Bed bugs have built up such a bad reputation over the years that the mere sight of anything that looks remotely similar to one is enough to send chills down a person’s spine. Unfortunately there are quite a few bugs out there that look like bed bugs giving people false alarms.
Here are 10 bugs that share a similar appearance to bed bugs.
Bed bugs and ticks have two major things in common. They are hard to see because of their incredibly small bodies, and both feast on human blood. If you are a person who spends a lot of time outdoors especially in wooded areas you need to be aware of ticks.
Ticks usually like to hide in shrubs, tall grass, and plant leaves. They will attempt to attach themselves to any person or animal that walks through these areas. After climbing on to their host a tick will find a place to hide on the victim’s body before biting them to feed.
Unlike a bed bug bite which is usually harmless, the bite from a tick carries a risk of transferring any disease that they have to their host. A few of these diseases include:
- Lyme Disease (most common)
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
With all of the awful tick-borne diseases out there you really want to avoid being bitten by one of these parasites. Here are five measures you can take to prevent ticks from biting you.
- Wear light colored, protective clothing
- Use an insect repellent that’s effective against ticks
- Tuck your pant legs into your socks
- Avoid walking though tall grass if possible and try not to brush up against shrubs and plant leaves
- Check yourself for ticks after returning from outdoor activities
2. Head Lice
Like bed bugs, these look-a-like bugs are blood sucking parasites that cause people a lot of grief. Head lice are very small and are usually found in the hair and around the neck of people who have them. Both lice and bed bugs move around by crawling and are unable to leap or fly.
A key difference between bed bugs and lice is their dependence on food. Lice must feed daily to survive, or they will die within 1 to 2 days. On the other hand, bed bugs only feed about two to three times per week. They can survive without meals for about 9 to 12 months depending on the temperature.
Another difference between these two insects is their life span. Lice can only live on their host for about 30 days before dying. Bed bugs can live off of their host for over a year if uninterrupted.
3. Cockroach Nymphs
Baby cockroaches also called nymphs are often mistaken for bed bugs because of their reddish brown color. Similar to bed bugs these insects also like to hide in cracks and crevices.
However, human blood is not a food source for cockroaches. Instead, these insects prefer to feed on sweets, meats, and starches. They’re less likely to be hiding in or around your bed and will mostly be hiding in areas where food is kept, such as the kitchen.
4. Carpet Beetles
At a quick glance these bugs look like bed bugs because of there small oval shaped bodies. Although, if you were to take a closer look at the two its pretty easy to tell the difference.
Carpet beetles have a black and white pattern with orange or red scales on their body. Adult carpet beetles also have the ability to fly unlike bed bugs.
As creepy as these beetles look the only harm they can cause to humans is dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction that can occur if one crawls on you.
Though these insects are small and have a reddish-brown color similar to bed bugs it’s not too hard to tell the difference between the two. Fleas have round heads and longer legs when compared to bed bugs. Also, in contrast to bed bugs fleas have the ability to jump making them hard to catch.
Fleas can and do bite humans but usually choose not to live on us. These pests prefer to live and feed on dogs and cats since the fur on their bodies provides the perfect environment for them to conceal themselves and multiply.
Booklice resemble bed bug nymphs more so than their adult counter parts. They have a translucent white or light brown color and are small. Booklice also have longer bodies and antennae than bed bugs do. Booklice typically eat mold, fungi, pollen, etc. and do not feed on blood.
Some common places to find them in homes include:
- Kitchen cupboards
- Books and magazines
- Dark, humid, and damp storage rooms
- Window sides and sills
- Behind wallpaper
7. Spider Beetles
The only similarity between spider beetles and bed bugs is their small and oval shaped reddish-brown bodies. They are usually found in food warehouses and in unkempt restaurants.
However, spider beetles do find there way into homes from time to time and are usually caught lurking in a pantry or anywhere there a food source close by.
Unlike bed bugs spider beetles do not feed on blood, but there are a wide variety of other foodstuffs they like to consume such as:
- dried fruits and veggies
- dead insects
8. Swallow bugs
These bugs are species of bed bugs which explains their striking resemblance to each other. Both of their bodies are small, flat, and share a similar shape. The primary way to tell the difference between these two is to look at the color of their bodies along with any hairiness present.
Swallow bugs are more of a grayish brown color in contrast to the reddish-brown color bed bugs have. Also, they have a hairy body while bed bugs do not. Swallow bugs mainly reside in the nests of barn and cliff swallows which is where they got their name.
However, they have been known to find there way into homes and buildings to feed on people. This usually happens when a nearby nest infested with these pests was destroyed or abandoned leaving them with no other food source.
9. Mexican Chicken Bugs
Being another species of bed bug Mexican chicken bugs (also called poultry bugs) has a near identical appearance to its relative. The two are similar in color shape and size, but poultry bugs tend to have longer legs.
They usually inhabit areas with animals like hens and turkeys. Though poultry bugs prefer to feast on birds they will settle for humans if nothing else is around.
10. Bat Bugs
Bat bugs are the most similar looking relative that bed bugs have. Nearly everything is identical between the two except for the hairs. Bat bugs hairs are longer and more numerous compared to the hairs on a bed bug.
As their name suggests, bat bugs primarily feed on bats. As such, they are mostly found in caves and other areas where bats dwell.
Its rare to find them in the home of a person, but it can happen if the person has bats. Bats are usually found in the attic, chimney, or in the wall voids of the house. Just like the other bed bug relatives bat bugs will resort to feasting on humans if their main food source is not present.
How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?
A lot of the bugs on this list are commonly mistaken for bed bugs due to their similar look and behaviors. If you suspect that you may have bed bugs but aren’t sure you should check out this guide. The guide will show you all the signs to look out for and help you in confirming an infestation.