Similar Looking Insects

Insects in the same family

Some insects are part of the bed bug family (Cimicidae), meaning they will only have slight differences in appearance. Subtle differences like the length of hairs on the thorax or width of the insect’s abdomen. Telling insects apart when looking this similar can be difficult to determine with your naked eye and may require magnification.

All insects in this family have short, broad heads just like bed bugs. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in cracks and crevices. The similarities do not stop at physical appearances though, all of the pests in this family feed on blood. Where they get blood from can vary.

Bat Bugs

Bat bugs may look very similar to bed bugs, but you won’t come across them often unless you are hanging out in bat caves. These cousins of bed bugs prefer the taste of bat’s blood.

Poultry Bugs

Poultry bugs prefer to find their meals on the backs of domestic fowl such as turkeys and chickens. You will find these bugs anywhere these types of birds nest.

Other insects often mistaken for bed bugs

Spider Beetle

Spider Beetle
Spider Beetle – By Gunther Tschuch (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Why You Think They Are a Bed Bug

Spider beetles are small, oval, and reddish-brown, three things these insects have in common with bed bugs. The similarities end there, Spider Beetles do not feed on blood!

How to Tell They Are Not

Spider Beetles are taller than they are wide. The insects shape and size is similar to fleas. Bed Bugs are short and broad.

Cockroach Nymphs

Cockroach Nymph
Cockroach Nymph – By Slimguy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Why You Think They Are a Bed Bug

Just like Bed Bug Nymphs, hatchlings of cockroaches hide in cracks and crevices close to a food source. Preferably somewhere warm and moist. They also go through very similar color changes, clear to yellow to reddish brown, while molting and maturing.

How to Tell They Are Not

Pay attention to the shape of the insect’s body. Cockroach nymph’s have cylinder-like bodies. Long and narrow, not like a bed bug’s apple-seed shape.