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9 Insects Similar to Bed Bugs

Close-up shot of a bed bug in the human skin.

Bed bugs, they are the bain of existence for people who work in hotels and hospitality. These are exactly the types of creatures that no hotel ever wants to deal with. Unfortunately for them, bed bugs are often all over the place, and it can be a challenge to really get them totally taken care of.

This is why it is important to understand what bed bugs are as well as what some creatures that look similar to them are. Knowing if you have a bed bug infestation or merely a small number of a different kind of bug that looks similar to a bed bug is a big deal. Thus, without further ado, we will take a look at some creatures that are similar to bed bugs now. 

1. Bat Bugs

Bat bug on a green leaf.

Confusion about this creature and bed bugs starts with the name alone. Bat bugs have a shockingly similar name to bed bugs, and it is reasonable that some people believe that they are one in the same. They are not, but that doesn’t stop people from having that idea.

They probably have the look that is most similar to bed bugs of anything else in the animal kingdom. The only way to truly tell them apart is to look for longer hairs on their head than what you will see on the head of a bed bug. They are about the size of an apple seed and are brown in color as well as being oval in shape.

Also, it is interesting to see that they are completely unable to fly despite the fact that they have wings on their back. What you will discover is that all of this is exactly the same as bed bugs, but bat bugs are distinct in that they won’t be found in your bed or sheets. They exist in caves and other dark and damp places. 

2. Booklice

Close-up shot of a booklice.

These bugs are longer and thinner than the average bed bug. They are generally a whitish or clear color that is pretty interesting to look at. It is also something that sets them apart from bed bugs in that you aren’t going to have to worry about not being able to tell them apart.

Bed bugs will have the dark brown or black color, but booklice are always white or see through. They range in size between 1 to 6 mm. Booklice are easy to kill because their bodies are softer than bed bugs.

You won’t have to worry about an infestation of these bugs making their way into your bedroom and causing problems for you. These bugs are very cool to look at because their have heads and backsides that are distinctly segmented from the main portion of their body. This means that you can easily tell where one part of their body ends and where another begins.

You will certainly want to have this information because it may make them easier to kill at the end of the day. After all, you probably don’t want a lot any kind of bug roaming around your home for any period of time. 

3. Spider Beetles

A spider catching beetle.

You will have to look closely at spider beetles to tell them apart from bed bugs. They have a similar color and oval shape, and this leaves a lot of people wondering if there really is a difference between these creatures and the standard bed bugs that we all worry about. The truth is, there is a difference between spider beetles and bed bugs, but it takes some close examination of these creatures to see those differences. 

Spider beetles come in around 1 to 5 mm in size which is similar to what you will see with bed bugs, and they also have the color that you might expect a bed bug to look like as well. This can make it incredibly challenging for the average person to tell the difference between spider beetles and bed bugs. The gift of flight has been bestowed upon spider beetles, and some are known to do exactly that.

However, they don’t bite (same as for booklice), but they may have some tendencies towards being in your personal space (aka in your home) if you allow them to do so. 

4. Fleas

A dead flea on the floor.

Check your pets up and down for fleas whenever you get the chance to. They are a major irritant for pets, and you will need to make sure you keep them away from your pets whenever possible. Not only are they annoying, but they may pose some risk to your pets as well.

Veterinarians will tell you that you need to get special flea prevention materials for your dogs and cats, and this is good advice to take. That said, it is understandable that you may mistake fleas for bed bugs as well. Fleas are a reddish-brown color with long legs and round heads.

This should make it relatively easy to tell them apart from bed bugs. However, you should also recognize that both are annoying and you don’t want to deal with either one of them if you don’t have to. Instead, you would be much better off if you can simply go about your day without having to worry about what damage fleas may do to your pets, and that is only possible if you are using the kind of tools that vets recommend for your pets. 

5. Cockroach Nymphs 

Cockroach Nymph on nature background.

The life of a cockroach actually begins as an egg. Most people don’t know that, but it is true. They begin in this situation and then they end up growing into the pests that most of us know them as later on.

A baby cockroach is known as a nymph after it first hatches. It is small enough that some people mistaken believe that the cockroach nymph is a bed bug, but the two are very different things. When they first come out of the egg, nymphs are a bright white color that is truly a sight to behold.

In the following days and weeks, they start to harden and darken, and that is what makes them appear like the cockroaches that we all know in our day-to-day lives. German cockroach nymphs are going to be less than 3 mm long when they first hatch, so it is understandable that people ultimately see them as being similar to bed bugs. They are small like bed bugs, and that means that they may be easily thought to be bed bugs even though we know this isn’t really the case. 

If you notice that you have cockroach nymphs in your home, you may need to get pest control in just like you would if you had bed bugs. The existence of cockroach nymphs means that adult cockroaches are somewhere nearby, and that is critically important to think about as they are a potential disturbance to your way of life and peace of mind. 

