This is the ultimate list of tiny bugs in bed that are not bed bugs.
These bugs look so similar to bed bugs that they can send you in a panic mode if you see them on your bed.
However, not all of these bed bugs look-alikes are blood suckers and biters. And it’s easy to get rid of them too!
And why it’s important for you to identify them?
It’s because if you mistakenly think these bugs as bed bugs, then you might choose the bed bug treatment to get rid of them.
That’ll be an overkill. Eliminating these bugs that look like bed bugs is pretty easy and cheap.
This guide has categorized these bed-bug-looking-bugs in terms of their color and anatomy, making it easy for you to identify them.
In the first section, you’ll find 3 tiny black bugs that are not bed bugs. And in the subsequent section, you’ll find 6 tiny brown bugs that are not bed bugs.
That will make it easy for you to identify these insects that look like bed bugs like an expert.
Let’s dive in.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Before we get into the tiny bugs that look like bed bugs, it’s important to know that what do bed bugs look like.
It’s because identifying bed bugs are important. Confusing them with other bugs can lead you to ignore a burgeoning bed bug infestation in your home.
That is some thing that you don’t want.
So, here’s what bed bugs look like.
Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, have a flat body, oval, and grow up to 0.27 inches in size.
Their bodies are flat in the shape of an apple seed.
When bed bugs are hungry or didn’t have a blood meal, then they appear flat.
When fed, they look a little bloated from the top and a bit elongated too.
Adult bed bugs don’t have wings. So, bed bugs can’t fly.
They’ve a pair of antennae which is noticeable under a magnifying glass.
You might notice the pair of antennae with a naked eye.
Adult bed bugs can appear black at a casual look or at night under artificial light. However, bed bugs are not black.
Baby bed bugs, which are also known as nymphs, are miniature bed bugs.
It means that their shapes are like their parents. However, they’re tinier than the adult bed bugs.
Baby bed bugs are translucent and off-whitish when they haven’t had their blood meals.
Baby bed bugs bite. Blood meals are an important factor for their growth and to mature into adult bed bugs.
After having their blood meals, baby bed bugs turn red because you can see through their back.
Baby bed bugs or bed bugs nymphs are a bad sign of bed bug infestation.
Their presence confirms that the bed bugs have bred and there are bed bug eggs in your bed and home waiting to hatch.
During the day baby, and adult bed bugs will hide in the bed frames, seams of the mattresses, cracks and crevices on the headboard, and even inside the box springs.
They come out of hiding during the night when you’re stationary on your bed, sleeping, to get their blood meals.
That’s the time when bed bugs bite you. Bed bug bites appear in clusters.
If you’re allergic to bed bug bites, then you’ll show the signs in the form of rashes, welts, and itching on your skin.
If you’re not reactive to bed bug bites, then you won’t show any signs of bed bug bites.
That’s why you can have bed bug bite signs, and the person sleeping next to you doesn’t have any bite marks if he isn’t reactive to bed bug bites.
But bed bug bite marks are signs of bed bugs in your home that you can’t ignore.
Now let’s dive into the ultimate consolidated list of bugs that look like bed bugs.
9 Tiny Bugs In Bed That Are Not Bed Bugs
- Black carpet beetles
- Head lice
- Spider beetles
- Swallow bugs
- Bat bugs
- Cockroach nymphs
These small bugs in bed can trick you into thinking that they’re bed bugs.
Some of these bugs in the list are harmless. But many of them can be human parasites.
And they also have different colors.
Let’s find out more about these bugs based on their colors.
3 Tiny Black Bugs In Bed That Are Not Bed Bugs
Black carpet beetles, spider beetles and head lice are three black bugs in bed that are not bed bugs.
Their sizes and, to an extent, their shapes are like bed bugs.
You can easily tell that these tiny black bugs are not bed bugs based on their infestation habits and differences in their anatomies.
#1 – Black Carpet Beetles Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs
Black carpet beetles are the beetles that look like bed bugs. Their size is quite similar to the size of bed bugs and their oval body shape can trick you into think that they’re bed bugs.
You’ll find out how to distinguish black carpet beetles from bed bugs in a minute.
For now, let’s take a look at carpet beetles and the risks they bring.
Carpet beetles come in various colors. They can be black, brown, and they can also be brown and white striped bugs.
Young carpet beetles are brown and white. Over time, as they age, they turn into black or dark brown.
The spotted ones are known as varied carpet beetles. These are young beetles that have just came out of their pupae stage.
Carpet beetles enter homes to lay eggs on fabrics and materials made out of animal products.
So, clothes and accessories made of natural fabrics like leather, wool, silk, fur, and feathers are carpet beetle’s favorite things to lay their eggs.
The carpet beetle larvae, which is a tiny hairy brownish-yellow worm, feeds on the protein present in these natural fabrics.
It’s the carpet beetle larva’s main food source.
The larvae also feed on the food stains and food crumbs on bed sheets.
So, these worms can also crawl onto your bed and you’ll notice them on your bed too.
That’s why they also fall into the category of bed worms.
