Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the… bat bugs bite? A lot of us are probably familiar with bed bugs. They spread very easily from one person, pet, or furniture to another. Bed bugs are fast on the rise, especially since people traveling from one place to another has never been easier or faster.
A lot of people see a bug on their bed and immediately assume it’s a bed bug – and this can be a bad idea. For one, whatever it really is could be more dangerous than you realize. You could also try eliminating it using methods suitable for bed bugs – and if those fail (since in this scenario they’re not actually bed bugs) it could be a frustrating experience and you may end up suffering sleep loss, wondering if you’re really safe in your bed.
One of these commonly mistaken bugs are bat bugs. They belong to the same family as bed bugs (Cimicidae) and are quite similar, even almost identical. It is thought that their ancestor bugs lived with people and bats back when people were living in caves. When people started leaving these caves to dwell in shelters of their own construction, some of these bugs left with them while others stayed behind. Over time, they evolved into separate kinds of bugs that prey primarily on people and bats – bed bugs and bat bugs.
Bed bugs – they are about 5mm in size, and have oval bodies that are flat. After feeding, they appear inflated. They are mahogany in color and become red-brown after feeding.
Bat bugs – they are also about 5mm in size, with oval bodies that are flat. After feeding, they appear inflated. They are beige in color and become dark brown after feeding.
A key difference in how they look is that bat bugs are hairier, and that their hair strands are longer. However, you wouldn’t be able to see this unless under magnification.
Bed bugs – they prefer to stay near their host, so you’ll find them in mattresses, box-springs, headboards, or in the general vicinity. However, they are also able to travel an impressive 20 feet to go from their hiding place to their feeding area.
Bat bugs – you may also find bat bugs in the same places as bed bugs, however since their preferred hosts are bats, you’ll find them wherever bats may be roosting in your house. That typically means attics, unused chimneys, or wall voids.
Bed bugs – prefer human blood, but will feed on other mammals absent a human host.
Bat bugs – prefer bat blood, but will feed on humans (or other mammals) absent a bat host. However, it is thought that they are only able to reproduce after feeding on bat’s blood.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
Bed bug bites are not considered dangerous but you will likely experience some degree of discomfort with inflammation and itchiness. Note that while they’re feeding, you’re likely not able to feel anything as they inject anesthetic into the bite wound. In rare cases, some people present no discomfort from bed bug bites at all.
Bat bug bites are similar to that of a bed bug’s and they are not known to transmit any diseases. However, if you have bat bugs then you likely have bats roosting in the area. Bats can carry bacteria and viruses which can be very harmful to people and their pets.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?
Bed bug elimination is often a tedious process and involves disrupting their reproductive cycle. Learn more about bed bugs and what you can do about them on our Bed Bug Archives.
Bat bug elimination means you’ll have to get rid of any bats roosting in the area and disinfecting the area afterward. Be sure to seal possible entry points by sealing cracks and crevices and installing screens so they don’t come back.
OTHER SMALL BUGS THAT MAY BE MISTAKEN FOR BED BUGS
While bed bugs and bat bugs look very similar, a number of other small bugs may also be mistaken for bed bugs, including the following:
- Carpet beetles
- Cockroach nymphs
For any assistance with a pest infestation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a pest control company.
Many people commonly confuse flea bites and bed bug bites, and with a lot of people not knowing the difference between fleas and bed bugs themselves, it’s easy to see why.
You’ve probably been bitten by something you weren’t sure of before, and you may be even reading this blog entry because you’re trying to identify a bite – well, we’re happy to tell you all about it.
First, let’s discuss a few key differences between the two.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
- Fleas are very small, ranging between 0.05 to 0.13 inches or 1.5mm to 3.5mm in size.
- They’re reddish-brown in color, and have vertically flattened bodies.
- Looking at a flea from right above it would show you how narrow and slender they are. This helps them maneuver between their host’s (our pet’s) hair or fur. Looking at them from the side, they would appear to have oval-shaped bodies.
- They have 6 legs, with the last rear pair of legs much longer than the others. When jumping, they’re capable of a height of up to 7 inches vertically, and 13 inches horizontally.
- They have antennae slightly behind their eyes, but these cannot be seen without magnification.
- Bed bugs are also very small, at 0.09 to 0.18 inches or 2.5mm to 4.5mm in size.
- They have brownish in color that appear to be reddish and inflated after feeding.
- Looking at a bed bug from right above it would show you they have oval-shaped bodies. Looking at them from the side, they would appear to have flat bodies (that are inflated after feeding).
- They have 6 legs, with no significant difference in length between all pairs of legs.
