If you are trying to figure out whether or not you have termites or bed bugs, we can help. Termites and bed bugs are quite different and have different behaviors.
Termites eat wood, while bed bugs do not. You can find termites in wooden structures such as walls, floors, and furniture. They feed on the cellulose contained in these materials, which is why they are typically found inside homes.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, feed on human blood. Although bed bugs live on wood, they don’t eat it. You typically find them near areas where people sleep, such as mattresses, bed frames, and headboards.
There are many types of termites like Drywood termites, Subterranean termites, Dampwood termites, and Formosan, to name a few. In this article, we won’t be referring to any specific type of termite unless we specify.
Photo of Bed Bugs vs Termites
Size (Termites vs Bed Bugs)
The average adult bed bug is approximately 5-6 mm long. However, the baby bed bugs range from 1.5mm to 5mm.
Queen – Several inches (60-80mm).
Workers – About 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in length (6mm to 9.5mm).
Soldiers – About 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch in length, but they have a larger head (6mm to 9.5mm).
Reproductive – 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch (6mm to 9.5mm).
Winged Reproductive (swarmer)- 1/4 to 3/8 inch (6mm to 9.5mm).
King – 1/2 to 1 inch long (12.7mm to 25.4mm).
A just-hatched bed bug nymph is translucent to straw-colored. Once the 1st instar feeds on blood, it will remain reddish brown into adulthood.
A termite will range from tan, yellow, red, and brown.
Life Cycle (Termites vs Bed Bugs)
The baby bed bug will hatch from an egg ➡️ 5 stages of nymphs ➡️ adult.
Termite life cycle:
Like bed bugs, termites will go through 3 life stages: egg ➡️ Several stages of nymphs ➡️ adult.
The number of nymph stages will depend on which caste member a termite will become. No matter what type of termite a nymph turns into, all nymphs will look identical at first. It’s the Queen’s role to emit pheromones that cause each termite to molt into whatever form is best for the colony’s needs.
Can Termites Get In Your Bed?
Although termites can get in your bed, the good news is that they are not blood-sucking parasites like bed bugs. It’s essential to be aware of the signs of a bed bug infestation vs a termite infestation so you can take the proper steps toward elimination. It’s the worker termites that people might see in their beds, as they are the ones that are out munching and burrowing.
Termites feed on cellulose, which is plant fiber. Cellulose is what wood is made from, but it’s also in cotton, linen, and wool. If your bed is near a wall, joists, or wooden support beams, the termites can quickly move onto munch your bed frame.
Termites can cause a lot of structural damage in a home. The costly damage is why getting rid of them as quickly as possible is essential. If you suspect termites are munching on your bed frame, doing a full termite inspection in your home is necessary.
The best way to prevent a termite infestation is by ensuring your home is free from sources of moisture, such as leaking pipes and broken gutters.
It would help if you regularly inspect your wooden furniture, walls, and structural beams for any signs of termites or other wood-damaging insects, like carpenter ants. Learn more about the differences between carpenter ants vs termites here.
Can Termites Live in Your Mattress?
If your bed is near a termite colony, the workers may get into your mattress and begin feeding themselves on the cellulose. Check for any damp walls or rotting wood near your bed.
If your mattress is all foam-like Purple, then chances are termites will not be able to live in it. However, if you have a mattress made of organic cotton or wool, it might become a home for termites.
Can Bed Bugs Live in Your Mattress?
Yes, bed bugs can live in your mattress if there is a hole to crawl in. Many mattresses have grommet holes on the side or a mesh area on the bottom. Furthermore, these openings give a bed bug access to the inside of a mattress.
In most cases, a bed bug harbors on the outside of your mattress, box spring, and furniture.
What Do Bed Bugs vs Termites Eat?
Bed bugs are blood-feeding parasites that need the blood of animals. They cannot survive without blood, but these little monsters can stay for quite some time between meals. Learn the answer to “how long can bed bugs live without food? And what unfed bed bugs look like.