However, the adult black carpet beetles also land up on your bed. They’re oval-shaped and a tad bigger than bed bugs.
Carpet beetles can fly and they’ve a visible wing pads on their back.
Attracted by the light, carpet beetles can fly into your home. So, while inside your home, they can get into your bedroom and bed too!
On your bed, they’ll hide in the gaps between the mattress and headboards, and bed frames.
So, if you see a bed bug look-alike that has visible wing pads on its back and black, then relax. It’s not a bed bug.
It’s a black carpet beetle.
Also, bed bugs are flat and look like apple seeds or poppy seeds. The black carpet beetles have a slight hump on their back that easily tells you these beetles are not bed bugs.
Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles doesn’t bite. However, the carpet beetle larvae can cause serious damages to the natural fabrics.
Also, the hairy bristles on the larvae’s bodies can also trigger asthma attacks in asthma patients.
The leather upholstery in your car can also attract the carpet beetles in your car to lay their eggs.
#2 – Spider Beetles In Bed
Spider beetles are another bed bug duplicate that you may find in your bed.
But spider beetles are more of pantry pests rather than a bug that’d like to spend its time in your bed.
How and why do spider beetles land up in your bed?
Well, there’s no specific reason for it. Once pantry pests are inside your home, they can land up anywhere in your home randomly.
It happens especially when they’re looking to get out of your home or for a place to lay eggs.
Given spider beetles’ reddish-black or reddish-brown color, an untrained eye can confuse spider beetles with bed bugs when you look at them from the top.
But there are specific noticeable differences between the looks of spider beetles and bed bugs.
First of all, they resemble spiders. A pair of antennae and three pairs of legs are easily visible.
Secondly, spider beetles are too shiny and too reddish. Bed bugs aren’t.
Spider beetles’ abdomen has this luster that makes them easy to recognize. And the abdomen isn’t flat. It has got a hump.
In contrast, bed bugs have a flat abdomen.
Spider beetles don’t bite humans. They’re only interested in the dry foods that you store in your pantry.
#3 – Head Lice In Bed
Head lice are human parasites that hide in human hair, especially at the scalp.
These parasites bite and draw blood from the scalp which causes intense itching on the head.
Head lice are tiny. An adult head lice grow up to 0.125 inches in size.
Like the bed bugs, head lice are also flat and oval-shaped.
But their colors are different. Head lice are not black, they’re tan to greyish-white in color.
The head lice gather near the upper neck area near your hair and at the rear side of the ears.
Some of the head lice may drop off from your head and land up on your bed.
The belief that bed bugs are black trick many people into concluding that head lice on their beds are bed bugs.
It’d be best if you see a doctor if you notice head lice in your bed, because you might be carrying some on your head.
6 Tiny Brown Bugs In Bed That Are Not Bed Bugs
This section has the most bed bug look-alikes because the bugs you’re about to find out are reddish-brown or brown.
Both the colors are bed bug colors. And seeing any one of the following bugs on your bed can make you think they’re bed bugs.
#1 – Booklice – The Tiny Moisture Bug That Can Also Be In Your Bed
Booklice are tiny bugs that sneaks inside homes with high humidity.
Booklice are yellowish-white. Some of them can be blackish too. Experts believe that their color depends on what they eat.
They’re tiny. An adult booklice grows only up to 0.5 mm to 1 mm in size.
Booklice are tiny moisture bugs that feeds on the mold and fungi that develop on damp surfaces.
Also known as psocids mites, these tiny damp bugs can target things that have molds and dampness in them.
So, damp and moldy furniture, floors, tiles, walls, and even books and cardboard boxes are their food sources.
Booklice are harmless insects. They don’t bite, nor do they bring any diseases.
However, they’re nuisance bugs.
Their numbers shoot up inside your home if you don’t get rid of them.
They can also get inside rooms of your home that are not damp. And that includes your bedroom.
Booklice will crawl onto your bed searching for moisture sources.
Given their shape and color, many people can confuse booklice with bed bugs.
#2 – Fleas – The Bugs In Bed That Feeds Human Blood
Fleas are the ones that bite and feed on your blood.
And they can be in your bed too.
The most common way that fleas get onto your bed is when your pet dog or cat with fleas spends considerable time on the bed.
Many people confuse fleas with bed bugs because their color is very similar to the bed bug’s color.
Fleas are reddish-brown. So, at the first look, you might think of them as bed bugs.
But hang on. There’s one significant difference between fleas and bed bugs when it comes to looks.
It’s their shape.
Fleas are not oval and flat like the bed bugs are.
Fleas are thin, and their bodies are slightly tear-drop in shape. They also have long visible legs that they use for jumping.
In contrast, bed bugs don’t jump. They crawl.
If you observe both fleas and bed bugs under a magnifying glass, you’d also notice one more difference.
Bed bugs’ have got antennae, and the fleas don’t.
But fleas in bed bite humans. In the absence of their primary hosts, fleas will rely on human blood to survive.
Fleas can hide in the gaps of bed frames and headboards. That makes it quite possible to spot them on pillow covers and bedsheets.
To know more about how fleas get to your bed and how to get rid of fleas in bed, you can read our post here.
