If you’ve waken up to itchy welts on your body, then you may be well aware of the threat and misery that bed bugs bring to a home. Bed bugs were once wiped out of the country around the 40s and 50s, but they have come back with a vengence in recent years and experts says that it is largely due to international travel.
Bed bugs are notorious for sneaking onto mattresses and going into hiding, biding their time until an unsuspecting human host falls and then tearing into flesh to get their fix of blood. However, while bed bugs are the usual suspects when it comes to itchy bites and bloodsucking, there is a very similar pest that may be the culprit—Bat bugs.
In this article we will compare both bat bugs and bed bugs so you can know the difference between the two and we will also present to you ways you can tackle either infestation of bug so your home can be free from their incessant biting.
What are Bat Bugs and Bed Bugs: Explaining Their Origin
While bed bugs are globally known, bat bugs are less notable. This is in large because bat bugs often reside in caves as their primary habitat. It is believed that both bat bugs and bed bugs originally were cave dwelling insects and would both feed on other cave dwelling animals for their sustenance.
When humans came into existence and began to live in caves, they were also bitten by both bed bugs and bat bugs. However, when humans began to travel outside of caves and make their own homes to start civilization, bed bugs followed them along while bat bugs largely stayed behind, preferring to consume the blood of bats.
Bed bugs evolved to the point where they didn’t prefer any other animal as a host except humans and selected humans as their main host for their survival. This is why bed bugs are a more frequent problem than having a bat bug infestation because bed bugs purposely want to remain close to humans.
Bat bugs can feed on the blood of humans too but they would only do so if there are no bats around to feed on. Human blood is purely an alternative for survival but if bat bugs want to be able to lay eggs and reproduce, they need the blood of bats.
What Do Bat Bugs and Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs and bat bugs are commonly confused with one another and it’s for good reason because in a lot of ways, they look nearly identical. They both hail from the parasitic cimicidae family of insects. Both bat bugs and bed bugs have oval shaped flat bodies, six legs and antennae. When both have enjoyed a blood meal, they also both swell significantly with a tinge of red.
The main ways to tell the difference between the two are the colors of their bodies. Bat bugs are more beige colored or a darker shade of brown. Bed bugs, on the other hand, are more of a reddish brown color. Another difference is that bat bugs are much hairier than bed bugs but this can really be determine unless you were to compare the two species under a microscope.
When seen crawling on a mattress, both bed bugs and bat bugs look like little tiny apple seeds that have legs and are in movement.
Where Bat Bugs and Bed Bugs Are Found
Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs can cause problems with people when they are able to infiltrate a home but how they get into a home couldn’t be more different. When it comes to bed bugs, they make their way into a home almost always by hitching a ride on some sort of item or personal belonging that they have crawled onto.
Bed bugs are rampant in places like hotels, airports, bus stations and any other areas where there are massive amounts of people that are in transport. Bed bugs are opportunists and will wait for a chance for an item to come near them and then crawl onto a piece of luggage, a bag or even a piece of clothing and cling on. If you have bed bugs in the home, the chances that you unknowingly brought the pest inside your home yourself is high.
When they have made their way indoors, the majority of bed bugs will set up camp in close proximity to wherever their target host spends most of their time. This means they will stay hidden away in mattresses, headboards, baseboards, couches, and other furniture items.
Bat bugs will enter or come into contact with humans by accident, because they want to be in close proximity to bats. If a bat has ventured upon your home, bat bugs may not be far behind. In fact, bat bugs would be found more often where bat bugs would reside such as in attics, wall voids, chimneys and other areas where bats may roost.
Treatment Approaches to Eliminate Bat Bugs and Bed Bugs
Due to bat bugs and bed bugs having differences in tendencies and where they like to hide, bed bugs and bat bug require different ways to address an infestation. Here are the ways to address each infestation.
Bat Bug Control
Getting rid of bat bugs is a much more easier task to undertake because this would mean that you would need to get rid of any bats that may be trespassing on your property and then putting in place exclusion measures that will make it less likely the bats return.
With bats not around, bat bugs will target humans as an alternative blood meal but it will not be enough to sustain them since, as we mentioned earlier, they need blood from a bat to reproduce.
Bed Bug Control
Bed bug treatment is achievable but it takes a lot more effort to overcome. Luckily you can get rid of bed bugs (or invading bat bugs) in the home with a lot of the same treatment methods. The more time you waste by not taking action, the larger the bed bug population can get and in turn the more you and other residents in the home are going to be bitten.
We suggest starting bed bug control by vacuuming. Be either using your regular home vacuum or purchasing a specialty bed bug vacuum, you can eliminate a significant amount of the adult bed bug population with frequent vacuuming sessions..
When vacuuming for bed bugs, it is wise to not only vacuums rugs and carpets, but also furniture. Remove the bedding materials off your mattress so it is bare and use your vacuum crevice attachments to perform a deep vacuuming of all the seams and folds of your mattress, box spring and couches.
After each vacuuming session, make sure to take the vacuum bag and remove it from the vacuum and toss it in a trash can sealed in a plastic bag outside of the home.
Vacuuming should be performed daily along with other methods such as heat treatment. If there is one thing that bed bugs hate most it is areas of high heat. Temperatures of 120 degrees and above are fatal for bed bugs at any phase of the life cycle, which makes your washer and dryer an essential weapon in your quest to get rid of bed bugs from your home.
Toss your bed sheet, infest clothing, curtain drapes and any other fabric or material you feel may have bed bugs and place them in the laundry machines on the highest heat setting and the longest duration of time. As soon as they’ve been washed, put them in the dryer and do the same. This will ensure that all bed bugs in those heat treated items will be killed.
Once vacuuming and washing has left the surviving population of bed bugs vulnerable, you can finish the infestation off with bed bug pesticide products.
There are a number of products that can be useful such as bed bug aerosol sprays that can be safely applied to your mattress and other furniture, bed bug powders that can be puffed into voids and tight spaces that bed bugs may be using to hide or travel undercover and insect growth regulators that can address the reproduction that the bed bugs go through.
Preventing Bed Bugs and Bat Bugs
While it is a great accomplishment to get rid of a bed bug or bat bug infestation since that means the end of all the biting that keeps you up at night, you can’t rest easy just yet. Preventative measures must be taken to ensure they don’t make a return to your home.
For bat bugs, you will need to make it hard for bats to target your home as a roosting place. This means mainly to make accessing your home difficult by taking away points of entry by putting screens on your windows and doors, installing a chimney cap, using copper mesh or steel wool to close up holes and sealing other entry points with caulk.
With bed bugs, prevention is more tricky because while you can install bed bug encasements to your mattress and box spring to discourage bed bug harborage, you mostly need to be alert and diligent when you are traveling somewhere other than your own home. Be cautious at hotel rooms, when traveling to an airport etc. You will need to check your luggage before and after you go on a trip to ensure bed bugs have not snuck onto your items.
Whether you have bat bugs or bed bugs, the result is the same: annoying bites that can make life miserable until you spring into action and address the problem. With the tips and knowledge in this article, you can tackle both bed bugs and bat bugs and drive them out of your home.