May 11, 2019 at 12:00 a.m.
Q: I found these insects in my bathroom crawling on the floor. Can you tell me what they are? I hope they are not bed bugs!
Kim from Salem
R. Well, the good news is that, in a way, they are not bed bugs. But they are something very similar to a bed bug called a bat bug. Bats are for bats and bed bugs are for people
In appearance, they are almost identical to bed bugs. You need a diagnostic scope and a trained eye to differentiate them. One of our entomologists confirmed that they were actually bed bugs.
The bat insects feed on several different species of bats, some of which settle in colonies.
Bats can be found in our homes that live in attics, crawl spaces, holes in the walls, anywhere they can fit and take refuge.
Any location with bats can also have bat errors. If the bats die, they go or are excluded from the location, then any bat bugs will have to find another host. Any warm-blooded animal will do it, including people.
This situation is usually when we find bat insects in our living spaces. Once they have invaded our living spaces, and have found a host, they will settle in their new environment as well as bed bugs. They can be found on mattresses, in bed frames, behind baseboards and on the covers of electrical outlets.
Like bed bugs, bed bugs do not have any disease. But, just the idea of little vampires nearby makes almost everyone feel uncomfortable.
The key to controlling bat insects is to get rid of the bats and prevent them from re-entering the house. When we get rid of, we do not mean to kill, but to move to another place that is not the house.
Once the bats are gone, the area where they lived should be treated with an appropriate insecticide. The exits from this place that the bat insects could take to our housing areas should also be treated.
Bats can be carriers of diseases and can sting, and insects can find many ways to reach our living spaces. So you may want to contact a professional to deal with this problem for you. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to read and follow all the instructions on the insecticide label.
For information about bat bugs and control, go to http://go.osu.edu/batbug.
For details on how to make bats move from your home, go to http://go.osu.edu/batsout.
Today's response was provided by David Sprague, a master gardener of the OSU Extension in Mahoning County. The clinic is already open for spring. Call 330-533-5538 to submit your questions. The regular clinic hours are 9 a.m. at noon, Monday and Thursday.