Bat Bug vs Bed Bug: A Guide with Photos

When it comes to bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus), there’s a lot of confusion about which is which – and what to do if you find one. A bat bug vs bed bug will showcase key differences in both behaviors and looks.

Since bed bugs and bat bugs have differing behaviors, you must know which one you are dealing with to eliminate them properly.

Here’s a guide with photos to help clear things up.

Significant Differences Between a Bat Bug VS Bed Bug

There are plenty of significant differences between a bat bug and a bed bug. Here are some of the key ways to tell them apart:

Do Bed Bugs Look Like Bat Bugs?

It is possible to mistake a bed bug for a bat bug to an untrained eye. Over the years, we have had a few clients find bat bugs on their ceilings and walls. From a distance, they look similar, but we are here to help you figure out the differences.

Bat Bug vs Bed Bug Pictures: Bed Bugs vs Bat Bugs by Side

bat bug vs bed bug - Cimex adjunctus vs Cimex lectularius

What Do Bat Bugs Look Like?

bat bug has long hairs

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

bat bug vs bed bug (cimex pipistrelli vs cimex lectularius)

Location: Where Did You Find The Bug?

You’ll see bat bugs in more unusual places other than the beds, couches, and chairs.

You’ll see bed bugs and their bed bug poop in places close to where you spend a lot of time, but you may see them just about anywhere:

How Many Legs Do Bed Bugs vs Bat Bugs Have?

All life stages of bed bugs and bat bugs have six legs.

Size (Bat Bug vs Bed Bug)

What is the actual size of bat bugs?

Depending on what species of bat bug you find, most are between 3 mm and 6 mm.

What is the actual size of bed bugs? 

Bed bugs range in size from 2 mm to 6 mm. The size depends on their stage and when their last blood meal was. Baby bed bugs are closer to 2 mm, whereas adults will be 5 – 6 mm.

Are Bat Bugs or Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed Bugs: Are They Dangerous?

Bed bugs are not known to transmit any human diseases. However, their bites can cause allergic reactions in some people.

However, the trauma of a bed bug infestation can cause psychological distress. Some of the stress and anxiety from bed bugs can last a lifetime.

Bat Bugs: Are They Dangerous?

As for bat bugs, they are also not known to transmit any human diseases. However, because they closely resemble bed bugs, and their bites can cause allergic reactions in some, it is best to evict them as soon as possible.

While bed bugs are often more traumatizing than bat bugs, a bat bug issue can still be highly stressful. The good news is that even though the bat bugs can feed on human blood, they cannot reproduce without a bat host.

Life Cycle

Bed Bug Lifecycle

bed bug’s life stages are Egg Nymph Adult. After hatching from the egg, the nymphs go through 5 stages.

Bat Bug Lifecycle

Like the bed bug, the bat bugs also go from Egg Nymph to Adult. After baby bat bugs hatch from the egg, the nymphs undergo five stages before becoming an adult.

Color of a Bat Bug VS a Bed Bug

Both bed bugs and bat bugs are reddish-brown because they feed on blood. However, the unfed nymphs are more straw-colored.

bat bug vs bed bug (bat bugs are hairier)

What Do They Eat? (Bat Bugs vs Bed Bugs)

What do Bat Bugs eat?

The main source of food for bat bugs is the blood of various bats. They can feed on the blood of humans, pets, and other wildlife. However, if the bats leave the roost, then the bat bugs will crawl down, looking for another blood source.

What do Bed Bugs eat?

Bed bugs feed primarily on the blood of humans; however, they can also bite other animals, such as dogs, cats, and birds.

How Do They Travel?

Bed Bug vs Bat Bug: Travel

Both creatures can crawl and walk, but neither can fly or jump.

How Long Do They Live? (Bed Bug vs Bat Bug)

Most bat and bed bugs will persist for six months to a year. If the temperature is more relaxed, the bugs can survive for longer since they will conserve energy. Since both bugs breed year-round, you can have multiple generations born yearly.

Are They Active in the Daytime or Nighttime?

