A carpet beetle crawling along a bed sheet - Florida Pest Control, Gainesville FL

If you’ve found a bug crawling around your bedroom, you might be worried that bed bugs have settled into your home. But, you may not need to panic about an infestation just yet—there are actually several other insects that look a lot like bed bugs. Knowing about them can help you determine what type of pest you have and what action you should take next. 

 

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

First, it’s important to know what bed bugs actually look like. As adults, these tiny bugs are about the size of an appleseed and have flat, oval bodies with six legs. If they haven’t eaten recently, they range from pale white or yellow to dark brown. After feeding, though, they become a little engorged and turn a reddish color. 

Bed bug larvae are even smaller—roughly the same size as a fleck of pepper. They are long, thin, and white-colored worms at this stage. Their eggs are also pearly-white and roughly the size of the tip of a needle, so they may be hard to see with a naked eye.

Insects That Look Like Bed Bugs

Now that you know what bed bugs look like, let’s take a look at some other insects that closely resemble bed bugs and how you can tell them apart. Some of the bugs that look like bed bugs include:

Carpet Beetles

As their name implies, carpet beetles are frequently found in carpeting or upholstery. They feed on fabric like wool and other natural fibers, which is why they often hide in our bedrooms. Unlike bed bugs, they don’t bite people; however, their larvae are covered in tiny hairs that can cause skin irritation, which many people confuse for bed bug bites. 

Though carpet beetles look very similar to bed bugs, they come in a range of colors and have very short antennae. Their larvae also look quite different since they are fuzzy and resemble caterpillars more than worms.

Ticks

Ticks aren’t actually bugs—they’re in the arachnid family, putting them closer to spiders than bed bugs. That said, they do look pretty similar at first glance thanks to their small size and flat, wingless bodies. Ticks also feed on human blood and leave behind itchy bite marks the way that bed bugs do. 

One way to tell ticks apart from bed bugs is by counting their legs, as ticks have four pairs instead of three. Additionally, ticks often attach to their hosts for a few hours or days at a time, so you may find them hanging off your body instead of crawling around your home.

Fleas

Pets aren’t the only ones who can get flea bites, and unfortunately, these parasites can be hard to tell apart from bed bugs. Both are very small, reddish-brown, and slightly oval. However, fleas are typically a bit longer and flatter, and they’re even tinier than bed bugs. 

If you can’t tell them apart by glancing at them, you can also try looking at the bites. Bed bug bites often show up in a straight line or a slight zigzag pattern, but flea bites come in clusters situated randomly across the body. Flea bites also become obvious within an hour of the bite, where bed bug bites can take days to pop up.

Booklice

Booklice are often found in areas with moisture issues, as they feed on mold and mildew and prefer high humidity. If you come across one inside your home, you might confuse it for a bed bug because of their similar appearance. However, booklice have longer bodies with larger, more pronounced heads and bent antennae. 

Think You Have Bed Bugs?

Spotting a bed bug infestation isn’t easy. If you can’t tell what type of insect you have based on appearance alone, you can also look for other signs of bed bugs like dark spots on your sheets or a sweet, musty odor. Or, you can call the experts at Florida Pest Control for a professional inspection. Our team will determine what type of insect you have, whether you’re dealing with an infestation, and what you should do next. 

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