- They have 2 antennae.
HOW CAN I TELL IF IT’S A FLEA BITE OR A BED BUG BITE?
- Flea bites may look like small clusters of red spots
- People typically get bitten by fleas from their pests, and flea bites generally occur in the feet and lower legs. However, they may also bite you in the other areas of your body, especially in folds of skin such as armpits
- They may be immediately itchy
- These bites may be small red spots that are firm and have a slight swelling around them
- Bed bugs typically come out to feed on you while you sleep during the night, and these bites may appear in the exposed areas of your skin such as legs, arms, and neck. However, they can bite you in other areas too such as your chest and back.
- Bed bug bites may not feel immediately itchy, because they actually inject saliva that contain anticoagulants and anesthetic – this is so their hosts continue sleeping while bed bugs feed on them for a few minutes.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THESE BITES?
Wash the bite area with soap and water. If it itches, apply a topical anti-itch cream. Note that hot water may worsen itching, so avoid hot showers or baths until the bites clear. If the bites don’t clear up on their own after a few weeks, get in touch with a medical professional.
If you suspect an allergic reaction, take an antihistamine. Seek medical attention right away for more severe reactions such as a severe rash, blisters, nausea, fever, difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue, or an irregular heartbeat.
If you have a bed bugs, fleas, or other pest infestations, get in touch with a professional pest control service right away.
How Do You Know If You have Bedbugs?
Small bites that are itchy all over your body may seem like a telltale sign –however, bites from bedbugs may look quite similar to those from other small insects, and they may even look like rashes or hives. Many people present no physical reaction to bedbugs at all, so it’s best to inspect your bed regularly to find signs that there may be creatures other than you occupying your bed.
Bedbugs tend to leave stains where they live – these stains may be blood from a crushed bedbug, or if the stain smears, there is a good chance it is bedbug excrement. If you find any unexplained stain on your sheets or pillowcases, carefully inspect your bed – from the underside of the mattress, seams and tags, to the headboard and any cracks in the bed’s frame.
They are about the size of an apple seed, have flat bodies, and are brownish in color. If it has recently fed, it would look more swollen and reddish. They may also leave tiny eggshells about 1mm in size, and tiny yellow flakes of skin that they’ve shed.
Bedbugs aren’t just confined to your bed – they can also be found on couches, chairs, cushions, curtains and the like. If a room is heavily infested, you will find them in a myriad of other places like loose wallpaper, wall hangings, appliances, and electrical receptacles.
While they prefer to stay where they can readily feed on you, like on the bed itself, they are willing to travel up to 20 feet from where they hide to where they can feed and back.
If you frequently travel and stay in hotels or other places often, you may be more prone to having bedbugs in your home, as they love to hitch a ride on your clothes and luggage – so be doubly vigilant.
Bedbugs are certainly a nightmare. If you happen to encounter some of these tiny creatures, you will certainly have some itchy spots the next day. Now, what are bedbugs and how do we identify them? Keep on reading to find out more information on these insidious little insects.
Why are there so many?
Bedbugs are small, brown and elusive. Usually, they are not bigger than an apple seed. It’s not easy to see them unless they bite you. These insects usually suck the blood of animals until they find some unsuspecting person to bite. Fortunately, they cannot fly, though this does not make these bugs less annoying. They are incredibly quick when crawling over floors and beds of course.
In regards to their mating habits, females can lay a large number of eggs in very little time. These eggs are so small that it’s almost impossible for a person to see them. Once they are born, nymphs develop very fast: in only a month they are ready to lay eggs themselves. This makes it even harder for us humans to get rid of these nuisance pests. The only good thing is that they do not transmit any known diseases.
Where can I find them?
Unfortunately, bed bugs can enter your home through your clothes, suitcases, and by other means. They are so tiny that they can fit into virtually any space. Mattresses and bed frames are their favorite spots. This way they can have easy access to people whom they can bite. If they are not eliminated in time, they can scatter all over the bedroom and the house.
What happens when they bite?
Their main period of activity is night time. They prefer their victims to be asleep, and they feed on them over a period ranging from 3 to 9 minutes. Then, they go away without being noticed.
Their bites are not painful, which is nice considering that they are incredibly itchy. Almost 75% will develop a rash after being bitten, and 80% will have some kind of reaction.
All in all, what makes these pests so horrible is that they annoy us in the place where we should feel the most comfortable: our own beds. We are completely defenseless when we rest. These bugs should have the decency to at least let us sleep unmolested. Call for a professional pest control company right away when you spot these pests in your home.