Your bed can be a hiding place for many little bugs. These bugs might resemble bed bugs, but they’re different.
These small bugs crawl up into your bed as accidental intruders. Or there’s something in your bed that attracted them.
In this guide, you’ll find out 13 tiny bugs in bed that are not bed bugs.
You’ll find out why they’re in your bed, how did they get there, the risks they bring to you, and the best ways to get rid of them.
You’ll also find out how bed bugs look like. It’ll help you in distinguishing bed bugs from the the tiny bugs that you’re about to find out.
Carpet beetles are tiny oval-shaped bugs that are common home intruders during the spring and summer.
The adult carpet beetles come in brown and black colors. There are carpet beetles with spots known as varied carpet beetles.
Carpet beetles enter homes to lay eggs. The carpet beetles will lay eggs on expensive natural fabrics like wool, leather, silk, feather, and fur.
The leather upholstery in your car can also draw carpet beetles into your car.
It’s because the carpet beetle larvae feed on the protein of these natural fibers.
They can also lay eggs in the stored food of your kitchen pantry.
Adult carpet beetles can fly, and they’re also attracted to light.
So, they can fly inside your bedroom, and you might see them crawling onto your bed.
Their oval shape and brown color can make you think it’s a bed bug.
However, the adult carpet beetle doesn’t cause any damage. It’s the larvae that are damaging pests.
It chews on the fabric and creates holes irreparable holes on them.
The larvae can also get onto your bed if your bed is dirty with food stains and crumbs.
The carpet beetle larvae will chew on the fabric’s stained portion, leading to the formation of holes.
The adult carpet beetles’ is between 1/8 inches and 3/16 inches. That’s as same as an adult bed bug’s size. So, no wonder they’re mistaken for bed bugs at first sight.
But both the varied carpet beetle and the non-varied carpet beetle are not flat as bed bugs.
The carpet beetle larva is a tiny blackish worm with brownish stripes and hairy bristles. And it grows between 1/8 inches and 1/4 inches in size.
Spider Beetles In Bed
Spider beetles are pantry pests that can get into your bedroom and even onto your bed. They’re accidental intruders in your bedroom.
These bugs feed on the stored grains and food in your kitchen pantry.
The American spider beetle is dark-reddish brown and grows only up to 0.14 inches or 3.5 mm in size.
The presence of spider beetles in your bedroom signifies that their numbers in your kitchen pantry have skyrocketed, spilling over into other areas of your home.
You can confuse spider beetles on your bed with bed bugs because of their color and tiny size.
However, spider beetles have six legs that are visible when they’re crawling. The pair of antennae is also visible.
Another critical difference between the spider beetle and an adult bed bug is that the spider beetle is not flat like a bed bug.
It has a bulbous body shape with a bloated abdomen that makes it look like a spider.
Spider beetles can bite you if it gets pressed against your skin while you’re asleep. The bites will cause itching and slight discomfort.
However, spider beetle bites are harmless and don’t spread any diseases. Also, spider beetles don’t suck blood as bed bugs do.
Head Lice In Bed
Head lice are parasites on humans. Head lice hide in the hair of your head, especially at the lower end of the head near the neck or on the hair behind the ears.
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.
Human Biting Mites – Rat Mites And Bird Mites
Another set of parasites that can be in your bed and look like bed bugs are the human biting mites.
These are rat mites and bird mites.
Both are parasites on rats and birds. And they can be in your home if you’ve got a rat infestation problem or a bird’s nest on your property.
Bird mites can also be present in homes where homeowners raise chickens.
The primary hosts for rat mites are rats and other rodents. And for the bird mites, the primary hosts are birds.
Like other parasites, they feed on their hosts’ blood.
But in the absence of their hosts, these parasites will rely on human blood to survive.
Their hosts bring these parasitic human biting mites to homes. Their hosts can leave behind these bloodsuckers in your home after you get rid of them.
In search of blood, they will crawl up onto your bed.
Both these mites are tiny and oval. And on a casual look, they look like bed bugs.
But the main distinguishing factor is their size. Both these mites are smaller than bed bugs and can look like a tiny black speck of dust on your bed.
An adult fully matured rat mite grows only up to 1.4 mm or 0.06 inches in size.
An adult bed bug is bigger. It’s size is 3/16th to 1/4th of an inch.
Ticks On Bed
Both ticks and bed bugs are wingless bugs. They’re both oval and similar in size. It’s challenging to tell them apart.
Ticks are parasites in mammals. They latch themselves onto the animal’s skin to have their bloodmeals.
But ticks can also be in your bed. Like fleas, ticks can also fall from your pet’s body and hide in your bed.
Ticks can also attach themselves to a human host and feed on their blood.
They can remain attached to you for days without noticing that you’ve got a parasite on your skin.
In contrast, bed bugs don’t attach themselves to your skin. They’ll have their blood meals and go back to their hiding places.
An untrained eye can tell the difference between ticks and bed bugs only when both have their bloodmeals.
After the bloodmeals, ticks become engorged. And their color change to gray or grayish blue.
Bed bugs after bloodmeals become broad. But they don’t develop the vertical swelling that ticks develop after the bloodmeals.
And bed bugs don’t change their colors after the bloodmeals.
Booklice are tiny bugs that sneaks inside homes with high humidity.
Booklice are light tan. 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 can also get onto your bed if there’s dampness in the mattress, bed frame, or headboard.
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.
Given their shape and color, many people can confuse booklice with bed bugs.
Fleas in bed are common in homes with pets. It’s because your pets are the carrier of fleas, and they can transfer them to your bed.
Pets get fleas from the outdoors when they play in tall grasses and dense vegetation. Fleas live in these habitats, lurking to latch onto a host.
They can also get fleas from other infested pets.
