Beds are one of the most common places for tiny bugs to hide in. Sheltered and easily to crawl into, beds also offer an ideal place for small bugs to lay eggs in.
Correct species identification is needed when it comes to getting rid of these bugs as many aren’t bed bugs just because they live on the bed.
It’s also important to correctly identify each bug as some of them can bite and even spread diseases.
Tiny bugs come in many shapes and colors. Many are brown, just like bed bugs, but there are small bugs that come in other colors as well.
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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Adult bed bugs have a flattened seed-like shape and size. They are tiny bugs in the size and shape of an apple seed.
Bed bugs have a light brown or a dark brown color. This color turns to almost black as soon as bed bugs suck the blood of animals or humans.
Bed bugs are seen in groups or alone in beds. They measure up to 10mm as adults, but most are smaller, closer to 6-7mm.
17 Tiny Bugs in Bed But Not Bed Bugs
The following species in beds are most commonly confused with bed bugs as they can live on the bed.
1. Bat Bugs
Bat bugs used to be even more common than bed bugs. They are now the second most common type of bug in beds.
These bugs resemble bed bugs considerably since they have a similar color and a similar shape.
Bat bugs are very common in a building that has bats or in buildings that had bats.
It takes about 2 weeks for these bugs to turn into adults from eggs. This means eggs can still hatch even after bats are eliminated from a house.
Bat bugs live attached to bats. These brown bugs are then left without a hose whenever bats are killed or eliminated from the house.
Bat bugs suck blood and they cannot transmit diseases by themselves but they can transmit multiple serious diseases and bacteria from bats.
Controlling bat bugs often involves controlling bats.
You need to ensure the space in the attic or the basement is clear of bats to truly eliminate these bugs from the house.
Fleas have brown bodies that are flattened at the sides, similar to bed bugs. They are seen alone or in groups in beds and homes with pets or animals around.
Fleas are some of the most problematic pests found in the bed as they drink blood, multiply quickly, and bite resulting in itchy skin.
Itches caused by fleas easily last 2 weeks or even more.
Most fleas get into beds from pets. They jump from one place to another quickly getting in the bed if needed.
Fleas also multiply rapidly. They drink the blood of sleeping humans and lay eggs that turn into larvae.
The larvae of fleas feed on the feces of adult fleas which still contain blood traces.
Eliminating fleas from the bed involves proper cleaning and vacuuming the house. Some items such as heavily infested bedsheets should be completely discarded.
Fleas can spread all types of diseases. They don’t need to come with certain diseases.
However, these tiny bugs easily spread flea allergy dermatitis which requires medical attention.
Fleas can cause typhus and even spread plague in the most extreme cases, some very well documented.
Some fleas enter homes through other pets. Rat fleas are known to come from rats.
Eliminating all rats, rodents, and other pests inside the house is also needed to clear fleas from the house.
The ticks are brown and black. The tiny bugs have a flattened body similar to bed bugs.
Most ticks make it onto beds carried from woodlands, grasslands, or anywhere else in nature.
These bugs prefer humid areas in the shade but they can be picked up while walking through tall vegetation even in a sunny area.
Ticks bite and they do so with or without immediate pain symptoms.
These bugs can cause all types of trouble later on as they stay attached to the skin.
Ticks cause infections if not removed with tweezers or they can help spread all types of diseases such as Lyme disease.
Using bug repellent and specific tick repellent is recommended when heading outdoors from March onwards.
Ticks might also require other preventive techniques such as wearing bright clothes as these can repel the bugs.
One of the easiest methods to eliminate the risk of carrying ticks in the bed is by taking a quick shower after camping or hiking.
There are certain risk factors when it comes to living ticks attached to the skin for longer. Apart from skin infections, this can cause, it can also help spread Lyme disease.
Not all ticks spread Lyme disease but those that carry it and that are attached to the skin for a long time are known to be problematic.
Booklice are one of the least impactful tiny bugs on beds that don’t bed bugs.
These tiny white, tan, or light brown bugs are sometimes impossible to spot as they only measure 1mm.
However, they can be spotted on mold as well as on some bedsheets.
