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Don't panic yet: How to tell a bed bug from another (less feared) bug

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | June 4, 2015 - 1:59PM

Panicked you might have seen a bedbug in your apartment? It's a type of anxiety that runs rampant in New York City, we promise (and it's part of the reason our bed bug posts are so popular). But you might not have real cause for concern just because you saw something crawling around. Here are some insects that you might be seeing and mistaking for bedbugs:

  • Spider beetles: These harmless little guys are dark-brown, shiny, oval-shaped, and appear to be blood-filled—but they’re not (see photo below).  
  • Carpet beetles: They’re small, round, brown, and have wings (see main photo above). They don’t bite, but some folks are allergic to them and can erupt in welts when brushed by them.
  • Book lice: These creatures—which feed on fungi and mold—are often mistaken for bed bug nymphs.
  • Bat bugs: These tricky insects resemble bed bugs so closely that it takes an expert to identify them.

For more, read “Bedbugged! How to Tell a Bedbug from an Impostor" and take a read through our ever-popular Bedbugged! column.

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


Bedbugged! What Not to Say to Someone Who is Battling Bedbugs

Finally, a Breakthrough in Bedbug Detection

How Bedbugs Spread Through Apartment Buildings

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