Bed bug infestations are a common problem for places like camps, shelters, dorms, and other shared living accommodations. If your facility has ever experienced these pesky visitors, you know how resilient and sneaky they can be. You’re also likely on high alert every time you see a bug near a bed in your facility.
But there are many insects that look like bed bugs that do not warrant the same intense response. Consider these seven insects that look like bed bugs and what you should do if you see them in your facility.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Adult bed bugs resemble apple seeds in size and shape. They are flat, oval, and may appear reddish or brown, depending on when they last ate blood. Bed bug nymphs are smaller and lighter in color than adults, and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.
Both adults and nymphs feed on human blood and can be found in bedding, furniture, and other areas where people spend time.
7 Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs
Although the differences become obvious when put under a microscope, it’s very easy to confuse bed bugs for several other types of bugs when viewing them from a distance with the naked eye. These seven bugs can be particularly deceiving:
1. Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles are frequently mistaken for bed bugs due to their similar size and shape. However, these oval-shaped pests are harmless to humans. They do not bite and are not blood feeders like bed bugs.
As their name suggests, carpet beetles are typically found in carpets, clothes, and other fabrics since natural fibers are their main food source.
2. Bat Bugs
Bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs, with only a few very subtle differences that are tough to spot with the naked eye. If your facility has bats, you likely have bat bugs, too.
But you may not see these bed bug look-alikes until you get rid of their main food source. Bat bugs only bite humans when there are no bats available. That’s why it’s important to create a comprehensive plan when tackling a bat infestation.
It’s common to mistake booklice for bed bug nymphs due to their similar size and color. Booklice are usually a translucent white or gray and feed on mold and fungi in your facility. As such, they’re commonly found in areas that are prone to mold and fungi, including crawl spaces, old books, and forgotten corners of the pantry.
These pests are certainly annoying, but they pose no health threat to humans.
4. Spider Beetles
Spider beetles are small, reddish-brown insects that look like bed bugs that have recently had a blood meal. Spider beetles can bite, but they do not drink blood. They are commonly found hiding in pantries, especially in stored grains and cereal. This makes it fairly easy to rule out bed bugs based on where you spot them.
Mites are tiny arachnids that are often found in mattresses, bedding, and other fabric-based materials. They can cause skin irritation and are sometimes mistaken for bed bugs due to their similar size and appearance. However, mites have eight legs and are not insects like bed bugs.
6. Cockroach Nymphs
Baby cockroaches resemble bed bugs due to their oval shape and dark brown color. Upon closer inspection, you can identify cockroach nymphs by their elongated shape and longer antennae.
Cockroaches are typically found near food. So if you spot cockroach nymphs on or near beds in your facility, there are likely many more lurking nearby, and it’s a good indication of an infestation.
Ticks are another arachnid commonly mistaken for bed bugs. However, you can tell these bugs apart from bed bugs by the number of legs they have and the appearance of a distinct head.
Ticks are usually picked up outside in the woods and brought inside. A single tick cannot reproduce, but due to the health threat they pose, it’s still important to get rid of them immediately.
What Should You Do If You See Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs?
If you spot bugs that look like bed bugs in your facility, it’s important to identify the pest and contact an exterminator, if necessary. Consider investing in beds and mattresses that are resistant to bed bugs to prevent future infestations.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.