#3 – Weevils In Bed – The Grain Beetle That Can Land Up On Your Bed
Weevils are pantry pests that are quite common in kitchens and, surprisingly, in bathrooms too.
Electric light bulbs attract weevils to your home. Weevils are pantry pests that enter homes to lay their eggs on stored grains.
Weevils can be in your bed when the adult ones are randomly flying across in your home.
Or, the newly matured adult beetles have come out of their pupae stage and are looking to mate.
The best part is that weevils are not bugs that infest beds, furniture, or other soft furnishings.
They don’t cause any damage inside your home. Weevils are only interested in the food stored in your pantry.
As the bed bugs, weevils are also reddish-brown.
But there are two significant anatomical differences between weevils and bed bugs.
First, weevils have a visible snout on their mouth. It’s a thin projection from their mouth that tells you instantly that it’s not a bed bug.
Second, it’s the body shape.
Despite being similar in color to the bed bugs, weevils have an oblong body shape rather than an oval shape.
Also, the head of the weevils is quite prominent too. It’s not as tiny as it’s in the bed bugs.
#4 – Swallow Bugs – The Brown Bugs That Looks Like Bed Bugs, Ditto
If there’s any bug in this list that the pros even confuse with bed bugs, it’s the swallow bugs.
In all honesty, it’s hard to distinguish between swallow bugs and bed bugs with a naked eye.
You’d need to observe them under a microscope or at least under a magnifying glass.
The significant difference between swallow bugs and bed bugs lies in their antennae.
The antennae on bed bugs are a bit long, and they point forward.
In contrast, the antennae of swallow bugs are like a mustache on their mouth, and they’re small.
The antennae of the swallow bugs run parallel to their mouth, and they’re not pointing forward.
Experts also believe that bed bugs are browner than swallow bugs.
Swallow bugs are bed bug look-alikes that are parasites on barn swallows and cliff swallow birds.
These bugs live in the nests of the swallow birds and feed on the blood of the hatchlings and adult swallow birds.
When the swallow birds leave, some of these swallow bugs are left behind.
The swallow bugs then get inside your home and start to look for alternative blood sources.
It happens when there are swallow birds’ nests inside your home’s compound or property.
That’s when swallow bugs crawl to your bed and start biting you. Yes, swallow bugs bite humans and feed on their blood.
But there’s a catch.
Swallow bugs can’t reproduce in the absence of their primary hosts, which are swallow birds.
So, they don’t bring an infestation threat to your home like the bed bugs do.
#5 – Bat Bugs – The Bed Bug Look-Alikes That Infest Bat’s Hiding Places
Another brown bug that looks like a bed bug is the bat bug.
Bat bugs are the parasites in bats that feed on the bat’s blood.
But can they be in your bed? Not really.
But if there are bats in your vicinity, which is relatively uncommon in urban settings, there can be bat bugs in your home.
The reason that bat bugs will bite you is the same as that of the swallow bugs, which is the absence of primary hosts.
Both the bat bugs and swallow bugs are cousins of bed bugs that make them look very similar.
You’ll find both these bugs in your home, and they’re commonly mistaken for bed bugs.
And the main reason for swallow bugs or bat bugs to be present in your home is the presence of their hosts’ nests in your home or property.
Do bat bugs bite humans? Yes.
When their primary hosts, bats, leave your property, some bat bugs can fall off their bodies or hiding places.
These bat bugs will look for an alternative source of blood meals. That’s when they bite you.
#6 – Cockroach Nymphs – Baby Cockroaches That Resemble Bed Bugs
Cockroach nymphs are baby roaches that come out of their nests and hiding places searching for food.
And they can can land up on your bed too.
Sightings of baby roaches have two reasons –
- There’s a massive roach infestation in your home
- Your bed is dirty with food stains and food crumbs
These baby roaches feed on wastes, food stains, food crumbs, and even on dead roaches.
Baby roaches look dark brown, resembling bed bugs, especially when they’re nymphs of American and Oriental roaches.
If they’re nymphs of German roaches then they’ll be greyish black.
However, there are two characteristics in baby roaches that will tell you they aren’t bed bugs.
And they are a visible pair of antennae and their brisk movement.
Cockroach nymphs have long thin antennae which you can see without much of effort.
And they’re also fast crawlers.
Baby cockroaches don’t bite. But their sightings on your bed should make you hire a professional exterminator.
Their sightings is a sign of severe roach infestation in your home.
The 9 tiny bugs on bed that are not bed bugs are –
- Black carpet beetles
- Head lice
- Spider beetles
- Swallow bugs
- Bat bugs
- Cockroach nymphs
Out of these nine, black carpet beetles, headlice, and spider beetles can appear as tiny black bugs on bed.
But the two bugs on the list that you can confuse with bed bugs despite knowing their anatomies are cockroach nymphs and black carpet beetles.
It’s because their shape and size is similar to bed bugs.
We’re Mark and Jim. We were serial pest killers for almost all of our lives. Through this blog we spread pest murdering tips to people like you who want to keep their homes pest free.