When you wake to find small bugs in your mattress or bug bites on your body, bed bugs might be the first pests that come to mind. Did you know that it's easy to mistake other pests for bed bugs at first glance? Bat bugs are one of these other pests. Although they have similarities to bed bugs, bat bags are very different.
About Bat Bugs
These insects are members of the Cimicidae family and relatives of bed bugs. It's quite normal to have never heard of bat bugs. They aren't exactly a frequent pest problem, but they can end up in homes on an occasion. Although their bites don't spread diseases, they carry pathogens on their bodies. For that reason, you want to get them out of your home as soon as possible.
Bat bugs might not look different from bed bugs to the untrained eye, but there are key differences in their appearance. In general, they both have oval bodies and are about the same size. Bat bugs can be up to 5 millimeters long, and bed bugs can grow up to 6 millimeters long. Both insects swell from flat to fat immediately after feeding, so their bodies can appear red.
However, bat bugs are more beige or dark brown, while bed bugs are more red or mahogany brown. Also, the hairs on bat bugs are longer and greater in number. Despite that, it still takes a microscope to tell because of their small size.
These two insects suck the blood of mammals, but they don't prefer the same types. While bed bugs prefer humans, bat bugs preter bats, especially little and big brown bats. In fact, bat bugs can't reproduce without bat blood. However, they could feed on humans when no bats are around.
Neither bat bugs or bed bugs go far from their meals. Bed bugs, for instance, hide in headboards, mattresses and other furniture or fixtures. Then, they emerge at night to feed while you sleep. Bat bugs sometimes show up in these places too, as well as on ceilings.
However, that's a sign that there are bats somewhere in your house, usually the attic. They can also establish colonies in unused chimneys and wall voids. This is a problem because bats carry and spread diseases such as rabies to humans. Even the feces that they leave behind can spread disease. Histoplasmosis, for example, can be fatal without proper treatment.
Pest Control Differences
Since bat bugs and bed bugs have different behaviors and habitats, they require different pest control methods. Professionals can eliminate bed bugs by disrupting their reproductive cycle, which requires extensive management. They can eliminate bat bugs by getting rid of any bats in the home and then disinfecting the areas where they colonized.
Contact Terminix West Michigan today for a free quote.