If you find these bugs on your bed it’s a clear indication your home has high humidity and mold problems.
Tiny mold particles on bedsheets might be attracting the species.
However, these bugs are mostly attracted to tiny mold particles growing on books. These particles stick to the glue holding the books together.
Booklice don’t carry diseases but they can still be annoying.
You can eliminate booklice by vacuuming the house and by reducing humidity levels which eliminate mold.
The presence of booklice isn’t tied to pets such as with other bugs. Their presence is only tied to mold and high humidity.
High chances of housing booklice are specific in homes where high humidity is persistent.
Good ventilation is needed in homes to eliminate these bugs.
Once a bed is infested the entire house is infested as well. All surfaces should be wiped clean after fixing the humidity issues of the house.
5. Spider Beetles
Spider beetles look similar to real spiders and they grow to 3.5mm.
Most of these aren’t easy to be seen even on the bed since they only come out at night as nocturnal beetles.
The diet of Spider beetles resembles the diet of cockroaches as these bugs are scavengers.
You can identify them by their spider-like body with a light brown cephalothorax and a dark brown to the black dome-shaped abdomen.
These bugs eat all types of food affected by moisture. They can make their way from the pantry to the bed easily.
Bugs of this genus can infest food and carry all types of bacteria from the house to the food leading to gastrointestinal problems.
While they don’t bite, Spider beetles can create a large number of problems by contaminating food.
Spider beetles are eliminated by fixing moisture problems and by storing food properly.
Bug traps prove efficient in dealing with Spider beetles you find around the bed.
Sticky traps can be placed around the bed so that these bugs are eventually eliminated.
Similar traps can be installed around the house as chances are these bugs are coming from the pantry.
6. Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles come in a white, orange, brown, and yellow body and a similar in size and shape compared to bed bugs.
Carpet beetles can fly. This makes some of the pests most likely to end up on your bed given they can easily transition from any surface to your bedsheets.
These bugs cannot bite and they do not spread disease.
Carpet beetles cause economic losses by the damage they create to carpets, bedsheets, and bed covers.
These bugs eat natural fibers such as wool, silk, and cotton. Bed coverings with these fibers are the most likely to be infested.
You can rest assured these bed bugs don’t bite but they can eat through your linen and even the mattress itself.
Carpet beetles need to be kept out by limiting the number of plants you bring into the house or by checking them for infestation.
Carpet beetles also make their way indoors by flying through open windows when attracted to artificial light.
You need to install window screens to keep them out.
Thorough cleaning is recommended if carpet beetles are already in your house. Make sure to check for the most secluded areas under the mattress and in carpets since these bugs can first appear elusive.
Eliminating carpet beetle eggs requires good vacuuming as these eggs can hatch a few weeks later even after you eliminate adults.
7. Cockroach Nymphs
Cockroach nymphs are often found in remote areas where they can feed on skin and hair, such as the bed.
These nymphs have a shiny brown color and they grow to an average size of ¼ inches.
These nymphs are quickly identified on your bed and they signal a significant cockroach problem in your house.
While they don’t bite, they need to be immediately eliminated from your house. Cockroaches need to be eliminated so that nymphs don’t start to appear in your house again.
Cockroaches are found in homes with sufficient food and moisture.
Roaches are scavengers and they eat almost any type of organic material they find.
This includes leftover food and decaying food.
Cockroach nymphs in the bed might require changing the sheets and the mattress as well as vacuuming the entire house with a powerful vacuum cleaner.
Finding and killing the roach nest is also important. Roaches can be filled with traps, pesticides, boric acid, or by spraying concentrated essential oils on them.
Sealing all gaps and entryways for roaches is crucial when it comes to preventing possible future invasions.
8. Swallow Bugs
Swallow bugs are a type of small brown seed-like flattened bug that’s a parasite of Cliff swallows.
This small bird parasite lives and feeds on the blood of the bird and it can bite humans to drink blood in the absence of these birds.
Swallow bugs make their way onto the bed by crawling, especially when starved.
There are multiple reasons why Swallow bugs could be starved and looking for their next blood meal.
The most important one is Cliff swallows leaving the nest. This nest can be near the home or even inside the home.