Both bed bugs and bat bugs are nocturnal creatures active at night. However, they will search for one during the daytime if they are hungry enough and need a blood meal.

How Long Does It Take a Bat Bug vs Bed Bugs Eggs To Hatch?

Bed Bug Eggs: How Long Does It Take for One To Hatch

Depending on the environment’s temperature, it takes a one-bed bug egg between 5 and 14 days to hatch. Check out some real-life images of bed bug eggs to help you ID them.

Bat Bug Eggs: How Long Does It Take for One To Hatch

Depending on the environmental conditions, a bat bug egg will hatch in as little as three days and as long as two weeks. The incubation period will depend on temperature conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for bed bugs will differ from treatment for bat bugs. Check out the top ways to treat each one.

Treatment for Bed Bugs:

There are many ways to treat bedbugs, but all methods will need a comprehensive plan of attack, which involves:

– Hiring a professional bed bug exterminator

– Using a good steamer for bed bugs

– Drying all of your fabric items in a high-heat dryer

– Installing properly fitting mattress and box spring covers for bed bugs

– Continuous monitoring and inspecting for signs

– Continually checking all of the places where bed bugs hide

Getting Rid of Bat Bugs

– Search for the bat’s roosting place

– You’ll need to remove the bats from your house

– Seal up cracks and crevices in your home

– Dry all fabrics on high heat

– Continuous monitoring and inspecting for fecal staining or bugs on the walls

Bat Bug vs Bed Bug Bites: What are the Differences?

First, let’s go over a similarity between bat bug vs bed bug bites: not all people react to bed bug or bat bug bites. Studies on these bugs and their biting habits have shown that at least 30% of humans do not respond to bed bug bites.

Regarding differentiating the differences between bat bug and bed bug bites, some get bites in a line, some have tiny dots, others have large welts, and then 30% do not react. When a bed bug or bat bug bites you, the red itchy spots are just an allergic reaction to the bed bug’s saliva.

So the thing to keep in mind is that you cannot diagnose if you have a bed bug or a bat bug based on the bites.

Ancedotal evidence suggests that bat bugs have a more painful bite.

What Are These Bed Bug-Like Bugs in My House?

Finding bugs that look like bed bugs in your home can be alarming. Some of the many bugs our clients’ mistake for bed bugs are bat bugs, bird bugs, latridiidae beetles, booklice, cockroach nymphs, and more.

Are Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs Related?

Yes, both bed bugs and bat bugs are in the family Cimicidae. There are more than 100 Cimicidae species. Most species in the bedbug family are associated with bats and birds rather than humans. 

The past phylogenetic analysis of bedbugs has said that bats were the ancestral host of the original bedbug family. However, scientists recently discovered that bed bugs were around before bats evolved. 150 million years ago is when the first breakoff bed bug species emerged.

You can read more about this and watch an excellent video on the evolution of bed bugs: Bedbugs Evolved before Their Bat Hosts and Did Not Co-speciate with Ancient Humans by (Steffen Roth, Ondřej Balvín, Michael T. Siva-Jothy, Osvaldo Di Iorio, Petr Benda, Omar Calva, Eduardo I. Faundez, Faisal Ali Anwarali Khan, Mary McFadzen, Margie P. Lehnert, Richard Naylor, Nikolay Simov, Edward H. Morrow, Endre Willassen, Klaus Reinhardt)

Did You Find a Flat Bug and Are Not Sure if It’s a Bat Bug or a Bed Bug?

If you find a flat bug that looks like a bed bug, it may be a bat bug, a tropical bed bug, a swallow bug, or some other species of a bed bug. The best thing to do is to send it to an entomologist and get it ID’d.

Final Thoughts for Bat Bug vs Bed Bug

If you have found a bed bug or bat bug in your home, it’s essential to identify which one it is as soon as possible. Armed with the knowledge of how to tell a bat bug vs a bed bug apart and what attracts them, you can take the steps necessary to get rid of them for good. Feel free to reach out to our experts with any questions you may have.