Is It a Bed Bug or Something Else?

Jul 31, 2023

Have you spotted something that looks like a bed bug in your home? Don’t panic! Bed bugs may be notoriously tricky to get rid of once they take up residence in your home, but professional bed bug treatment in Knoxville is available from Otis Termite and Pest Control! However, there is also a possibility that the pest you caught a glimpse of is not actually a bed bug at all! Let’s take a look at some of the pests that resemble bed bugs!

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

If you are ready to call for bed bug treatment in Knoxville because you think you have spotted one in your home, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with what a bed bug actually looks like. They are a red/brown color and measure just 4-7 millimeters in length. For reference, that’s about the size of a flaxseed or an apple pip! A bed bug will have six thin legs and a flat, oval-shaped abdomen. After it feeds, the abdomen bloats, becoming the shape of a football with a more red tinge. One of the key features that will distinguish bed bugs from other tiny pests is that they have a small head and thorax that is protected by a wide plate called the pronotum. Juvenile bed bugs, or nymphs, look very similar to their adult counterparts but are smaller and lighter in color. If you see an adult or juvenile bed bug in your home, it is important to call for bed bug treatment in Knoxville immediately. Bed bugs can breed at alarming rates, and an infestation can take hold very quickly if left unchecked.

Pests That Resemble Bed Bugs

As mentioned above, it is relatively common for homeowners to mistake other tiny pests for bed bugs. This is to be expected since most people do not have the experience to identify pests accurately. It is also one reason we will conduct an assessment first when you book bed bug treatment in Knoxville. Let’s take a look at some of these pests that may be mistaken for bed bugs.

1 - Baby Cockroaches

Cockroach nymphs are often mistaken for bed bugs because they have a similar size and color. Baby cockroaches are small, wingless insects with flat, reddish-brown bodies. This description almost precisely matches the description of an adult bed bug! The key difference that can help you to tell the difference is that a baby cockroach has a narrow, pill-shaped body and long antennae. They also have a wide head that is more rounded at the front. They do not have the protruding mouth that a bed bug does. If you decide that what you see in your home is more likely to be a cockroach nymph, that is a sign of a substantial cockroach infestation! You may not need bed bug treatment in Knoxville, but you do need pest control!

2 - Fleas

Fleas are another pest that is commonly taken for a bed bug infestation. Like many of the other pests on this list, fleas visually resemble bed bugs with their small red/brown wingless appearance. They also share the characteristic of leaving small itchy bites on your body! However, fleas feature a fairly unique body shape. They have an oval body like bed bugs, but theirs is vertically flattened, making them one of the few bugs lying on their sides.

3 - Ticks

Blood-sucking is not the only thing that ticks and bed bugs have in common! Both pests appear small and flat with wingless oval bodies. If they have not fed, ticks are only about 1-5 mm, making them around the same size as a bed bug. However, they become much larger when they feed as the previously flat body takes on a round bulbous shape. It is also easier to tell them apart because ticks are actually arachnids, not insects, so they have eight legs compared to bed bugs which have six. The most prominent difference between the two is not a physical one but comes from the fact that bed bugs do not transmit disease, while ticks can trigger diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

4 - Bat Bugs

Bat Bugs are actually close relatives of bed bugs, so the two would have some similarities in their appearance. Unlike bed bugs, which feed on humans, the bat bug has evolved to feed only on bats - hence the name! They are almost identical in appearance to bed bugs, but they can be identified by short fuzzy hairs covering their bodies. They are also a slightly darker color than bed bugs.

These are just some of the pests in the home that might look a lot like bed bugs. If you may need bed bug treatment in Knoxville, call Otis Pest Control to book an assessment. We will help to identify what is lurking in your home and suggest the most appropriate pest control options.


Otis Termite & Pest Control is a full-service pest control company with a focus on outstanding service. We have been serving the East Tennessee area for over 56 years and our reputation is built on prompt and effective service. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast. We do the job right the first time – and that’s an actual guarantee! 

Call 865.690.1662 or visit



Emily Moeck

"I unknowingly moved into a home that had a HUGE bed bug infestation..."Don't you worry, we are on top of this until they are gone, I promise!"... Jack was knowledgeable and honest in his assessment of my house/treatment methods. Thank you, Jack and Rocky and the whole Otis team! My home is home again!"


Joshua Weaver

"Prompt responses and appointment times. Very friendly and knowledgeable. Straight forward service without any "pushing" for extras."


Charlotte Bishop

"These guys were super helpful and kind. Jack thoroughly explained every procedure and made what could have been a horrible situation much more bearable. I definitely recommend them!"


Tamie Ridenour

"Excellent service and staff!! They were at my house the same day I called, for New construction pre-treatment!"


Cathy Amos

"Highly recommend! Jack and Rocky are great! You've got a business and highest recommendation! Great people to work with!"

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