Bat Bugs vs. Bed Bugs

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Keith's Pro Tips

"Pest-proofing your home and regular maintenance of yard with pruning, mowing, and quarterly applications of Supreme IT prevents bats from roosting. By eliminating these factors, bat bugs are less likely to be carried into your home by bats."

Bat Bugs vs. Bed Bugs

This page is a general guide that distinguishes the differences between bat bugs and bed bugs. Both of these pests should not directly be contacted nor should furniture be moved until bed bugs are eliminated. To remove bat bugs and bed bugs from your home then follow the links within this DIY guide and use the recommended products for complete control.

For some homeowners, they have an unfortunate association with bed bugs. With their ability to hide deep within interior walls, voids, and ability to quickly multiply makes them a hard pest to eliminate. However, despite homeowners long term battle with bed bugs their is another species of pests some homes may encounter, which is the bat bug.

Like their relatives, bat bugs will hitch-hike into homes by attaching themselves onto bats then traveling off these animals into areas where they roost. Eventually, some bats can find their way into your homes chimneys, attics, and basements. Belonging to same scientific family Cimicidae, bat bugs and bed bugs have key differences in habitat, food source, and some features.

An important distinction of bat bugs is their lack of insecticide resistant mutations, likely because these pests have not been consistently exposed to pesticide treatments like bed bugs. Read on to learn more about bat bugs and bed bugs in order to effectively eliminate them from your home by following the tips and products suggested throughout this DIY guide.


Bed Bug and Bat Bug

Before you can proceed with a treatment approach, you will need to know what the physical differences are between a bed bug and bat bug. Misidentification can lead you to using the wrong products or unnecessary treatments, which can be a waste of your time and money.

For a physical reference, examine the image above. On the left is the bed bug and on the right is a bat bug. Due to the strong resemblance between these two pests, a microscope or magnifying lens may be necessary.


  • Bed bugs are tiny, blood-sucking insects that range between 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch in length. Both the bed bug and the bat bug are brown and have a flat, oval shape almost like apple seeds.
  • Six legs that help the bat bug or bed bug to crawl from one location to another.
  • Short, broad heads with a pair of antennae.
  • After these pests ingest blood, its body becomes more elongated and reddish.


  • The most noticeable difference between bed bugs and bat bugs is that the bat bug has longer fringe hairs on its body and close to its head than the bed bug.


Bed Bug and Bat Bugs Habitats

Though most people will be unable to tell bed bugs and bat bugs apart by looks alone, its easier to tell the differentiate between the two by observing their different habits and habitats. Bed bugs and bat bugs both feed on blood from warm-blooded animals.

While bed bugs prefer to feed on people, bat bugs will prefer to feed on bats whenever possible. They will feed on other animals if they need to, but bat bugs will not be able to reproduce without bats.

Bat bugs often find their way into homes when bats have nested in attics, wall voids, chimneys, or other secluded areas. Unlike ticks and fleas, bat bugs will travel away from their hosts to hide in nearby cracks and crevices close to where the bats roost. If the bats were to be absent for a long period of time, the bat bug will travel from their hiding spots to feed on any other animals they may be able to find.

In contrast to bat bugs, bed bugs infest lower ground areas such as in mattress tufts and folds, in bed frames, behind picture frames, underneath and inside of electronics, underneath furniture, or behind electrical plates. Since bed bugs are small they can travel to and from each room through shared ventilation and wall spaces. When looking for bed bugs, look for any blood stains, droppings, or smears on your bedding, blankets, pillows, and mattress.

Signs of Infestation

Bed Bug Bite

Bed bugs are usually most active at night due to the amount of time people sleep in their beds, providing an easy meal. However, if you sleep during the day and not at night then bed bugs will emerge from their hiding spots to feed. Bat bugs are not particularly known for specific feeding times, but can come out during the day or night to feed on your blood.

The most common sign for a bat bug infestation include seeing the pest itself or finding bites on your skin while sleeping. Unlike bed bugs, bat bugs will not remain near beds, furniture, or voids close to areas you frequently inhibit. Instead, these pests will return to where the previous bat colonies were originally roosting. Once bitten by a bat bug, your skin may become inflamed, with swollen red marks. Sometimes redness, itching, and swelling can occur like bed bugs bites.

Like bat bugs, bed bug bites will also appear as small, red puffy bumps with red marks at the center. Bed bug bites will appear as lines or groupings on your neck, arms, back, or trunk of body whereas bat bugs are not known for these patterns.

During your search for bed bugs, you can examine your bed or furniture for fecal traces (resemble dried blood with dark red or black coloration) or blood smears. Blood smears from bat bugs can be possible, as you could possibly crush them in your sleep or through its travel activity.

Differences in Treatment

Spraying Turf

Bat bugs are fairly difficult to treat and control when bats are present. In order to get rid of bat bugs, you need to determine where bats are roosting in your home. Otherwise, bat bugs will continue to thrive and potentially feed on you until its life cycle is complete.

We recommend using Supreme IT outside of your to eliminate food sources for the bat colony. When bats can no longer feed they will travel from your home to other areas. Apply 1 fl. oz. of Supreme IT per gallon of water per 1,000 sq. ft. with either a handheld pump sprayer or backpack sprayer. Once applied this product will fight against 70 types of insects upon contact and up to 90 days after application. When bats are confirmed gone, close all voids and openings with caulk and copper mesh to prevent them from reentering your home.

Left with no other food sources, bat bugs can increase their feeding activity on homeowners. Although bat bugs feed on people, they will not be able to reproduce on this food source eventually causing them to die out.

Though bat bugs cannot be controlled through most insecticides, the bed bug can. To get rid of bed bugs, the first step is to thoroughly wash your bedding. Transfer it into a large plastic bag then into the washing machine. Use the highest heat setting on your washer and dryer to kill any adult bed bugs present. Do not put the bedding back until after treatment is complete.

Once the bedding has been washed, you will want to treat the infested room with products like Flex 10-10 and Gentrol IGR. These together will kill and control bed bugs in all stages of their life cycles in multiple environments. The application rate for a severe bed bug infestation is to mix 6.4 fluid ounces of Flex 10-10 into 1 gallon of water. Spray just the mattress tufts, edges, seams, and folds. Then, mix 1 fluid ounce of Gentrol IGR into your solution to treat 1,500 square feet. Once combined, spray the bed frame, box spring, furniture, closets, flooring, and baseboards.

Use a flushing agent like Pyrid Aerosol to clear out any bed bugs hiding in tight cracks or crevices. For spots where liquids are ill-advised, like behind the electrical outlet, D-Fense Dust will kill and control insects that attempt to cross its dry barrier. With a handheld duster, apply 2 to 3 puffs to thoroughly coat the application area. Once the room has been treated, we recommend you use mattress and box spring encasements to stop the infestation from spreading any further. We recommend following our bed bug control guide, for accurate product application and bed bug control.

Key Takeaways

What Are the Differences Between Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs?

  • Bat bugs and bed bugs are strikingly similar in appearance, with the exception that fringe hairs along the body and close to the bat bug head are longer than bed bugs. Another noticeable difference, bat bugs do not stay close to people like bed bugs, but will return to elevated voids and cracks and crevices. These areas are often adjacent to where current or previous bat colonies roost.

Can Bat Bugs Survive on People

  • Bat bugs may live up to one year on people blood, but cannot reproduce leading to eventual decrease in population.

How to Prevent Bat Bugs From Invading

  • To prevent bat bugs in your home, you will need to apply Supreme IT to deter food sources for bats and seal cracks and crevices and voids with caulk and copper mesh.
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