In Informative Articles

Nearly everyone has been “bugged” by gnats, flies, and mosquitoes, possibly even lice. But how many have ever heard of, much less been the victim of “bat bugs” or scientifically known as bat mites? Instead of being someone’s bad idea of a comic book antihero, bat mites are real. And they can be a real nuisance.

Most people are familiar with bed bugs or dust mites, so when we find ourselves bitten by annoying little insects, we assume we should treat the area to get rid of those insects. We usually treat an infested area with insecticides, believing that will end the infestation. Many a landlord has hired a professional insect control company, only to have his tenants complain of re-infestation within a short time after the treatment was applied. These landlords have found out the hard way that, if so-called “bed bugs” return, it is quite likely that those “bed bugs” are actually bat mites.

As the name would suggest, bat mites are tiny little parasites that feed on bats. Bat mites, like their hosts (especially brown bats that roost in colonies), love to live in dark, protected areas and narrow retreats where it is difficult to find and get rid of them. They live a relatively long time for such little creatures—up to a year in cool areas.

Property owners will sometimes use aerosol bombs or other insecticide treatments, hoping to drive the bats away or kill any nesting bats while killing the insects. However, this is not a good course of action. Assuming that the bats are driven out by the aerosol, they will soon return. And a new infestation of mites, carried in on the returning bats, will soon replace any mites killed by the aerosol. The only effective way to get rid of the mites is to get rid of the bats first, making sure they cannot return. Only then will any mite control be effective.Bat guano cleanup

Even if all the bats have been excluded and the site is now officially “bat-free,” there is still a likelihood that “bat bugs” are lurking in the corners, behind the wallpaper, in the carpets, or possibly in bedding­—searching for a new source of food. This source may end up being human tenants or their pets, so steps should be taken to get rid of the mites.

Suppose there is evidence of bat mites in bedding. Should you use an insecticide on the bedding? The answer is an emphatic “No!” Bedding should always be protected from insecticide. Rather, frequent washing of the sheets in hot water and the use of mattress covers specifically designed for control of mites are recommended. Special mattress covers can be found online or in stores specializing in allergy-control bedding.

If bats are suspected and a building’s tenants are itching, or you’ve already employed a pest control service but still have bugs, take these steps in order to assure your bat mite problem is solved:

  • Have a bat exclusion professional exclude the bats from your property
  • Have the bat guano cleaned up so as to remove the source of smell and the histoplasmosis spores
  • Have the area treated for bat mites
  • Protect bedding with allergy- or mite-control bedding

There is no need to continue to coexist with bat mites (or bats). By calling in a bat control specialist, you will be able to control both problems, saving yourself time (no other exterminators needed), money (only one exterminator at one price and any tenants will not be tempted to leave because of the bugs), and hassle (letting the professionals handle the pests is the safest, most effective way of ridding yourself of both bats and bat mites). Be sure to call if you suspect bats or bat mites. You’ll be pleased with the results.

Your local bat removal expert,
Michael Koski

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Showing 26 comments
  • Roger sink
    Reply

    can bat bat or bed bugs live in heat ducts or around furnace?

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Infestations in human dwellings are usually introduced by bats carrying the bugs on their skin. Bat bugs usually remain in close proximity to the roosting locations of the bats that introduced them (attics, chimneys, etc.) but explore the rest of the building if the bats leave or are eliminated. So this question really depends on where the bats are roosting in the building. In some cases, they have been known to move into area that are more typical of bedbugs, such as mattresses and bed frames, as the two species are related. Bat bugs are drawn to the heat and the carbon monoxide that humans produce. Have you checked your furnace area for carbon monoxide?

  • Gabby
    Reply

    We recently had a bat removal company come out in summer time and put up exclusions but now I have found two bugs that may be considered bat bugs. I found one in the upstairs where the bat was initially found and the other near my kitchen sink. I never noticed them before but is it possible for the bugs to appear now that the bats are gone?