Termites eat wood and other hardy plant fibers like cotton and anything with cellulose. Above all, they prefer to eat wood that has a higher cellulose content. There are protozoa within the termite’s digestive tract that help them break down the cellulose. Not only that, but they also have enzymes and bacteria specific for breaking down cellulose.
How Long Do They Live?
How long do bed bugs live? Typically a bed bug will only live for about six to eight months. However, it’s essential to remember that they can last up to a year.
The worker and soldier termites will live for 1-2 years. Whereas some species of termites, the Queen, can live up to 50 years! The more common eastern subterranean termites have a Queen that can live up to 30 years.
Yes, you heard that right, one Queen living under your house could cause damage for decades! This is why it’s so important to do regular termite inspections.
How Do They Travel? (Bed Bugs vs Termites)
Bed bugs travel by walking from place to place. Do bed bugs jump? No, a bed bug cannot jump or fly. However, you can carry a bed bug from place to place on your clothing, luggage, backpacks, or shoes.
Termites walk from place to place, and some species have caste members who can fly. If you see a flying termite, its a most likely a reproductive swarmer. We call the subterranean termites with wings “swarmers” because they fly in groups looking to start a new colony.
Once the Queen is a few inches in size, she will not resemble the other termites in her colony. Notably, the termite Queen does not move; the Queen will spend her life underground breeding.
More importantly, this is why they are a common basement bug. Her main goal is to provide nutrients to the offspring.
Do They Bite?
Bed Bugs vs Termites: Do They Bite?
Bed bugs bite us, but they do not have chewing mouthparts. A bed bug uses a siphon tube to draw out blood. But do bed bugs bite every night? No, a single bed bug will only bite every 4-7 days.
Termites vs Bed Bugs: Do they Bite?
Termites are not known for biting people; conversely, they bite and feed on wood and other plant materials. They are not insects that feed on blood, so they have no reason to bite humans. If you have a severe termite infestation chewing on your bed frame, you may accidentally have one bite you.
Are They Nocturnal?
Yes, bed bugs are nocturnal, and they typically come out to feed at night. They may also become active if disturbed during the daytime.
Did you know termites do not sleep? They munch on wood and cellulose 24/7! Termites are not nocturnal or diurnal but tend to be more active in dark places and areas of high humidity. However, they are active both day and night and are one organism that does not require sleep.
Treatment for Bed Bugs vs Termites
Bed bug treatment does not involve baits. Instead, by using heat, cryonite, chemicals, powders, or fungus, most treatments will kill them on contact or slowly over time. Some treatment methods like Aprehend (fungus) rely on the bed bugs picking up the fungal spores, slowly killing them and their relatives.
Most termite specialist companies will use termite baits composed of cellulose-type material laced with poison. Baits and routine inspections are the more common way to deal with termites.
Help! What To Do If You Find Termites in Your Bedroom
Termites are not known to infest beds, but if you find them in your bedroom, it is crucial to take steps immediately. If you see a swarm of termites, you’ll need to eliminate them by directly killing them and using baits. Once termites establish a colony, they can cause significant damage to wood and other materials in the home – including furniture, walls, floors, and even structural beams.
Regardless the first step is to identify which type of termite is present. Commonly found in the home are Formosan termites and eastern subterranean termites. Above all, knowing the species is essential, as it helps professionals determine the best treatment plan.
It’s also essential to reduce any sources of moisture in your bedroom that may be appealing to these insects. Use dehumidifiers and fans to reduce moisture levels and seal any water leaks or drainage issues.
Additionally, remove any potential food sources for the termites, such as paper and cardboard. Finally, make sure to contact a professional exterminator to assess the extent of your infestation and develop an effective control plan.
Final Thoughts for Bed Bugs vs Termites – What’s the Difference?
There are many anatomical and behavioral differences between bed bugs and termites. Furthermore, bed bugs are parasite insects and feed on human blood, while termites are wood-eating insects that cannot feed on humans. Bed bugs bite every 4-7 days, but termites do not bite people – they mainly eat wood and other plant materials. Additionally, bed bugs are nocturnal, while termites are active day and night.