magnifying glass looking for bugs

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your home, it’s important to know how to identify these pesky insects because there are bugs that look like bed bugs.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most common look-alikes for bed bugs such as carpet beetles, spider beetles, cockroach nymphs, bat bugs and swallow bugs among others.

We’ll also cover how to differentiate them from actual bed bugs by examining their physical characteristics and behavior patterns. We have pictures that can help you to identify what bug you have in your home.

Additionally, we’ll provide information on the signs of a possible infestation including bites on humans or pets and finding dead insects or shed skins around your home. Knowing what these pests look like will help you take appropriate action if you have an infestation problem.

Identifying Bed Bugs

bed bug up close on cloth

Bedbugs are minuscule, rust-hued bugs that subsist on the blood of humans and animals. Bed bugs can lurk in diverse locales, from dwellings to lodgings and offices to public spaces.

Identifying bed bugs is a key element in thwarting their spread and addressing any existing infestations.

To identify a bed bug infestation, the first step is to look for evidence of their presence, such as dark spots on mattresses or sheets caused by their feeding.

Bed bug excrement can be a tell-tale sign that they have taken up residence in your home, often seen as dark stains on mattresses or sheets due to the bugs feasting while their host sleeps. These dark spots may appear on mattresses or sheets as a result of the insects feeding off their host’s blood during sleep.

Other signs include shed skins from molting larvae or eggs that have been laid near potential hiding spots such as crevices in furniture or behind wallpaper edges.

Let’s examine a few other bugs that may seem like bed bugs but are not.

Common Bed Bug Lookalikes

Bed bugs are an annoying and difficult pest to get rid of. They can be hard to identify, especially if you don’t know what they look like. There are a few common pests that resemble bed bugs, but they aren’t actually bed bugs themselves.

1. Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles and their larvae closely resemble adult bed bugs in color and shape. Unlike bed bugs, however, carpet beetle larvae feed on fabric fibers and dead insects instead of blood. Adult carpet beetles may also bite humans if disturbed or handled roughly.

It is important to be able to differentiate bedbugs from other insects that may appear similar, but do not present any danger to humans or pets.

For example, carpet beetles look similar to bedbugs but lack the distinctively flat shape of true bedbugs instead, they are rounder with more hair than true bedbugs possess.

2. Spider Beetles

Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

Spider beetles have similar coloring to adult bed bug nymphs but can be distinguished by their long legs with spines along them which is unlike the short legs found on true bed bug nymphs.

Spider beetles also do not bite humans or feed on blood like true bedbugs do; rather, they eat stored grains and cereals such as flour or oats found in pantries or pet beds around the home.

3. Swallow Bugs

Swallow Bugs are another common insect mistaken for a baby cockroach because of their dark brown coloration. However, these wingless insects cannot fly nor bite humans so there is no need for concern about them being related to cockroaches at all.

Swallow Bugs will typically remain in light fixtures near windowsills where they feast upon small flying insects like gnats or flies while avoiding contact with people altogether.

4. Baby Cockroach

Cockroach Baby

Baby cockroaches, or nymphs, have a distinct look that sets them apart from bed bugs. They have two dark stripes running along their backs with light brown coloring to top it off.

However, they differ in behavior as well because bed bugs are notorious for being associated with beds and other sleeping areas.

Baby cockroaches can usually be found where there is food available such as garbage bins, pantries, or even pet dishes! Notoriously both are nocturnal creatures, make sure you correctly identify the difference.

5. Bat Bugs

Bed bugs and bat bugs might look similar, but there are distinct differences that can help you tell them apart.

While bedbugs have a more rounded body shape with shorter hairs on the head and thorax, bat bugs tend to be larger in size and feature longer hairs along their heads and chest sections.

Another difference between these two insect species is where they feed – while bedbugs mostly target human blood sources, bats are the preferred meal of choice for their close relatives!

6. Ticks

Bed bugs and ticks are two of the most commonly confused pests, but there are distinct differences between them.

Ticks belong to the arachnid family – like spiders – with eight legs that make them larger than bedbugs. Their color, they range from brown through reddish-brown to black, and feed on animal blood including humans.

Bed bugs and their oval-shaped cousins like being near sleeping areas or furniture so they can feed off humans or animals.

Telling one pest apart from another really comes down looking closely. A tick you will pick up in the woods or from being in the grass and you can find them any time of day on you.

Bed bugs only come out at night and feed for less than 15 minutes then they go back into hiding.

7. Booklice

Trying to tell the difference between bed bugs and booklice? Here are some key differences you should know.

Booklice are tiny, usually less than 1/16 of an inch long, and pale brown or maybe reddish in color with soft oval-shaped bodies.

They don’t feed on blood but instead feast on mold or mildew commonly found where there’s high humidity, like bathroom walls or basements.

Treatment Options for Bed Bugs Only

Bed bug infestations can be a nightmare for homeowners. Understanding suitable remedies and when to apply them is essential for eliminating these bothersome insects.

The range of treatments available for bed bug infestations varies depending on the severity and duration.

The first step in treating bed bugs is identifying what kind you have. Bed bugs look similar to other insects such as carpet beetles, spider beetles, cockroach nymphs, swallow bugs, and bat bugs but there are some distinct differences between them that will help you determine if it’s actually bed bugs or not.

In order to quickly contain the infestation, locating its source and beginning treatment is essential to stop bed bugs from spreading.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the different bugs that look like bed bugs. Knowing what they are and how to prevent them can help you protect your home from a potential infestation.

Having a strategy for dealing with the problem is critical if you come across these critters. With proper knowledge and preventive measures, homeowners can stay ahead of any bug issues that may arise in their homes.


How do I know if I have bed bugs?

Signs of a bed bug infestation include dark spots or stains on sheets or mattresses caused by excrement from the pests, molted exoskeletons, live bedbugs crawling around in fabric crevices, and a sweet musty smell coming from infested items. You may also experience itching or welts due to bites from insects.

Can you find or see bed bugs during the day?

Although bed bugs are primarily nocturnal and prefer to hide during the day, they may come out in search of a meal if their hiding places have been disturbed or if hunger sets in.

Be sure to check your sleeping areas regularly, as it is possible – though unlikely – to spot them active even during daylight hours should an infestation be present!

If it is not a bed bug, how do I get rid of the different pests I find in the home?

You need to identify the pest you are dealing with before you can effectively get rid of it. Different pests require different treatment methods, so it is important to know what you are dealing with.

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