Pest Issues

Common Bugs Mistaken for Bed Bugs

Akos Nagy /

Mother nature has “gifted” us with a wide variety of insect species. Some of them have a very distinguished look and you just can’t mistake them for anything else. However, there are types of bugs that look so similar that there is no chance of figuring out what you are faced with. This is the case with bed bugs.

In this article, we are going to talk about bugs that resemble bed bugs but aren’t.

So, if you:

  • Have spotted a creepy-crawly in your home and aren’t sure if it’s a bed bug;
  • Are looking for a solution for an already existing pest infestation;
  • Just find the topic interesting and want to know more about it;

Don’t worry, we’ve got all of the information you need.

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What does a bed bug look like?

D. Kucharski K. Kucharska /

Here is a list of the physical characteristics of a typical bed bug:

  • The insect’s shell is reddish-brown in colour
  • It has an oval and flat body
  • The size of a bed bug is close to one of an apple seed (around 5-7 mm)
  • It owns 3 pairs of legs and 2 antennae

With its tiny size, common bugs living in our homes can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. Let’s take a look at the bedbug lookalike bugs that you may encounter, but aren’t bed bugs.

Bugs mistaken for bed bugs:

Bugs mistaken for bed bugs

Now that you have an idea of what a bed bug actually looks like, it’s time to talk about its doppelgangers. To make things even easier, we have also included information about how to deal with the described insects, depending on their type and in case of an infestation. Without further ado, here are the bugs that resemble bed bugs but aren’t:

Cockroach Nymphs

D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / bamgraphy /

Unlike the bloodsucking parasite, cockroach nymphs have a white or grey body, but turn brown as soon as you touch them. When it comes to proportions, the insect is half the size of an adult bed bug (about 3 mm). Also, cockroach nymphs are different in shape, too – they have a cylinder form, while bed bugs are oval.

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Now let’s talk about the main reasons behind why people get roach nymphs confused with bed bugs. One word: Behaviour. Similarly, like the parasites, baby cockroaches like to hide in tight spaces located close to their food source. Another important factor to point out is that nymphs are also most active in the nighttime.

What to do if you have baby cockroaches

Don’t you underestimate cockroach nymphs just because they are tiny insect babies. This type of pest is extremely hard to kill. Even if you invest in the most expensive over-the-counter insecticidal product, the baby roach will survive your attack. Still, if you are determined to demolish the bug yourself, we advise you to buy sticky traps. This pest control method traps the weak roaches and they eventually die from lack of water.

On the other hand, if you don’t feel like dealing with creepy-crawlies, you can always hire a professional to take care of the infestation situation for you. We highly advise on acting as quickly as possible if you spot cockroach nymphs in your property. If there are baby roaches in your home, their parents are most likely hiding in the walls of your living room.

Spider Beetles

D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / Cosmin Manci /

Yup, you read this right. There actually exists an insect called a spider beetle. This sort of bug is really tiny, about the size of an ordinary flea, which will be 1.5 to 3.2 mm. In terms of colour, they are dark brown and when fed – a bit on the red side of the spectrum. Many people mistake this sort of pest for a bloodsucking one, exactly because of the red hue. The truth is that spider beetles dine in your kitchen, in the middle of the night, and don’t like the taste of human blood.

The thing that gets people confused is the colouring of the insect. Indeed, it is quite similar to that of a bed bug. We can even say that from all of the insects, listed in this article, spider beetles resemble the bloodsucking parasite the most.

How to deal with spider beetles

The best way to deal with spider beetles is to keep your home as squeaky clean as possible. Make sure to maintain your food storage places in good condition by regularly vacuuming them. If this method doesn’t work out for you or the infestation has gone completely out of control, your best bet is to hire a professional exterminator.


D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / Henrik Larsson /

Unlike the other sorts of pests, we described earlier, booklice don’t actually resemble bed bugs, but their nymphs. The insect is translucent white, grey or brown in colour. The pest gets mistaken for a bud bug baby because of its habitat preference. You can spot it on the side of your windows, window sills, and under wallpaper.

