Bat bugs

Identification

  • Colour Dark brown or red
  • Size About 6 mm long
  • Description Small, oval-shaped insects that appear flattened, have no wings and hairy but leathery skin

General Facts

Why do I have bat bugs?

Bat bugs are ectoparasites in same family as bed bugs. Bat bugs feed on bats and their blood, but if there are no bats around, they will feed on other host animals, including humans. They are usually brought into homes by bats, who invade homes looking for somewhere to hang and rest, usually ending up in voids, cavities, and dark spaces such as attics and cellars. However, if the bat leaves and a bat bug is left behind, it will then invade the rest of the home, looking for another host to feed on. Female bat bugs require a "blood meal" before laying eggs.

How worried should I be about bat bugs?

Bat bug bites do not spread disease but can cause skin irritation or, in some sensitive individuals, an allergic reaction to the proteins in the injected saliva. The bite itself may also become infected if scratched open. Bat bugs reproduce quickly, with multiple generations being produced in just one year, meaning an infestation can quickly become serious. As well, adults can survive for up to a year or more without a blood meal, so even if you leave, they may not. Eradicating bat bugs requires significant expertise and may also involve removing bats, which are both dangerous and a protected species in Canada. Dealing with any bat bug or bat infestation should be left to a professional pest control service.

How can I prevent bat bugs invading?

Take precautions to keep bats out, Seal all gaps in siding, Close all attic windows, Install screening over chimneys, Place screening over vents, Be careful not to seal bats inside

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