While there are about 90 different species of bed bugs, only three are actually known to feed on humans. Learn more about the different types of bed bugs.
Learn about the different types of bed bugs, their identifying characteristics and how to tell them apart with these frequently asked questions about bed bugs.
How many types of bed bugs are there?
There are less than 90 species of the bloodsucking insect family, Cimicidae. Of these, only three feed on humans: Cimex hemipterus, Leptocimex boueti and Cimex lectularius. The most common species of bed bug is C. lectularius. It is the cause of almost all infestations in the United States
Do bed bugs differ by region?
Yes. C. lectularius is a global scourge found mainly in subtropical and temperate climates like the United States. C. hemipterus is most commonly found in the tropics, but has stirred up trouble in Florida and California. L. boueti is only found in West Africa and South America.
Do all bed bug species feed on humans?
C. lectularius and C. hemipterus feed mainly on people but will get blood meals from birds, rats, dogs and other mammals if no humans are present. L. boueti feeds mainly on bats but won't turn down an easy human meal.
Are there similar bugs you should worry about?
The swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) and bat bug (Cimex adjunctus) can both bite humans but prefer birds and bats, respectively. If you have bats or birds in and around your home, you may have either bug, or both, in addition to household bed bugs. It's important that a trained expert make the distinction between swallow and bat bugs versus bed bugs since managing mammal, rodent and insect nesting is vital to locating these pests and the source of the infestation. If you have live poultry on your property, the Mexican chicken bug (Haematosiphon inodora) might also be a concern.
How can you tell what type of bed bug you have?
It's difficult to tell bed bugs apart. Common bed bugs have a wider prothorax and flatter margins than tropical bed bugs. Bat bugs have pronotum hairs that are longer than the width of their eye. Unless you're an expert with a microscope, most bed bugs simply look the same.
No matter what bug is biting you, call in the pest management professionals like Terminix®. All types of bed bugs that threaten your family deserve to be dealt with in the same manner: swiftly and severely.