Bat Bugs

Facts, Identification & Control


What do they look like?

Bat bugs look similar to bed bugs, with oval-shaped, brown bodies all about the same three-eighths of an inch in length.

Bat bug vs bed bug

The greatest visual difference is that bat bugs possess longer, and more hairs on their thorax (think, neck region).

Upon feeding, their abdomens become red and swell in size, going from flat to fat within minutes. It typically takes a professional to tell bat bugs and bed bugs apart.

How Did I Get Bat Bugs?

The presence of bat bugs in the house suggests that bats either are or used to live in an attic or wall void. These parasites do not attach to their hosts like ticks. Instead, the insects stay in the bat colony's roost as long as they have access to blood meals. While bat bugs are a different species than bed bugs, both insects are very similar in appearance and require use to a scope to tell them apart.

When bats depart from their nesting sites for long periods of time, bat bugs will travel deeper into homes looking for new hosts. Once they gain entry into other rooms, the pests hide in dark crevices and fabric folds.

How Serious Are Bat Bugs

Homeowners often mistake these insects for bed bugs, leading to ineffective pest control treatments. While bat bug bites can be itchy and unpleasant, like bed bugs, the pests presently are not unquestionably proven to be transmitters of disease to people.

How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Professional assistance from Orkin's experts is the best way to help get rid of bat bugs. These free-living parasites are not as tenacious as bed bugs, but their secretive nature and infrequent feeding makes them difficult to locate.

The Orkin Man™ is trained to help manage bat bugs and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Keeping pests out of homes and buildings is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. Orkin’s exclusive A.I.M. solution is a continuing cycle of three critical steps — Assess, Implement and Monitor.

The Orkin Man™ can provide the right solution to keep bats bugs in their place...out of your home, or business.

Signs of Infestation

Oftentimes, bat bug infestations take homeowners by surprise, causing alarm when bites are discovered. Small blood stains on furniture or bedsheets can indicate their presence, as the pests are easy to crush unknowingly.

Behavior, Diet & Habitat

What do they eat?

Mammal blood, preferably from bats, is the primary food source for bat bugs. As a result, the pests typically travel on the skin of bats and populate their roosting sites. When overwintering bats depart, they leave these ectoparasites behind.

Blood-starved bat bugs then migrate into homes, gathering in bedrooms and living rooms. The pests often lurk within carpeting and furniture for extended periods, as they can survive for over a year without feeding.

In addition to bats, bat bugs will feed on humans, dogs, and cats. The pests will even latch onto mice and rats, providing a convenient method of entry into kitchens or basements.


Bat bug bites are nearly painless, but leave inflamed marks on the skin. Redness, itching, and swelling may occur at bite sites, but bat bugs cannot transfer disease to humans.

However, it's still disturbing to find these parasites within the home, especially because they're so often confused with their difficult-to-control relatives, bed bugs.