The proper way to remove booklice

Booklice are a tricky type of pest to get rid of. Here are a few methods to try out that will prevent and kill the bugs:

  1. Gather all of your infested possessions and throw out anything you can. The items you want to keep, you need to place in a plastic bag and put them inside your freezer for 2 days. After that, vacuum the items to remove the dead booklice.
  2. Lower the moisture levels in your property with the help of a dehumidifier. This way, you make it impossible for booklice to move about in your home. Also, you get the benefit of not having to deal with mould and mildew.
  3. Open up a few windows to improve the ventilation in your house and take care of standing water sources. If you happen to live in a muggy and humid area, it’s best to invest in a couple of dehumidifiers. Place them throughout your home, especially in rooms that gather more moisture, like your bathroom.
  4. Get rid of any mould and mildew with chemicals such as bleach or just plain vinegar. The task is definitely not a pleasant one and if you don’t like the idea of handling it yourself, just get a mould remediation specialist to help you.
  5. Always clean dead booklice from the floor with a vacuum cleaner and remember to disinfect the formerly infested places in your house. You can use an ordinary cleaning product to kill all the remaining bacteria.

Carpet Beetles

D. Kucharski K. Kucharska / Armando Frazao /

If you spot tiny black bugs in your bed, don’t jump to conclusions. All it may be just confused carpet beetles that have lost their way. The insect may look very similar to a bed bug, because of its dark brown shell, but one thing gives them away pretty fast – their wings. Also, carpet beetle larvae look nothing like those of a bed bug. The insect’s babies are small furry caterpillars.

Carpet beetles don’t bite like the bloodsuckers, they get mistaken for, but can trigger your allergies in zero time. When it comes to their menu, the bugs like to munch on fabric, carpeting (hence the name of the insect), and clothes made from natural fibres.

How to deal with a carpet beetle infestation

Nobody wants their carpet to look like swiss cheese. To get rid of carpet beetles fast, the best solution would be to steam clean the living soul out of your infested carpeting. You can hire an expert technician to take care of the situation or do it yourself by renting a steam cleaner. We highly advise you to get your carpet professionally cleaned afterwards with hot water extraction

Bat Bugs

D. Kucharski K. Kucharska /

As the name of this type of insect suggests, a bat bug is basically a bug that drinks bat blood. Quite ironic, isn’t it? However, when it comes to physical characteristics, the only way to tell apart a bat bug from a bed bug is under a microscope, while holding your entomology degree. With all of that being said, you can get the insect in your property only if you have bats flying around. And in terms of biting, a bat bug will attack you if its initial and preferred food source has been eliminated.

What to do in a case of a bat bug invasion

If you suspect that you are a victim of a bat bug assault, the first thing you need to do is to close off and block all bat entry points. When you are done with that, buy a residual insecticidal product. It’s best to go for a dust formulation if you are treating an area that you’re sure you won’t have contact with. Apply the product to all bat harborage places, like your attic, for example. Don’t forget to spread the product in and around the points in your home that lead inside like vents, plumbing, chimneys, and light fixtures. After you’re done, there shouldn’t be a bat bug left alive.

To sum thing up…

  • Some of the specimens we’ve described may not bite, but can still trigger your allergies
  • If you spot roach nymphs crawling around your house, call a professional immediately. There is a chance that your house is under a cockroach attack.
  • If you can’t figure out what sort of bug is strolling around your home, schedule a survey with an exterminator who will determine the type of pest you are dealing with.
  • You need to be extra careful when using insecticides, especially spray ones. It’s a good idea to put on a protective mask when you apply the product.

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We hope you found our article on “Pests that look like bed bugs but aren’t” informative and more importantly – helpful.
Please, share your experiences, thoughts, or even pest control solutions in the comment section below.

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Darlin D. Aviles
Darlin D. Aviles
3 years ago

Thank you for your article. I will try your methods once i get home. Keeping my fingers crossed !!!

Gratsiela Borisova
Gratsiela Borisova
3 years ago

Hi, Darlin! Did you try any of these? What happen after?

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