You can also bring fleas home when you spend time outdoors and walk through the shrubs with fleas in them.
Those fleas will latch onto your clothing and luggage, and you’ll bring them to your home and bedroom.
Fleas are parasites that feed on their hosts’ blood, primarily warm-blooded animals like cats and dogs.
However, fleas in your bed can also feed on your blood if they don’t get their primary hosts. Flea bites are itchy and in clusters.
Adult fleas jump when you try to kill them or capture them with a pincher.
Fleas are wingless pests, and they can’t fly.
Like the bed bugs, the fleas are also reddish-brown. And they can grow as big or as little as bed bugs.
But many factors in fleas will help you to distinguish them from bed bugs.
First, fleas are not oval and flat like bed bugs. They’re tear-drop shaped. Their bodies taper at the end.
Second, the fleas have long hind legs that help them jump.
So, if you see a jumping bed in your bed and it’s reddish-brown, then the chances are it’s not a bed bug. It’s a flea.
Weevils In 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.
The drugstore beetles are the least likely to be in your bed because these bugs are pantry pests.
However, there have been incidences when these bed bug look-alikes land on the bed.
Adult drugstore beetles can fly, and they are attracted to light.
So, they can enter your bedroom through the open windows.
Drugstore beetles are of the same color as the bed bugs – reddish-brown. Many people confuse them with bed bugs when they see them on their beds.
However, there are significant differences in their anatomy that differentiate them from bed bugs.
Drugstore beetles are oblong-shaped and bigger than bed bugs. And they’re not flat like the bed bugs.
Drugstore beetles are harmless, and they don’t bite humans and pets.
But as they’re pantry pests, they can damage your stored food and medicines.
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.
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.
Cockroach Nymphs Or Baby Cockroaches
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.
A baby cockroach is dark brown and oval. They look bed bugs or apple seeds, especially when they’re nymphs of American and Oriental 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.
The presence of baby cockroaches in your bed and elsewhere in your home is a clear sign of cockroach infestation.
Dust mites are tiny white mites that enter homes in the summer.
Dust mites are microscopic. It means that it’s impossible to detect them with the naked eye.
A typical dust mite grows only up to 1/100th of an inch. They’ve eight legs making them close look like small spiders under the microscope.
These mites enter homes through open doors and windows, hiding in soft furnishings like couches, bed mattresses, and carpets.
They enter homes in search of moisture and dampness. As dust mites can’t drink water, they absorb the moisture from damp surfaces to survive.
Dust mites eat dander or dry dead skin from your skin. And they’ll like to remain in places where they can get easy access to your skin.
That’s why your bed is the favorite place for dust mites.
Dust mites don’t bite. But when they feed on your skin, it creates an itchy sensation.
Dust mites have hairy bristles on their bodies that can cause itching when they crawl on your skin. Red welts and itchy rashes also develop when dust mites crawl and feed on your skin.
The itchy red welts on your skin can trick you into thinking those bite marks are bed bug bites.
The worst part is that dust mites are allergens.
Dust mites in the bed can trigger allergic reactions even in healthy individuals. And they pose health risks to the elderly, kids, and asthmatic patients.
Biting mites like rat mites and bird mites can also be in your bed if there’s a rodent problem and a bird’s nest in your home and property.
Bird mites and rat mites are parasites on birds and rodents, respectively.
When their hosts leave human homes, these biting mites can bite humans to stay alive.
However, unlike bed bugs, bird mites and rat mites in the home can’t cause an infestation by feeding on your blood. It’s because they need the blood of their primary hosts (rodents and birds) to breed and lay eggs.
The bite marks and post-bite symptoms are like bed bug bites.
How To Get Rid Of Tiny Bugs In Bed
Thorough cleaning of the bed mattress with a steam cleaner is vital to remove the tiny bugs, their eggs, and larvae from the bed.
Steam cleaners produce heat, and the heat kills the bugs in all the life stages. Cleaning the bed mattress with a steam cleaner effectively removes the dust mites.
Also, wash the bed linen in hot water. Hot water removes the stains and dirt that attract bugs like ants, carpet beetles, and baby roaches.
Seal the gaps and cracks on the bed frame and the headboard. These gaps and cracks are the hiding places for the bugs.
The source of bugs like carpet beetles, weevils, and spider beetles is your kitchen.
So, you’ll have to get rid of these bugs in your kitchen. You might also need to throw away the infested food.
You can also use bug-repellant smells to keep bugs away from your bed and bedroom.
One of them is peppermint spray. Bugs hate the smell of peppermint, and it keeps bugs away from your bed.
Using a dehumidifier in the house significantly helps in reducing the moisture levels in the air and hence makes your home repellant for these bed bugs look-alikes.
However, you might have to hire a pest controller for the rest of the bugs like fleas, swallow bugs, human biting mites, ticks, and even bed bugs.
These bugs are parasites. Their bites can also cause allergic reactions and diseases.
Plus, being tiny and sneaky, they can be hard to eliminate with the help of DIY ways.
You might need to hire a professional pest controller to get rid of them.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Now that you know what are the tiny bugs that look like bed bugs, it’s time to find out what do bed bugs look like.
Knowing how to identify bed bugs can will help you to differentiate between bed bugs and their look-alikes.
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.
The 13 tiny bugs on bed that are not bed bugs are –
- Black carpet beetles
- Spider beetles
- Human biting mites
- Drugstore beetles
- Swallow bugs
- Bat bugs
- Baby cockroaches or cockroach nymphs
- Dust mites
All of these bugs have their unique ways to get inside homes. Some of them are parasites on both humans and pets and they’re a risk to your well being.
However, bugs like spider beetles, weevils, and drugstore beetles are harmless to humans. But they can cause damages to your stored food as they’re pantry pests.