Bat Bugs: Information, Pictures, Guides and Facts
You’ve undoubtedly heard of bed bugs, but did you know there’s related species that is almost impossible to differentiate with the glance of an eye? Bat bugs are similar to bed bugs but occupy their own branch of this critter family.
Facts, Identification, and Control
Do bat bugs bite humans? Yes, they can. We aren’t their favorite meal, but these insects will bite if they are in your home with no other alternative.
What Does the Bat Bug Look Like?
These two insects look strikingly similar in appearance, but bed bugs have longer fringe hairs on the upper portion of their thorax. Bat bugs are generally oval-shaped with a brownish hue to their small bodies. They can grow about three-eighths of an inch in length on average.
Facts about Bat Bugs
Where Do They Live?
Bat bugs typically live in caves or wherever bats dwell, as these insects often feed on bats while they are sleeping.
The Eastern bat bug has some prevalence in the Midwest and up through the eastern portion of the United States, as well as Scotland.
You might be wondering how bat bugs are a problem if they live in caves. These parasites become an issue for humans because they can travel on bats when they fly out of their dwellings. Sometimes bats will take up residence in a human home, even undetected, such as in an attic.
What Do They Eat?
Bat bug, bed bugs, either one can bite a human. Bat bugs feed mostly on bats, but if they find their way into a human home, they will bite if they need to feed. The bites of bat bugs look like those of bed bugs, too, making it further challenging to tell the difference.
You will usually need to capture one and have a professional look at it or use a magnifying glass or microscope while comparing the insect with a bat bugs picture to see which type of infestation you have.
How Did I Get Bat Bugs?
If you are sure that you have bat bugs (not bed bugs), the most likely culprit is that a bat has a way into your house. Even if you’ve never spotted a bat inside, they might have a hideout in an attic or chimney, and if they bring bat bugs with them, they can get into your home.
The trouble is, bat bugs can live a long time without a meal—up to a full year. So, even if a bat slipped in a long time ago and has since moved on, you could be left with these tiny unwelcome insects.
Do Bat Bugs Need Bats to Reproduce?
Can bat bugs reproduce without bats? So far, science says no, bat bugs cannot reproduce without their typical hosts, bats. However, they can feed on humans, even though we are not their meal of choice.
How Serious are Bat Bug Problems?
Signs of bat bugs are primarily tiny bite marks, or even specks of blood when you get up from your sheets or furniture. You can crush bat bugs unknowingly, as they are small, but if you see small bites or spots of blood, you could have either bed bugs or bat bugs. If a bat was in your home recently, but you have not traveled anywhere to get bed bugs, you may have bat bugs in your house.
The bites from bat bugs can also cause an itching sensation in some individuals. They are not known to transmit diseases among humans the way bed bugs potentially can, but any parasite or holds the potential for germs or infections through bites.
What Can I Do about Bat Bugs?
Bat bugs can be challenging to eradicate because they are a bit sneakier than bed bugs. Locating them can be difficult, and usually requires professional extermination.
Signs of a Bat Bug Infestation?
The two primary signs of a bat bug infestation are tiny bites or specks of blood, similar to that of bed bugs, and the presence of bats—even if temporary—in your house, attic, or empty walls.
Bat Bug Prevention and Control tips
Control tip #1
In most states, killing bats is illegal, and bats do a lot to help the ecosystem as well as consume a large number of insects. So, you don’t want to exterminate bats with chemicals or poisons.
Instead, the goal is to remove bats from your home and seal yourself off from any potential re-entry. All openings a bat could infiltrate should get sealed off, cracks filled, and screens kept in place on all windows, doors, and chimneys.
Control tip #2
Identifying bat bugs will be your next course of action, as many treatments for bed bugs do not work as effectively on bat bugs. If you captured one, you would have to check it with magnification, but it is best to have a professional confirm this for you.
Control tip #3
Keep sheets, laundry, pillows, and furniture exceptionally clean. Vacuum furniture, and distribute some Diatomaceous Earth in any areas bat bugs could travel (use a dust mask).
Bat Bug Professional Pest Control
In most cases, if you have a lot of bat bugs, you will need a professional to exterminate the infestation. Bed bug control does not always work as well with bat bugs. If you tried Diatomaceous Earth and still see bite marks after a week, call pest control.