Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bed Bugs vs Bat Bugs


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I am writing for my mom who is worried she might have bed bugs again.  She lives in Colorado and did have bed bugs 2 years ago.  She had an Exterminator; Steri-Tech spray then and all was well up until this past June/July. She found a bug crawling in her bed around 9:00 pm. She captured it in a contact case that had residue left in it. It was about 1/8" long, flat and oval shaped as shown in the pictures.  However, it died the next day,(maybe because of the residue?). She called the exterminator (who is also an acquaintance) and he felt like it was probably a Bat Bug, which looks very similar to the Bed Bug. But he did come and spray again with a less potent poison.
This past Thursday morning as she was making her bed. She has found another similar looking bug, but smaller. This one is about >1/16" and she thinks is a baby. It has been in a clean container for 4 days and is still living and pooping. It is indicated in the picture with the line through it.
She never was bitten, or she didn't react to the bites when she had them 2 years ago. But, they were definitely bed bugs back then, as the exterminator found more as he was spraying. There are bats in the area she lives, so there could be Bat Bugs around.
She has company coming from out of town and is worried. Can you tell me if these are Bed Bugs or Bat Bugs? Thank you!


Odds are that these are bed bugs, especially considering that your mom had them previously (or "still," odds are they never did get properly eradicated).  Bat bugs just are not that common, especially if you do not have a bat colony in your attic or elsewhere in your home.

I would have the company lodge elsewhere.  Bed bugs are notorious for finding there way to new homes by stowing away in luggage and other belongings no matter how careful you are.

There should really be no shame in having bed bugs.  I consider it a badge of honor in a way because it means you travel,you have a life.  That said, yes, you want to eradicate them.  People can build a sensitivity to their bites over time, plus potential complications from infection, etc.

She needs to find a reputable company, preferably one that uses heat treatment.  It won't be inexpensive, but the results are more reliable than any other treatment.  I would recommend she contact the public health department for a referral to the best company.

I wish I had better news, a simpler solution, or *something*, but bed bugs present a unique and extremely difficult situation for anyone who has them, and for pest control professionals to successfully eradicate.

Best wishes for a good outcome.



P.S.  I live in Colorado Springs, and Colorado is one of the worst states for bed bug infestations.

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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