10 Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs (With Pictures)

Sharing is caring!

It’s understandable to assume that the bugs that have invaded your home’s dark corners and bed, causing you sleepless nights, are bed bugs. However, what if I told you that there are common bugs lurking in your living space that could be masquerading as bed bugs?

Many other bugs bear a striking resemblance to bed bugs and a knack for making your skin crawl, yet they are not quite the same. Knowing the specific bug you are dealing with is vital to choosing the appropriate elimination method.

Join me as we uncover the most common bugs that look like bed bugs. This way, you can avoid spending money and time on a treatment plan that proves ineffective against that particular bug.

10 Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

 10 Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

1. Bat Bugs (Cimex adjunctus)

Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that bat bugs look like bed bugs. After all, they are closely related, hence the similarity in appearance and behavior. Similar to bed bugs, bat bugs are diminutive, flattened-bodied, oval-shaped insects.

They are typically around 4-5 millimeters long and are reddish-brown, making them easily mistaken for bed bugs. However, bat bugs are darker (dark brown or beige) than bed bugs, with a pale spot around the wing pads.

Bat bugs predominantly consume bat blood. However, if they cannot find bats, they may bite humans, resulting in similar itchy welts and skin irritations as bed bug bites.

Bat bugs are nocturnal and primarily active at night, similar to bed bugs. You will find them hiding in cracks, crevices, and seams during the day and emerge at night to feed.

Related Posts:

2. Swallow Bugs (Oeciacus vicarius)

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

These are other direct relatives of bed bugs. You can easily confuse them with bed bugs due to their size and shape. They are small, flat, oval-shaped insects measuring around 4-5 millimeters in length. Besides the size and shape, you can also think a swallow bug is a bed bug because of its reddish-brown coloration.

Like bed bugs, swallow bugs are also blood-feeding parasites, primarily feeding on the blood of swallows and other birds. However, they can bite you when their avian hosts are unavailable, causing skin irritations and discomfort similar to bed bug bites.

You can distinguish these bugs from other insects by their fine, long hairs covering their whole bodies. You can further set them apart from other insects by noting that the last two segments of their antennae have identical lengths.

3. Booklice (Liposcelis spp.)

Tiny black bugs that look like bed bugs


You can mistake booklice for bed bug nymphs due to their small size and pale coloration, often translucent or light gray. These incredibly small insects typically range from 1 to 1.5 millimeters long. You cannot confuse them with adult bed bugs, though, since mature bed bugs are larger, oval-shaped, and reddish-brown.

Another significant difference between booklice and bed bugs is their diet. Unlike bed bugs, booklice feed on molds, fungi, and organic matter in damp environments. They often hide in stored books, paper products, cardboard boxes, and areas with high humidity.

In addition, these winged bugs have more oversized heads than bed bugs. Moreover, booklice have thin, long antennae, while bed bug antennae are short and, to some extent, stiff-looking. Furthermore, booklice have longer legs and extra thick hind legs compared to bed bugs.

4. Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus spp.)

Outdoor bugs that look like bed bugs

Both carpet beetles and bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects, with carpet beetles usually about 2 to 3 millimeters long. Carpet beetles are oval-shaped and often have colorful patterns on their back, which sets them apart from the reddish-brown and more elongated shape of bed bugs.

While you can tell apart adult carpet beetles and adult bed bugs, the same may not be true with larva carpet beetles. They are small and covered in fine hairs; you could mistake them for bed bug nymphs.

As for diet, unlike the blood-sucking beetles, carpet beetle larvae feed on natural materials. These include wool, fur, feathers, and various plant-based products, including carpets, clothing, and upholstery.

They also feed bed bug cast skins, so you can find them in the exact location as bed bugs. Carpet beetles won’t bite you, but you could get a rash if you come into contact with their prickly hairs.

5. Fleas (Ctenocephalides spp.)

common bugs that look like bed bugs


You can also mix fleas with bed bugs since both insets are tiny, reddish-brown, and wingless. They also feed on blood, piercing their host with their mouthparts. However, while bed bugs feed exclusively on humans, fleas can infest humans and animals, including dogs and cats.