6. Ticks

A portrait of tick on the grass.

Yet another creature that you don’t want to encounter, ticks are insects that live outdoors and may attach to the skin or hair of a human. They can also grab onto the fur of a pet. They are known to do so as they feed off of the blood of the creatures that they attach to.

Needless to say, this is not something that you want to deal with, and it can ultimately result in you not having the kind of enjoyable day that you had hoped you would have. Dealing with ticks is very annoying and potentially a danger to your health as well. They are similar in color and shape to bed bugs, and this means that they are frequently mistaken for bed bugs as well.

The thing about ticks is that they are known to transmit dangerous diseases if they are allowed to attach. Thus, you need to make sure that you don’t give them that opportunity. Instead, you need to stay ahead of things by using commonsense and avoiding areas where ticks may be present.

You should also check yourself for ticks completely after you have been outdoors anywhere that the ticks might be present. 

You can also take other steps to make sure you do not get ticks attached to you including: 

  • Wearing protective clothing
  • Tuck pant legs into your socks
  • Avoid areas where ticks are known to be bountiful
  • Always check your whole body after you have been in an area where ticks are known to be

There are many ways that ticks can be potentially harmful to you, so make sure you always keep yourself protected from them. 

7. Head Lice

Head Lice on a white background.

Have you ever heard of an outbreak of head lice in a school or similar environment? This type of thing happens from time to time, particularly among children who are young and don’t yet know how to take care of themselves as far as their hygene is concerned. It happens often, and it can quickly jump from one child to the next as head lice are known to spread rather rapidly.

You may mistake head lice for bed bugs because they both cause a lot of problems for the people who are trying to deal with them. Please make sure that you have taken all necessary steps to keep yourself protected from head lice whenever possible so it doesn’t spiral into becoming a bigger issue. People can keep themselves head lice free by purchasing special shampoos and the like that will prevent this from becoming a big issue in the first place.

It is highly recommended that you do so in order to avoid the worst possible outcomes that could take place. Don’t come down too hard on yourself if you mistake head lice for bed bugs. They are similar in terms of the amount of distress that they may cause to a person who is dealing with them.

However, they are distinctly different from one another, and it is also important that you realize this as well. 

8. Mites

A mite insect who sucks blood.

There is an insect known as a mite that could be easily mistaken for a bed bug. The reason for this is simply because the mite looks quite similar to a bed bug and because it has legs that come out at the same angles as bed bugs. On top of all of that, mites are also known to hang out in some of the same types of environments as bed bugs.

Thus, they may easily be mistaken for being bed bugs by those who are not informed on such topics. If you happen to see mites in the area that you are in, you will want to observe them closely to make sure they are not bed bugs. There is always the possibility that you are dealing with a mite infestation and NOT a bed bug one.

That would honestly be great news for you as it means that you aren’t necessarily going to have to deal with the major issues that could arise if you have to deal with a whole host of bed bugs. Still, mites are not a walk in the park either. Mites do not have wings and are generally very small.

They do not have the ability to fly, but they will bite human skin. You shouldn’t be too terribly afraid because it is true that mite bites are usually harmless to humans, but you may experience some mild irritation and perhaps a little bit of itching in the area where you are bitten. It is not fun, but at least you know that it is not going to be anything worse than a simple bite. 

9. Termites

Macro shot of a termite on brushwood.

It seems that many creatures on this list are just as annoying and potential harmful to humans as bed bugs even though they are not bed bugs. The same is true for termites. They can do severe damage to your home that is lasting and that you may have a very hard time recovering from financially.

They will chew through wood and do structural damage to your home or any other wooden structure if they are given the opportunity to do so. You should look for termites in your home not only because they are similar in appearance to bed bugs, but also because they may cause you some serious financial turmoil if you don’t do something about them. They are unlikely to be in your bed, but you may notice them near areas where they have access to the interior of your home.

It can be hard to tell them apart from bed bugs based on appearance alone, but you are unlikely to have to make that determination as they don’t tend to hang out in the same areas of a home. Rather, you can tell them apart from bed bugs in that they are likely going to be in the walls of your home instead of in the bed. 


There are many different types of bugs and insects that appear similar to bed bugs. Knowing how to tell them apart is a good idea, but it is even more important that you have the ability to know that you need to react rapidly to get rid of any of the pests that are causing damage to your home and to your ability to live life the way that you would like to. No matter if you are dealing with bed bugs, termites, mites, ticks, or something else, you don’t want to deal with them if you can avoid it.

The best thing to do is to call a pest control company as soon as you realize that there could be a bug problem that comes along. Think about what your needs are right now, and then get to use managing the pest problem that you have before it becomes even larger for you. Don’t take a chance. 

Ask the pest control company if they have the time to help you identify some of the different types of pests that may be in your home. They might be able to show you the subtle differences that can be seen between all of the various creatures mentioned here, and more.