As Bat bugs, Cliff swallows need to find a quick blood meal within 2 weeks to avoid starvation.
This can be the blood of humans.
Swallow bugs are so impactful in their blood-sucking lifestyle that even Cliff swallows do everything they can to avoid them.
This is why the small birds rarely come back to the same nesting site the following season. They only prefer to return to the second season so that these bugs can die.
However, Swallow bugs can survive a very long time if they can feed on humans or pets in the house, even until the following year.
Eliminating these bugs is difficult if you don’t know what they look like.
The seed-like bugs have alternative dark brown and light brown banding on their body. You need to vacuum them from the house and from around the house.
Ideally, you find the nest of the Cliff swallow so that you can eliminate their source as well.
9. Head Lice
Head lice can be similar to tiny bugs and you can sometimes see them with the naked eye.
These lice live on the head, as their name implies. They can be hard to spot as they move quickly.
Head lice hide in hair easily.
Once on the bed, head lice can be easier to spot.
You can get head lice from another person with head lice. They can be transferred by clothes, hats, and scarves.
Head lice cause extreme itching. Once you scratch, these bites of head lice can get infected prompting serious health concerns.
A bed infested with head lice needs to be properly cleaned, vacuumed, and cleaned again with a potent cleaner that can kill these small bugs.
Alternatively, you might even consider discarding all bed sheets and the mattress so that there are no head lice eggs left around to hatch.
Head lice infestations are never solitary as these bugs come in high numbers through rapid multiplication.
There are high chances of the house and the clothes in the house need cleaning at high temperature as well.
Various types of mites can live on the bed. They can feed on dust or organic materials and they can even bite at times.
Common mites on beds include the following.
- Itch mites
- Dust mites
All of these mites can cause mild or severe itching whenever they live on the bed. You typically discover these mites only when they bite and when your skin starts to itch.
It’s an indication you need to take action against the small bugs.
Properly washing with soap and water is recommended. Using a large brush to eliminate any remaining mites attached to the skin is also highly advisable.
Next, you need to clean the house and find where these mites are coming from.
Air quality decisions such as air filters might be a good investment with some mites such as dust mites.
These air filters eliminate dust mites constantly as long as you update the filters as and when needed.
Dehumidifiers can help as well. Almost all types of dust mites love high indoor humidity and you can only eliminate it with very good ventilation or by using a dehumidifier.
Dust mites don’t bite but they can cause allergic reactions.
Common allergic reactions to these small bugs that can live on the bed include a runny nose, itchy skin, or red eyes.
You might need to eliminate all dust particles from the bedroom to keep these mites out of the hood.
Using an air purifier is among the most simple methods of killing dust mites.
Chances are these mites are also present on other surfaces if you have them on the bed.
They can be spotted on the carpet or clothes as well.
Termites such as subterranean termites are shiny brown and similar to bed bugs. They should not live on the bed but they can get on the bed at times.
Termites don’t bite people by purpose. They don’t spread diseases either.
These tiny bugs pose a more serious threat to your home which can suffer structural damages following a termite invasion.
Termites excavate softwood in your home until they eat out large chunks of it to make parts of your home unstable.
As with many mites, termites prefer homes with high humidity or even homes affected by water leaks.
Water softens wood and it makes it easier to chew through for termites.
You need to fix all water leaks and all other common issues such as high humidity caused by wood touching the ground directly.
A termite professional might be needed to assess the source of the termites to eliminate them.
Ants are a common problem on beds. They are attracted to beds they find sugary foods on.
If you’re the type of person that likes to eat in bed you might be facing a few ants or even an ant invasion in time.
Red Fire ants and other species similar to bed bugs might seem like a small problem at first.
But many ants bite and they soon become a painful itchy problem to face on the bed.
Ants are easy to eliminate by vacuuming the entire bed and by washing the sheets properly.
You need to find the main source of ants and what attracts them to your home to stop them from coming back.
Most likely it’s a type of food that attracts ants. Food that isn’t stored properly or that’s left to rot might attract ants.
Small and large ants that fly can also be attracted by lights and night.
They can fly into the house whenever they see an open window.