Bed bugs are slightly larger than fleas and do not possess the jumping abilities of fleas. On the other hand, fleas are tinier and can jump long distances. Regarding habitat, you will commonly find fleas outdoors, and they infest pets, wildlife, and domestic animals, while bed bugs prefer indoor environments.

If a flea bites you, it will leave small, red, raised bumps with a single puncture point in the center. Contrastingly, bed bug bites appear in rows or clusters. Flea and bed bug bites are itchy, but the intensity varies from person to person.

6. Spider Beetles (Mezium spp.)

Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

If you look at a spider beetle, you could think it is a bed bug that has recently consumed blood due to its dark reddish-brown color and small size. These tiny, bulbous spider-looking bugs have a compact, oval-shaped body covered in fine, dense hairs.

The abdomens of spider beetles are rounded and small, while bed bugs have flat, broad abdomens. Furthermore, spider beetles have longer antennae.

Spider beetles are smaller than bed bugs and do not bite humans or cause skin reactions. Instead, these scavengers feed on different things, including stored food products, dried plant materials, and even dead insects.

You will often find spider beetles in stored food products, such as grains, cereals, and dried fruits, as well as in areas with accumulations of organic matter, like dead insects and bird or rodent nests.

7. Cockroach Nymphs

pictures of bugs that look like bed bugs


Bed bugs and baby cockroaches surprisingly look similar since they share the same color and size. Roach nymphs are small (2 to 20 millimeters long), reddish-brown, and have elongated bodies, long antennae, and six legs.

Bed bugs are also reddish brown, small (4-5 millimeters), and with oval-shaped, flattened bodies.

The shape sets these insects apart. On the one hand, cockroach nymphs have a distinct elongated body with a more pronounced head and long, thread-like antennae. On the other hand, bed bugs have a broader, more oval-shaped body and short, segmented antennae.

Typically, you will not find cockroach nymphs in areas bed bugs love to stay in. Rather, you will often find them where they can scavenge for food, like kitchens and bathrooms, and are usually drawn to poor sanitation.

8. Ticks

tiny black bugs that look like bed bugs

You may fail to differentiate ticks from bed bugs until you look at them attentively. They have some similarities but also differences. First, ticks have eight legs, a characteristic feature of arachnids, while bed bugs have six legs because they are insects.

Additionally, ticks do not exhibit any visible antennae on their heads, a feature in bed bugs. If you also look behind a tick’s head, you will realize it doesn’t have a distinct flared-out pronotum.

Ticks vary in size depending on the species and life stage and often have a darker color and a distinctive shape compared to bed bugs. Differences aside, ticks and bed bugs are both blood feeders, and their bites cause redness, swelling, and itchiness.

Also, ticks stay outdoors in grassy or wooded areas, while bed bugs live indoors.

9. Mites

Mites that look like bed bugs in house


Human-biting mites, such as chiggers and scabies mites, can cause itchy red welts and skin irritations if they bite you. However, while mites and bed bugs cause skin reactions, there are fundamentally different types of arachnids and insects with distinct features, behaviors, and habitats.

Mites are arachnids with a microscopic size ( less than 1 millimeter long), a segmented body with eight legs, and can vary in color depending on the species. Some mites are predatory, while others feed on dead organic matter, plants, or fungi.

Some mites, like chiggers, can be parasitic and bite humans. When it comes to habitat, mites live in a wide range of environments, including soil, plants, dust, and animals, with some associated with stored products and homes.

10. Head Lice

Common Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

Head lice and bed bugs have different habitats and host preferences. However, if you come across some bugs in your pillow or bedsheets, I wouldn’t blame you if you wonder whether they are bed bugs or head lice.

Head lice are tiny (2-3 millimeters long), flattened, elongated, and usually tan to grayish-white. While both are blood-consuming parasites, head lice are host-specific, so the lice in your head cannot move to your pets and vice versa.

Head lice cannot jump or fly. Also, if you do not get rid of them, they will continue sucking your blood and even release dark-red excrement onto your scalp.


As you can see, bed bugs have many look-alikes. However, it is still vital to be able to differentiate these annoying bugs from others. Chances are you are dealing with a bed bug if you found it in and around sleeping areas, such as mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture. When in doubt, seek the assistance of a professional pest control expert.

Sharing is caring!