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Yes, actually, it is. Bat bugs can live for up to a year without the bats around. That is very rare though. Bat bugs specifically need to feed off of bat blood. They will bite humans if they are desperate but it will not sustain them long term and they will die. They are treated for pretty easily but many general pest control companies don’t treat them correctly because they don’t realize they are bat bugs. If you can take any good pictures, feel free to send them to our customer service along with a brief explanation and your contact info. We’ll take a look at the pictures for you. Email them to customerservice@getbatsout.com.

  • Valerie Mazewski
    Reply

    I have had these bugs in my apt that look like tiny bats they are all over my apt they do bite me and they are all over me in my hair everywhere I thought they were coming from the plumbing, but they are all over the place and it’s giving me major anxiety please help

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Hi Valerie, bat bugs don’t actually look like bats. They resemble bed bugs in many ways which is why the article discusses how to tell them apart. In order for you to have bat bugs, you also have to have bats present. Bat bugs are tiny mites that live and feed off of bats. Unless you are concerned there are bats there as well, they most likely are not bat bugs. They sound more like lice or fleas to me personally but I’m not an exterminator and I would take his opinion over mine.

  • Misty Holley
    Reply

    Hi, we recently had our attic cleaned out because of an infestation of bats. They cleaned it out, sealed it up where they were getting in, and put a tube in so the bats that were still in there could get out. So we’re talking over a hundred bats up there. I thought they would dig through the ceiling at times. Anyway, the opening for the attic is right over my bed. I moved it and covered it but it wasn’t good enough. So, about two weeks later I’m getting bit up. The size of half dollar bites. They itch so bad. I have wash all my bedding, clothing in my closet, every thing, sprayed every thing with rubbing alcohol. And I’m still getting bit. I’m still finding those irritating bugs. They itch so bad. After they itch they leave a painful punch. Should I worry about rabies? Their mouth/ blood has been hooked to a bat and then hooked to me. I kinda feel like I’m in a vampire movie here.

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      When we do a bat removal job of the size you are describing, we keep a close eye out for bat bugs. If bat bugs are present there is a treatment that can be used (yes, a pesticide) to kill them before they go looking for another host. Your situation is a good example of a company that didn’t know what they were doing unfortunately. Once the bats have been excluded, the bat bugs have no choice but to go in search of a new host. The bad news is, they are more than likely throughout your house now and they obviously found you. The good news is, bat bugs can only live short term off of anything other than a bat. They will die out naturally and soon judging by the timeline you laid out. They can only survive a few weeks on human blood. As far as rabies concerns, I do not know of anyone that has gotten rabies from a bat bug. That said, I don’t fully know the answer to that question. It could be possible? Rabid bats don’t tend to live in colonies of bats though. They are usually either kicked out or leave voluntarily when they are sick. I would definitely recommend calling your doctors office. Let them know the situation and ask for their professional medical advice. There may be other infectious diseases for you to worry about and your doctors office should be able to help you.

  • Darlene
    Reply

    My neighbors disgusting house had bats. A company bought the house and cleaned it out. I have not seen the bats this summer. I thought I had bed bugs but had a company inspect my house and I do not. I’m thinking that I have bat bugs. I’m totally freaked out. Could I have bat bugs in my house from them cleaning up the house next door? And could the bat bugs get on anyone at my house and they carry them to their house? I am scared to have my grandchildren spend the night. I do not want any getting in their clothes and then end up at their house.

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      The odds of you having bat bugs from a neighbors property are slim to none. Bat bugs have to stay close to their host (bats) for feeding purposes. They may bite humans or other mammals as a last ditch effort to stay alive but they have to have bat blood to live. There is always the possibility that when they cleaned up the house next door that the bats are now living in your house. That is much more likely than you just having random bat bugs. Bats typically move to the next closest structure when an exclusion is done. Your whole neighborhood may end up chasing them around. Do a twilight watch on your own house and if you see a colony flying out, you’ll know for sure. Call our customer service at 877-264-2287 if you don’t know what that is and they’ll go over it with you.

  • OMG!
    Reply

    I just moved in my condo and I had to chase a bat out in the middle of the night. I’m waiting for your company to contact me for a consultation, but I notice red spots on me and my daughter. I have one on my knee and she has two on her forehead and several on her cheeks We’re currently sleeping on an air mattress until my furniture arrives. Are bat bugs able to live/survive on a air mattress? Or is it the linens.

