Did you know bed bugs have creepy-crawly cousins called chimney swift bugs? How about bat bugs and swallow bugs? All four of these insects are fairly similar in appearance and all have one annoying characteristic: they feed on blood.

Bed bugs have more recently gained a spot as one of the worst pests to have, as they can be both difficult and incredibly expensive to control. Thankfully, their creepy cousins are typically not as proliferous or as costly. While bat, chimney swift, and swallow bugs will all bite humans, leaving red itchy welts behind, they don’t feed exclusively on humans, as can probably be guessed by their names.

Bat bugs, chimney swift bugs, and swallow bugs typically only feed on humans when their primary hosts are removed from the equation. For example, if bats have taken up residence in an attic and are removed, some bat bugs may be left behind. These bugs can live extended amounts of time without a meal, in fact, they can go several months without one, but they will search for the next available food source. This food source is often humans.

It isn’t easy to tell these four bugs apart, even for professionals. When it comes to bed bugs and bat bugs, there is virtually no difference between these two to the naked eye. It is only once they are put under a microscope that you can see what sets these two apart: bat bugs are hairy. Chimney swift and swallow bugs are both smaller than bat and bed bugs, with swallow bugs being the hairier of the two, which again is virtually the only visible difference between the species.

Typically, the easiest way to tell these cousin bugs apart is where in your home they are located. Bed bugs, per their name, live in, on, and around human beds and bedding materials. Bat, chimney swift, and swallow bugs will predominantly be located in different areas of the house, such as a second story, or around walls or (in the case of chimney swift bugs) in or near your chimney. These bugs will also have a distinctive time when they appear more frequently, typically spring and summer months, unlike bed bugs who will be prevalent year-round.

When dealing with bats, chimney swifts, or swallows living in and around your home, your best bet is to call an animal and pest control professional, like us. Our technicians will ensure that not only are your flying friends safely evicted from your property but also that any insect pests that had accompanied them are kept out of your home.