Bat Bug vs. Bed Bug

Bed bugs and bat bugs are strikingly similar in the way they look, feed, and reproduce, but they are in fact different.

a bed bug on the carpet

Bat Bug (Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,


Have you seen a bug crawling around your bed that resembles a bed bug? Maybe you woke up to find a red mark on your skin that looks like a bed bug bite? Well, it could be that you do have bed bugs, but it’s possible you’ve mistaken it for another pest; like bat bugs.

It is not easy to differentiate between a bed bug and a bat bug because of their possible family relationship. Their body shapes and color are almost identical. According to studies, the theory is that when originally early mankind were living in caves there were no bed bugs, but rather bat bugs. Inside of the caves bat bugs fed on the blood of bats and early people. 

When the people moved out of the caves they carried along bat bugs on their bodies, and they later developed into bed bugs. Most likely because they had to feed exclusively on human blood then. 

Bed bugs and bat bugs crawl, feed, and reproduce almost in the same ways, but still they are different. The following are some of the major differences between bed bugs and bat bugs:


Bed Bug

Bed Bug

A Bat Bug’s Body Appearance

Despite their development to their respective species, bat bugs and bed bugs appear similar that their body feature differences can only be established using a microscope. 

That’s why only a trained pest control expert will be able to accurately tell if the bugs that you are seeing in your home are actually bed bugs or bat bugs.  When viewed under a microscope, a bat bug is seen having longer hair in its thorax as compared to a bed bug.


Where Can You Find Bat Bugs

Location is another thing that distinguishes bed bugs from bat bugs. Bed bugs are mostly found in areas near their hosts (human beings), and some of such places include beneath mattresses, along with the edges of headboards, in a closet near your bed and any other furniture in proximity with your resting area.

On the other hand, since bat bugs primarily feed on bats, they’re mostly found in the harboring grounds of the hosts. Such places include the attics, ceilings and on walls. 

Nevertheless, in case there are no bats, bat bugs will attack people as alternative sources of blood. For that reason, they may also come near or to your bed although that happens in rare cases.


a bat bug on a black background

Bat Bug (Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ,

What Do Bat Bugs Eat

Although bat bugs and bed bugs are blood-suckers, their favorite hosts are different. The favorite host for bed bugs is a human being. On the other hand, bat bugs prefer to suck blood from bats, especially big brown and little brown species. 

However, after being left behind by their host bats and cannot find any other bat to suck blood from, bat bugs have to option but to feed on the blood of other mammals such as human beings for their survival.


Bat Bugs Control Methods

The elimination of bed bugs involves altering their reproductive cycle through extensive pest management.  For instance, the disruption of the life cycle can be done using carbon dioxide’s cooling properties, killing all the present live bed bugs and their eggs. 

Heat treatment, which involves subjecting bed bugs to extremely high-temperature conditions, and fumigation are also options for bed bug extermination.

When it comes to bat bugs, their elimination is not as demanding as bed bug control. Once their presence is confirmed, the best treatment for a bat bug infestation is the elimination of all the bats in the building. 

Once that is done, all the exterior entry points should then be sealed to prevent a come-back of bats and the bugs. Having done that, you’ll rest assured that your home is safe from bat bug infestations.

The understanding of differences between bat bugs and bedbugs is essential for the determination of the correct method to use for their elimination.

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