What Other Bugs Look Like Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have received a lot of press over the past few years. They’re tiny, hard to identify and potentially very expensive to get rid of. To make matters worse, it’s easy for people who are unfamiliar with bed bugs to mistake them for other insects. If you think you’ve got bed bugs but aren’t sure, follow this handy guide on how to tell if those pesky critters are really hanging out in your home:

Carpet beetles

Carpet beetle larvae are small, oval-shaped insects that eat protein-based materials such as wool and silk. They have six legs and a flattened body, which makes them look like they’re wearing a tiny black cap. Carpet beetle adults are reddish-brown in color with short antennae.

Carpet beetles can be confused for bed bugs due to their similar size (between 3 and 10 mm long), but there are some key differences between the two pests:

  • Carpet beetles have six legs instead of eight like bed bugs do;
  • Carpet beetles have longer antennae than bed bugs do;

Bat bugs

Bat bugs are not the same as bed bugs. They share some similarities, but there are also important differences.

Bat bugs look like bed bugs, with a flat body and short legs. They have antennae that are longer than those of bedbugs, and their wings are shorter than the wings of most bedbug species. Bat bug bites may leave tiny red dots on your skin, but they do not cause itching or irritation—which is one more reason why bats can be good roommates (if you don’t mind sharing your home with them).

While bat bugs can be difficult to get rid of because they hide behind wallpaper cracks in roosts and caves where their hosts live, they aren’t nearly as hardy as their blood-feeding cousins—which makes them much easier to eliminate when they invade homes or businesses by accident.

Swallow bugs

Swallow bugs are a type of insect that looks and behaves similarly to bed bugs. However, swallow bugs can be distinguished from bed bugs by their distinct body shape and size. While swallow bugs may be found in homes at certain times of the year, they are not as common as bed bugs (and aren’t known to harbor diseases). Swallow bug eggs hatch into an array of brown-colored nymphs that grow up to about 3/4″ in length with wings; adult swallow bugs are 1″-1 1/4″ long with no wings.

The bottom line? If you think you have swallow bug infestations instead of bed bug infestations (#samebugdifferentname), it’s best to contact an expert pest control company for help.

Boxelder bugs

Boxelder bugs are a common nuisance throughout much of the United States. They can be identified by their black and yellow/orange coloration, and they are commonly found around homes during the summer months. Boxelder bugs are notorious for invading homes in large numbers to escape the heat of summer, but they do not feed on human blood like bed bugs do!

Like most other insects, boxelder bugs feed on plant material—primarily the seeds of boxelder trees (many species of maple trees also contain toxic compounds called urushiols that will irritate human skin if touched). However, boxelder bugs enjoy feeding upon many different plants since their main diet consists of sap from leaves or stems rather than just one particular type. Some plants that attract these pests include elm trees, hackberry trees and black walnuts; any area with nearby vegetation where these types grow could harbor an infestation of box elder bugs looking for food sources. If you have noticed clusters or swarms hanging around your house recently without any obvious source nearby then chances are good that you have an issue with this insect invading your home!


Booklice (also known as psocids) are small, red bugs that live in books and other paper products. They are neither insects nor spiders; they belong to a group of arthropods called Thysanura and are closely related to silverfish.

Booklice usually measure less than 1/16 inch long and can be found under book bindings, behind wallpaper and on the inside edges of picture frames. Like bedbugs, they feed on starch-based materials such as glue found in old books or libraries. Booklice do not bite humans but will feed on dead skin cells if there is no food source present.

It’s important to know what bed bugs look like, especially compared with other insects.

Bed bugs are small and flat, which means they can easily hide in the tiniest cracks. They don’t have legs, so instead of crawling, bed bugs move by “hitching” rides on humans or pets. Bedbugs are reddish-brown or mahogany in color with a flat body that fits into tight spaces. Bedbugs may be seen during the day if they’ve just recently fed; however, bedbugs typically come out at night when it’s cooler and darker.

Bed bugs prefer to live near their food source (you), but they’re not picky—they’ll find any warm place to rest during the day. Anywhere from cracks in your walls and baseboards all the way up to your mattress can be home for these pests!


While bed bugs are a common pest in homes and apartments, there are many other insects that look similar. If you’re finding strange bugs in your home and want to know if they’re bed bugs, the best way to tell is by looking at the shape of their bodies and heads, as well as how many legs each bug has. If you have any questions about identifying these pests or need assistance with an infestation issue, contact us today! We can help make sure your home stays bug-free.


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