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Hi there. I’m pretty sure my customer service should’ve covered this when they spoke with you over the weekend, but just in case. Those red spots could be bat bug bites. Until you know for sure if there is an infestation (or was until recently since you just moved in) I would operate under the premise they are from some sort of parasite which both bat bugs and bed bugs fall into. I don’t know if they carry infectious diseases but I’ve never heard of an account of someone getting more than just uncomfortably bit. They will itch and burn a little for a couple days but should go away. I’m not a medical expert though, so if you have any concerns about them I would seek a doctor.

  • Samantha Branson
    Reply

    My family and I are living in a large two story home that I know has a bat infestation. We have called pest control companies about the bats on several occasions and were told that it is illegal to remove them. My bedroom is directly attached to the attic and I can hear bats every night as I am trying to sleep. The past two mornings I have woken up with six or seven new bites all over me. I found a couple of bugs that look like mature bed bugs in the past, but I didn’t look into it because I wasn’t being bitten. I immediately informed my mother and have spent all day reading up on this problem to try to make sure I’m diagnosing it correctly. I slept downstairs last night, but still woke up with bites all over me. I’m still not sure if it’s definitely bat mites, considering that. We have contacted an exterminator, but he or she can’t come out till Monday. The problem is that I am about to move out of my family’s home so many of my belongings are already packed. How can I clean the packed away items to be sure that i don’t bring this pest to my new apartment? Does lavender or tea tree oil help repel them?

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      That’s hard to answer given you aren’t sure if you have bat bugs or bed bugs. Bat bugs, even if taken to your new home, will die off rather quickly. They need bat blood to survive. They will occasionally bite a human when they have no other choice but our blood will not sustain them and they will eventually die. Bat bugs also stay close to their host. Typically they stay on the bats or in the roost area. Normally, the time we see the bat bugs make their way into your home is after you have excluded the bats and they go searching for a new food source. If it is bed bugs that you are struggling with, I’m not an expert, but my understanding on them is that once infested they are very hard to get rid of. Many people carry them from house to house. I’ve even heard you can pick them up at a hotel and take them home with you. Make sure and ask the exterminator that comes to your house about bed bugs. If you are wanting us to come check out the bat/bat bug problem, call my customer service about setting up an appointment.

  • Tim
    Reply

    Hello I have been finding bugs around my house that resemble bat bugs but I am not 100% certain if they are bat bugs. I took a picture and tried to send it to the customerservice email you posted above but it does not work. Is there another email I could send a picture to? Thank you very much in advance for any assistance with this frustrating bug problem!!

  • Christine
    Reply

    We have bats in a rental house and the renters stated there were bat bugs flying around the recessed light fixtures in the upstairs bedroom. The renters are already complaining of symptoms from the guano and their 4yo walks around talking about bat poop and also guano.
    So I guess my main question right now is do the bat bugs/mites fly ? I have been reading about bats, guano, bugs and histoplasmosis but I can’t find any info regarding if they fly or just crawl.
    We did put a bird type of a noise machine in the area to hopefully scare the bats away. Also we are waiting for an exterminator to take a look at our situation.
    Thank you

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      No, my understanding is they do not fly. They are very similar to bed bugs/mites. They only crawl around. They can’t even jump long distances. Sounds like they are pretty upset about the situation if the 4 year old is talking about it. Noise machines don’t work on bats. It may drive them away temporarily (a few days tops) but they will live with it. Bats are a protected species so I don’t recommend having them exterminated. We use a 100% humane removal method. Let us know if you would like us to send out a technician to take a look for you.

  • Will
    Reply

    Hi, I have something in my apartment that has been biting me for the last 2 weeks on and off. I have searched for the tale tell of bed bugs, but have found no evidence, and if so, I have no clue how they would have gotten into my apartment. Anyway, I was reading about bat bugs and how they get confused with bedbugs and I remembered then seeing a tiny bug in my room like those described. It was during the day time, and right after I moved in my potted plants from outside to the inside for winter. Could I have brought one in with my plants? I have no pets, but I also cleaned the bird roosters ( emptied the houses, threw out the nests, and left them clean for next year). I saw no bugs in them… but, could that have caused me to come into contact with either kind of bug? This is so scary and depressing… Also they just remodeled the apartment below me and had to get rid of carpets and floors… Could they have come from there? Thanks.

