Has some nasty pest been snacking on you and your loved ones while you sleep? Have the culprits been identified as bedbugs yet traditional extermination methods don’t remove these unwanted guests? Are you sure you have bedbugs and not bat bugs?
Yep, you read that right: Bat bugs.
Bat bugs, scientifically known as bat mites, are very similar to bedbugs in many ways; yet the proper approach to getting rid of them is quite different. Let’s take a closer look.
Bat bugs, like bedbugs, are bloodsucking insects. They are free-living parasites; free-living means that they do not live on their hosts (bats) but in the environment. However, while bedbugs prefer the taste of human blood, bat bugs prefer bat blood. This does not mean they won’t feed on humans; rather it means we are not their preferred food source.
Bat bug bites can be painful; in fact, their bite has been reported to be more painful than that of a bedbug. Some people develop an allergic reaction to the bat bugs’ saliva which causes an itchy welt or lump at the site of the bite. Due to scratching, the bite may become infected and lead to more serious health problems.
Also like bedbugs, bat bugs prefer dark, protected areas. They are great at hiding in very small spaces like in woodwork and bedding. Typically bat bugs will stay near where bats roost so that they can feed on bats while they sleep; however, if bats leave bat bugs will likely move into the more populated areas of the home so that they can find a new food source (a.k.a. you).
In addition to liking blood and living in similar environments, bat bugs and bedbugs look alike. In fact, to the naked human eye, they are all but identical. Like bedbugs, bat bugs have small oval shaped bodies that take on a dark, reddish appearance when they have fed. So how can you tell the two apart? Well, if you care to examine the two side-by-side with a magnifying glass or microscope you’ll see that the bat bug has longer hair on its thorax. If you don’t want to get up close and personal with the pests, it is best to let a professional identify the bug.
While you may not be able to identify beyond a shadow of a doubt whether you’re dealing with bedbugs or bat bugs, one indicator can be the presence of bats in or around your home. If you can identify bats roosting in or around your home there’s a decent chance you’re dealing with bat bugs. This is especially true if the bats have recently cleared out (voluntarily or involuntarily) and you’re now dealing with a blood sucking pest.
Unfortunately, identifying a bat problem isn’t particuarly easy. You can look for bat droppings which typically resemble mouse droppings but are more crumbly. Another sign would be spotting discarded parts of insects like wings; these would be leftovers from a bat’s meal! Scratch and rub marks and urine stains on walls are other signs of bats coming and going. Occasionally you may also hear rustling and squeaking as bats come and go or are disturbed by something.
So, let’s say you do have bat bugs… now what? How do you get rid of them? The only effective way to remove bat bugs is to get rid of the bats and make sure they don’t come back. You will definitely want to consult a professional for this part! Once the bats have been removed, an exterminator can take steps to ensure you and your family don’t become a late night snack for bat bugs using a variety of methods. Contact Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control today to learn more about dealing with a bat bug infestation.
Think you have bedbugs vs. bat bugs? Check out some of these great bedbug resources.
Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.