • Bugs walk on the host while fleas can jump as high as 18cm horizontally

Ticks 

The tick family has quite a variety of members coming in different colors and sizes. Most come as red or brown in color. They are generally round-shaped like bed bugs and also appear as flat before sucking blood from their hosts. 

Most ticks seem to prefer feeding on animals but will not hesitate to suck the blood of humans whenever they get the chance as well. Furthermore, their bites are not only discomforting but prone to spreading several diseases. 

Similarities to Bed Bugs

  • Both have a similar round shape
  • Both have similar size (depending on age)
  • Both insects swell after sucking blood from hosts

Differences from Bed Bugs

  • Bed bugs bite and go while ticks may stay attached to your body up to a day 
  • Bed bugs are mainly indoors while ticks are outdoor insects
  • Ticks have eight legs but bed bugs have six

Which Bug Looks The Most Like A Bed Bug?

All the bugs we’ve narrowed down have at least an aspect or two that makes them look like bed bugs. But, we’ve found one to have the most striking resemblance… and that is bat bugs!

We choose bat bugs are the bug that most resembles bed bugs because they have a similar color, shape, and unless you happen to carry a microscope with you, you will have one heck of a time trying to identify the difference between the two. 

Bat bugs, however, do have longer hair on the head than bed bugs do. So it is possible to tell them apart, technically. And, even though they may look similar to bed bugs but the good news is that bat bugs do not feed on humans and will only occur in your house if you have bats in your attic. 

Jordan Quinn Farkas
Jordan Quinn Farkas
Jordan is a full-time writer from his home in Southeast Europe. An avid outdoors-man and backpacker, he has gathered a plethora of tips and tricks for dealing with all sorts of pests.

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