Bat bugs look very similar to bed bugs in size, shape, and color. As their name suggests, bat bugs feed predominately on bats. In Wisconsin, they are commonly found on brown bats. However, it is not unusual to find them on birds or rodents. Similar to bed bugs, they typically feed while the host is sleeping. Bat bugs are blood-sucking insects that will pierce the skin and inject saliva as they probe for blood.
The development from egg to adult can take as little as 2 weeks in warm weather. Adult bat bugs can survive for a year or more without a meal in cool environments, but blood-sucking is required by the female in order for her to produce eggs. They can produce eggs multiple times throughout the year as long as they have a reliable food source.
Bat bugs rarely bother humans because they prefer bat blood. They are only a concern for homeowners who have bats living in the attic. There is the chance that bat bugs are left behind from bats. While these bugs rarely do not stray from their standard source of food, if the bats are no longer available they may enter the rest of your home. In these cases, they may move into similar places where bed bugs would live and feed on human blood if need be. Bat bug bites are reportedly more painful than bed bug bites, but most humans don’t even feel it.