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Hi Will, typically bat bugs are something we see with pretty bad infestations. Bat bugs actually look extremely similar to bed bugs. The main difference is some little hairs on their body. I hate to suggest it, but have you considered fleas? Those are more likely to have been tracked in from outside than a bat bug.

  • lace
    Reply

    Help…our home was treated for bed bugs at least 3 times. Once we tried on our own. They are so tricky, we only found one in our trap under a bed. We’ve had three professionals come out and a dog non could find them! I took the bugs we did catch and took them to our university and had them look and make sure it was a bed bug . They said it was. so We had a professional come out and heat treat. My kids were still getting bit so the company came out two more Times . then we found one in our bathroom and he look at it under a microscope and he said it was a bet bug. He sprayed around the house. My husband sealed the attic and sprayed it a few months ago. but we hear bats again in the attic and found yet another bug on my something while laying in bed.
    I’m going to take it to the university and have it checked again but seriously it’s been a year and $3,000 later!!!!
    I’m about to have a nervous break down!!!

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Bed bugs and bat bugs look almost identical to the naked eye. The only difference is when you observe them closely, the bat bugs have little hairs surrounding the outside edge of their body. So someone that doesn’t know the difference, is almost always going to say bed bug because most people have never heard of bat bugs. This is an odd time of year to be hearing bats in the attic unless you live in the south where it’s warm? Bats either migrate or hibernate in the winter months. The best and most cost effective solution to your problem, is to get rid of the bats. Bat bugs can’t live without their host. They will bite humans while looking for an alternative food source but ultimately, they have to have bat blood to live. Bat bugs can only live a couple of weeks at most without the bats. Now comes the really bad news, if your family is getting bitten by bat bugs, it indicates you have a rather large colony that has been living with you for a long time. Bats are very instinctual and will do anything to get back in their roost once you evict them. The larger the colony and the longer it’s been there, the more likely it is they will find a way back in. Bats can squeeze through a hole as small as 5/8 of an inch. I know you said your husband sealed the attic, but that means different things to different people. I strongly recommend you either call my customer service and discuss having one of our technicians come do an inspection to bat proof your home, or that you purchase our DIY guide if your husband wants to give it a try again. Best of luck!

  • Sissy Cherry
    Reply

    My friend says bat mites have gotten into her hair and that they leave a glue like substance which crust over, and is IMPOSSIBLE to remove/wash/comb out. Any suggestions?

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      Yes, I recommend seeing a doctor because that isn’t bat bugs.

  • Paula
    Reply

    Hi~~ I killed 3 bugs on 3/3, 3/5 and 3/11, 2 of them were red and round, size was like sesame, the 3rd one was a little bit bigger than the 1st and 2nd one and it was half clear and half red, so I thought they were bed bugs. However, I didnt find any eggs, shed skins, dark stains on the mattress and bed frame (the bed bug articles say those are the signs of bed bug infection). Now I am wondering they were bat bugs. Can you describe how the bat bug babies look like? I live on the 2nd floor of the apt bldg and there are some cracks in my bedroom, is it possible for them to get into my home? I live in NYC, I went to Central Park on 2/23 and I found the first bite two three days after that, is it possible I got the bat bug babies from there coz I did walk under the trees and bridge. Sorry about my message is so long, hope you can help me. Thanks for your time.

    • GetBatsOut
      Reply

      The only real way to tell the difference between bed bugs and bat bugs is by a ring of hair that the bat bugs have. They are of the same species family and look very similar other than that. You would have to examine them under a magnifying glass or take a picture and blow it up to see the hairs. Do you know if your apartment building has a bat problem? Is the second floor that you are on the top floor of the building? Have you ever experienced an odor issue that doesn’t go away in the summer? There are many things that go into the question you are asking. I highly doubt you picked them up at the park. Anything is possible though. Bat bugs are usually a sign of a serious bat infestation. It may be better for you to call our customer service. We don’t charge to just talk to you and help you figure this out a little more.

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