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Bat bugs, although they sound like bed bugs, are entirely different. It is believed that they started off at the same place, with early ancestors of both beg and bat bugs being cave-dwelling creatures that often live in small mammals, just like bats. Over the years, however, evolution has happened and this has led to a few changes. The species split, half heading out with humans on their evolutionary tale, becoming bed bugs. The other half stayed where they were, continuing to live on bats that lived in caves. These are the ones known as bat bugs.
g called bat bugs, they don’t usually live on bats. They are known to hitch a ride on the back of one from time to time, however, and that’s often how they find their way into human homes. If you have had a bat infestation, you will need to make sure that it doesn’t turn into a bat bug infestation also, both during and after the eviction process.
Bat bugs will bite and live on humans, and they look the same as bed bugs too, which is why humans often get the two confused. The bites can even look the same, making it even harder to diagnose the correct species. Bat bugs do have a special preference for the blood of bats, hence the name, but if there are no bats on offer, human blood will do. Despite being able to feed on humans, it is believed that bat bugs cannot successfully reproduce if they do not have the bat host.
Unlike fleas, bat and bed bugs can’t jump. They are crawling creatures, which gives you some idea of how best to tackle a bat bug infestation. Elevating your bed, for example, is a great place to start. You can buy devices called bed bug traps, which also work as bat bug traps. There is a center piece that is flat and elevated. This is what the legs of your bed (or other furniture) will sit on. Around that, there is a circular empty moat. The bed or bat bugs will crawl across the floor, up the white plastic, and if they make it that far, they’ll fall into the moat and be unable to get out. The bugs will be unable to get to your bed, trapped in the moat.
Glueboard monitors can be used to diagnose your problem, if you aren’t sure that a bat bug infestation is it. These are essentially strips of glue that the insects will crawl over and then get stuck to. You can dispose of the glue trap once there are too many bugs on it to stand anymore, or when you think the problem has been eradicated.
Hiring a professional to come in and spray the problem is the best solution for a bat bug infestation, but you must make sure that all bats have been removed first. This will often mean hiring a professional, once again, because the task is likely to be a long and tiresome one. Also, there are many legalities to take into account when dealing with protected animal species, such as some species of bat.
The good news is that bat bugs will usually be easier to get rid of than bed bugs, and they generally don’t bite as frequently either. As always, if you have any doubt, give the professionals a call.
Go back to the Bat Removal page, or learn about bats in the attic with my Bats in the Attic guide.