Bat bugs are to bats what bed bugs are to humans. They are parasitic bugs that feed on the blood of bats. Here is the thing: the two parasites are close relatives just with difference blood preference. They are from the Cimicadae family of insects and unfortunately, despite their preference for bat blood they have no problem getting into your bed and furniture and biting you.
Bat bugs are predominantly found in places where there have been bat colonies. If that is your chimney or attic you can expect them to migrate to your furniture when there no longer any bats in the vicinity. Since the bat bug doesn’t attach to the bat like a tick they need to live nearby to access the bat during feeding times. They live within the crack and crevices of these areas as long as bats are available.
Difference between bed and bat bugs
These two parasites are very similar in color, shape and characteristics. It is very hard to tell the two apart but upon close inspection you will notice that the bat bug has hairs on the upper thorax that are much longer than those on a bed bug.
Are bat bugs dangerous?
Of course, bats are known to carry rabies and their fecal matter can transmit histoplasmosis to humans and both diseases can be fatal if not treated. But that doesn’t mean that the bats are carriers so or transmitters of these diseases.
When these bat bugs are starved of blood they can resort to feeding on humans. However, they can survive in your furniture or carpeting for as long as a year without feeding. No amount of vacuuming will get rid of them.
In desperate times they will also feed on cat and dog blood.
How to get rid of bat bugs
Bed bugs are more tenacious compared to bat bugs so getting rid of the latter is probably a little easier. However, they are just as secretive and furtive as their cousin and since they don’t feed frequently getting them can become a bit of a task. Professionals know where to go to find them and what to look for and that is why it is advisable to call in pest control experts when you notice bat bugs.
Of course, the best way to get rid of these pests is to never let them in at all. This means that you have to check your space for bats and get rid of them to prevent an infestation of bat bugs.
Symptoms of bat bug bites
Their bites are very similar to bed bug bites. Once they bite the area gets a burning sensation that is quickly followed by a bump that swells and raises a clear center. The bug uses their proboscis to pierce through the skin and suck the blood out into their stomachs. Like bed bugs they are also nocturnal creatures that are most active when you are asleep. They bite the most during the early hours of the morning or during the night. They will hide in the bedframes and under the mattress seams.