10 bugs mistaken for bed bugs

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Bed bugs are usually mistaken for some other bugs. This is because all those insects living in the house resemble each other.

So, what are the differences between bed bugs and other bugs? Which bugs are commonly mistaken for bed bugs?

What is a bed bug?

a bed bug feeding

Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped and blood-fed insects. For more information, you can check this article that we posted before: bedbugdetected.com/what-is-bed-bug-and-how-it-lives/

Basic physical features of bed bugs are below:

  • They are 1 to 5 mm length in average
  • They are oval-shaped
  • Their bodies are flat
  • They don’t have wings
  • They have 6 legs and 2 antennas
  • Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown

I know, those features I have specified above are eligible for other bugs too. Then let’s make it clearer:

  • They can’t fly
  • They can’t jump
  • They move fast

Not enough for these features? So, let’s define other bugs and understand what a bed bug looks like completely. You can also check this article: bedbugdetected.com/what-do-bed-bugs-look-like-to-the-human-eye

1- Spiders vs bed bugs

close view of a spider

I believe that most people already know about spiders. Even so, I will give information about this bug:

  • 1 cm -40 cm length
  • Oval-shaped
  • 4 pairs of legs (8 in total)
  • No wings

It’s hard to mistaken spiders for bed bugs, because they are different in features.

How to differentiate:

First way of this is to count their legs. Spiders have 8 legs and bed bugs have 6 in total.  Spiders can occur all day, but bed bugs usually occur at nights.

Bed bugs are close to the sleeping areas, spiders hide in everywhere including toilets or bathrooms.

While bed bug bites are itchy, spider bites are typically painful.

2- Fleas vs bed bugs

a flea with eggs

Fleas are parasites which feed by blood. They usually feed by the bloods of pets like birds, dogs or cats.

  • Up to 3 mm length
  • Without wings
  • They have 6 legs
  • They have antennas.
  • They have a flat body
  • Excellent jumpers

How to differentiate:

They are both blood-fed insects, but while fleas prefer feeding on hairy animals like dogs or cats, bed bugs usually prefer feeding on you!

Bed bugs can’t jump, fleas can jump 200 times their length. They are similar in color and shape, while fleas are a more oval-shaped and skinner, rather than flatter.

Bed bugs hide in cracks, holes, furniture, clothes or beds. Fleas are more likely to be found near the pets or sleeping areas of your pets.

3- Cockroaches vs bed bugs

a brown cockroach

Cockroaches are one of the most common visitors of our houses. We usually see them while walking fast from one place to another in our kitchens.

Basic features of cockroaches are below:

  • 20 to 80 mm length
  • Oval-shaped and flat bodies
  • Have 4 wings
  • Reddish-brown or black colored
  • Have three pairs of legs (6 in total)

Adult cockroaches are clearly different from bed bugs with their size and it’s the recently hatched cockroaches which are mistaken for bed bugs.

How to differentiate:

The basic difference between cockroaches and bed bugs is the antennas of the cockroach. Cockroaches have long antennas extending forward. They also have wings, while bed bugs don’t.

Cockroach nymphs are more similar to bed bugs, because they don’t have wings. But you can still define a cockroach with its long antenna.

4- Ticks vs bed bugs

close view of a tick

Ticks are little arachnids which feed by bloods of animals and human. They are infectious for a lot of diseases to animals and people.

Basic features of ticks are below:

  • 1 to 5 mm length
  • Flat and oval-shaped body
  • Reddish-brown color
  • Adults have 8 and nymphs have 6 legs

How to differentiate:

Main difference between those insects is where they wander. While a tick prefers to live outdoor in grassy or woody areas, bed bug live indoors.

In addition to their living areas, adult ticks have 8 legs and bed bugs have only 6 legs.

5- Carpet beetles vs bed bugs

a dark carpet bettle

Carpet beetles live in the carpets or old furniture. They feed by flowers and pollens. Some physical features of carpet beetles are below:

  • 1 to 4 mm length
  • Oval-shaped
  • White, black, orange or yellow colored
  • 6 legs and 1 antenna
  • A pair of wings

How to differentiate:

There are hundreds of species for carpet beetles. Most common carpet beetles have hard outer shell and while carpet beetles have wings, bed bugs don’t have any.

6- Swallow bugs vs bed bugs

a swallow bug

Swallow bugs are a kind of true bugs and closely related to bed bugs. They are almost the same with bed bugs.

  • They have 6 legs
  • Oval-shaped bodies
  • No wings
  • 1 to 5 mm length
  • Reddish-brown colored

The only physical difference between a swallow bug and a bed bug is that swallow bug is covered in longer hair.

How to differentiate:

Swallow bugs and bed bugs are cousins. Main food source of a swallow bug is a swallow. That’s why you can usually find them near windows, because they are more likely to live outdoor for feeding on swallows.

As I told above, although they are closely like bed bugs, you can difference it from bed bugs with long hair covered.

7- Lice vs bed bugs

a lice sucking blood

Head lice are arthropods and they require a blood source to survive. They are blood-fed insects. Features of an adult lice are below:

  • 2 to 4 mm length
  • Wingless
  • 6 short legs
  • Flat body
  • Grey, black, red or brown colored

They settle into the head of a human and don’t leave it until they grow fully.

How to differentiate:

While bed bugs spend most of their times away from their food sources, lice prefer to keep living on their sources like a human’s head.

Lice are smaller than adult bed bugs. While color of a lice is grey or transparent, bed bugs are darker colored like reddish brown or black.

8- Mites vs bed bugs

close view of a mite

Mites are arthropods too and they can live in various habitats like water, soil, animals or human. Some studies shoe that there are almost 50.000 different species of mites. Some features of mite are below:

  • 0,1 mm to 4 mm length (Often microscopic size)
  • Four pair of legs

Mites do not look like bed bugs, but their bites are similar to bed bug bites.

How to differentiate:

There are more than 40.000 species of mites which makes it hard to define them clearly. But most mites are not invisible to human eye because of their size.

While bed bugs are insects and have 6 legs and antennas, mites are arachnids and have 8 legs with no antennas.

9- Bat bugs vs bed bugs

a bat bug and a bed bug near to each other

As their names look similar, their appearance is similar too. It’ s almost impossible to distinguish bat bugs and bed bugs from each other.

Because bat bugs belong to the same scientific family with the bed bugs. They feed on the bloods of mammalians too. Their main food source is bats.

Some studies claim that the bed bugs originally come from bat bugs which used to live in caves in old times.

Without a trained professional it’s not going to be easy to define a bat bug, but the main difference is that bat bug’s hair length is longer than bed bug’s hair.

How to differentiate:

As I told above, they are almost the same, except their hair. Bat bug’s hair is much longer than bed bug’s hair.

10- Weevils vs bed bugs

a photo of weevil at home on the floor

Weevils are beetles which have more than 90.000 species and up to 6 mm length. Physical features of weevils are below:

  • Brownish or black colored
  • Have long and big snouts
  • A pair of antennas

How to differentiate:

The best way to identify a weevil is to look at it’s head. They will have long snouts on their heads which bed bug don’t.

For more information about bed bugs, please check these posts too:

bedbugdetected.com/natural-remedies-for-bed-bugs

bedbugdetected.com/can-bed-bugs-make-you-sick

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