What is a Bat Bug?
Bat bugs are blood-sucking parasites that feed on the blood of bats. They will also bite humans. These parasites are closely related to bed bugs and often mistaken for them. In fact, microscopic identification is one of the only ways to distinguish between them. Bat bugs are flightless and travel by crawling.
Where Do They Live?
Bat bugs are moderately common in the Midwest, including Illinois. They are found in buildings and homes in which bats are present. They usually reside close to the bat’s roosting area, but will venture throughout the building if the bats leave or are removed. They do not live on bats, but may travel on a bat while they fly.
Bat bugs feed on the blood of bats but feed on other warm-blooded animals. They will feed on humans if given the opportunity. They can survive a year without a blood meal, but will search for human hosts if bats are not present.
Are They A Threat To Humans?
Bat bug bites are nearly identical to bed bug bites. There are a variety of different reactions that come from a bat bug bite. Some experience inflamed, swollen spots, others have intense itching, and others show no signs of bites. Bat bugs are not known to transmit any diseases currently. Though they are not dangerous, they are pests that can breed fairly quickly and become an infestation.
What To Do
If you discover bats in your home, garage, or nearby property call animal control immediately. Removing bats from your property will immediately decrease the risk of bat bugs. Be especially vigilant for bat presence in old or abandoned buildings like barns and sheds. In addition, minimize risk of bats and bat bugs entering your home by sealing small entrances between the roof, siding, foundation, windows, and doors.
If you believe you have bat bugs, call a pest control service to identify and eliminate them.