How To Distinguish 10 Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

How To Tell If It's A Bed Bug Or A Different Bug

Are you noticing tiny black bugs in bed and worried they might be bed bugs? Before you panic, it's essential to identify the insects correctly. While bed bugs are a common concern, there are several bugs that resemble bed bugs but pose different risks and require different treatment approaches. These look-alikes, such as carpet beetles, spider beetles, booklice, cockroach nymphs, and bat bugs, can often be mistaken for bed bugs due to their similar appearance.

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs
Bed Bug

However, each of these insects has distinct characteristics and behaviors that differentiate them from actual bed bugs. Understanding these differences is crucial for effective pest management and ensuring the appropriate treatment is applied. If you suspect an infestation, it's best to contact a professional pest control service for accurate identification and tailored solutions to address the specific pest issue in your home.

Identifying Bed Bugs:

Firstly, let's clarify what bed bugs look like. Adult bed bugs are oval-shaped and dark brown, similar in size and shape to an apple seed. They feed on human blood and can cause allergic reactions in some people. Signs of a bed bug infestation include red, itchy bites on the skin, blood stains on sheets, and small dark spots (fecal matter) on bedding.

Bugs That Can Be Mistaken for Bed Bugs:

Now, let's explore insects that look like bed bugs but aren't.

1. Carpet Beetles:

Carpet beetle larvae are often mistaken for bed bugs due to their small size and dark color. However, unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles do not bite humans. Instead, they feed on natural fibers, pet hair, and other organic materials found in carpets, upholstery, and clothing.

  • Distinguishing feature: Carpet beetle larvae are elongated and covered in bristles.
Carpet Beetle Larvae Or Bed Bugs?
Carpet Beetle Larvae

2. Spider Beetles:

These bugs resemble bed bugs in appearance but are harmless to humans. Spider beetles feed on a variety of foods, including grains, cereals, and dried fruits, rather than human blood.

  • Distinguishing feature: Spider beetles have a similar shape to bed bugs but lack the same flattened appearance.

3. Booklice (Psocids):

Found in damp, humid environments, booklice feed on mold, fungi, and starchy materials. While they may resemble bed bug nymphs, booklice have a softer, more translucent appearance.

  • Distinguishing feature: Booklice have a softer, more translucent appearance compared to bed bugs.

4. Cockroach Nymphs:

Immature cockroaches can sometimes be mistaken for bed bugs, especially if found in bedding. Cockroach nymphs are smaller and have a more elongated body shape compared to bed bugs.

  • Distinguishing feature: Cockroach nymphs have a more elongated body shape compared to bed bugs.

5. Bat Bugs:

Closely related to bed bugs, bat bugs are found in homes where bats have nested. They closely resemble bed bugs but may have longer hairs on their pronotum. Bat bugs typically feed on bats but may bite humans if bats are no longer present.

  • Distinguishing feature: Bat bugs have longer hairs on their pronotum compared to bed bugs.

6. Swallow Bugs:

Swallow bugs are similar in appearance to bed bugs but primarily infest bird nests. They can occasionally enter human dwellings but do not typically establish large infestations indoors.

  • Distinguishing feature: Swallow bugs have longer legs and narrower bodies compared to bed bugs.

7. Fleas:

Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of mammals, including humans and pets. They are often mistaken for bed bugs, especially if bites occur in clusters on the body.

  • Distinguishing feature: Fleas have laterally compressed bodies and are capable of jumping long distances.
Is It A Flea Or Bed Bugs?

8. Springtails:

These tiny, wingless insects thrive in damp environments and are often found indoors in areas with high humidity. They do not bite humans but may be mistaken for bed bugs if found in bedding or furnishings.

  • Distinguishing feature: Springtails have a unique appendage called a furcula that allows them to jump when threatened.

9. Ticks:

Ticks are arachnids that can transmit diseases to humans and pets through their bites. They are sometimes mistaken for bed bugs due to their small size and blood-feeding behavior.

  • Distinguishing feature: Ticks have a rounded body shape and are capable of expanding significantly when engorged with blood.

10. Mites:

Various species of mites can infest homes and cause skin irritation in humans. They are often mistaken for bed bugs due to their small size and ability to bite.

  • Distinguishing feature: Mites are microscopic and may not be visible to the naked eye, but they can cause visible skin irritation and itching.

Distinguishing Features:

To differentiate between bed bugs and look-alikes, pay attention to certain characteristics. While bed bugs have a distinct flattened oval shape, carpet beetle larvae are elongated and covered in bristles. Additionally, bed bugs are known for their propensity to feed on humans during the night, leaving behind itchy bite marks, whereas carpet beetles and spider beetles do not bite humans.

What do bed bug bites look like?

Bed bug bites often appear as small, red bumps on the skin, typically in clusters or a line. They may cause itching, swelling, and irritation. Some people may not have any reaction to bed bug bites, while others may experience more severe symptoms such as blistering or an allergic reaction. Bed bug bites are usually painless at first but may become itchy and inflamed over time.

What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed Bug Bites

It's important to note that bed bug bites can resemble bites from other insects, so it's essential to look for other signs of infestation, such as blood stains on sheets or fecal spots on bedding, to confirm the presence of bed bugs.

Prevention And Treatment For Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs:

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, it's crucial to take action promptly. Start by:

  • Thoroughly inspecting your bedding, upholstered furniture, and other potential hiding spots for signs of bed bugs.
  • Look for evidence such as fecal stains, shed skins, or actual bugs.
  • Contact Alta Pest Control to schedule a free inspection if you find evidence of an infestation that is not bed bugs.

Even though Alta Pest Control doesn't treat for bed bugs, many of these other bugs we do. Visit our pest library to learn more about the pests we treat and how we can help you maintain a pest-free environment in your home. Our experienced technicians are trained to identify a wide range of pests and provide effective treatment solutions tailored to your specific needs. By choosing Alta Pest Control, you can trust that your home will be in good hands, and we'll work diligently to exterminate any bugs that may be causing concern.

Moreover, our commitment to customer satisfaction extends beyond just extermination. We prioritize preventive measures to help you avoid future infestations of bugs that look like bed bugs. Our team will conduct a thorough inspection of your property to identify potential entry points and conducive conditions for pests. We'll then implement targeted strategies to fortify your home against invaders, giving you peace of mind knowing that your family's comfort and safety are protected.

If you're dealing with any of these bugs or other pests, make sure to contact Alta Pest Control right away to send a free inspector out and determine if they're bed bugs or not.

Free Inspection For Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs
Alta Pest Control Technician

While finding tiny black bugs in bed can be alarming, not all insects that look like bed bugs pose the same risks. By understanding the differences between bed bugs and their look-alikes, you can better identify and address potential infestations, ensuring a comfortable and pest-free living environment for you and your family. Trust Alta Pest Control to handle all your pest control needs with professionalism and expertise. Contact us today at (866) 201-7787 or by filling out a contact form on our website.


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As a family-owned business, Ardent Pest Control has been working together for the last 10 years to eliminate pests in peoples homes. In 2012, we set out on a mission to provide safe and effective pest control solutions for our clients. We are committed not only in the quality of service but also with sustainable practices that will help you save money over time while protecting your home or business from critters like cockroaches and termites!

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