You can eliminate the problem of ant invasions by cleaning and storing all food away in the fridge and by blocking common entry points.
Installing mesh window screens can also be one of the small preventive measures that keep ants out.
All types of small brown spiders can be confused with bed bugs at times. Spiders get in the house for food.
Common spiders found in beds include.
- Sac spiders
- Jumping spiders
- Wolf spiders
- Common house spiders
- Cellar spiders
Some of these spiders build spider webs which means they move slower and that they have poor vision. Vacuuming these spiders quickly as possible.
Other spiders such as jumping spiders are harder to catch. These spiders quickly move from the floor to the bed also making a quick escape when you try to catch them.
Spiders can sometimes bite. They might inject venom causing skin irritation and local pain.
Spider bites can cause fever and they might require hospitalization in the most extreme cases.
You can eliminate spiders by clearing all insects and bugs they try to catch in the house.
Sealing all entry points is also mandatory as small spiders easily take advantage of cracks to move indoors.
Weevils are small black beetles that can make it onto the bed by accident.
These bugs with long snouts aren’t interested in living on the bed. They don’t bite and they don’t feed on foods around the house.
Weevils only feed on plants which means they are coming from potted plants or from other plants you might have around the house.
Careful examination of all the potted plants you bring in the house is recommended when it comes to keeping weevils out.
If you don’t have any potted plants but weevils are still found in the house you need to examine the immediate premises of your house.
Weevils are making their way indoors from outside.
Flowers planted next to the house and watered too often are one of the main sources of weevils that make it indoors.
Weevils don’t damage the house as they only eat plants.
They eventually get out or die of starvation as they only look for plants.
Springtails are some of the smallest bugs you can have on the bed. Some of them might not even be visible to the naked eye.
Most springtails found in homes range between 1 and 2mm in size.
They feed on decaying vegetation, bacteria, and all types of fungi growing on plants.
These bugs are identified by their small body with 6 legs which means they can move quickly but you may still vacuum them to remove them from the bed.
You need to check vegetation, compost, soil, and organic decaying vegetation in pots or in the garden to keep these bugs out.
Overwatering plants can favor the appearance of these bugs.
16. Stink Bug Nymphs
Stink bugs enter homes by accident. They are shield-shaped bugs that grow up to 17mm.
These bugs feed on various fruits such as berries and apples.
Stink bugs can make their way indoors to lay eggs as this provides a shelter space for their emerging nymphs.
Stink bug nymphs have a round color and they are visible on the bed or the carpet.
There’s no need to apply pesticides to keep these bugs and their nymphs out.
Simply vacuuming the bed and washing the bedsheets is sufficient to keep the bugs away.
No-see-ums are small biting gnats. They appear in the summer and they can be hard to see as they measure only 0.3 inches.
These small bugs are known to fly. They make their way onto the bed where they can bite people multiple times.
Their bites cause itching and scratches can cause infections.
No-see-ums develop in standing water, similar to mosquitoes.
Trimming vegetation around the house and eliminating sources of standing water are among the top methods of keeping these bugs out.
How to Get Rid of Tiny Bugs in Bed
Getting rid of very small bugs in the bed that don’t bed bugs isn’t complicated. You need to clean the bed, the house, and all of the items that came in contact with these bugs.
1. Vacuum the bed properly
Vacuuming the bed properly is always a good start. You need to vacuum the space under the bed and the bedroom itself as well.
Vacuuming removes even the bugs that aren’t visible or that are only barely visible such as dust mites or no-see-ums.
Frequent vacuuming is one of the leading actions when it comes to preventing these bugs and their eggs that can hatch within days.
Make sure to vacuum the entire house if the bugs are flying in through windows or crawling through cracks in walls or opening under doors.
2. Wash or discard bedsheets
Washing bedsheets is the next step to completely eradicating small bugs on the bed. These bedsheets need to be washed at a high temperature for a long cycle to kill the eggs of the bugs as well.
Some bedsheets might need to be discarded completely, depending on the bugs that live on them.
Head lice and other types of bugs that can make a quick escape are among the species that signal you need to throw out all of the bedsheets on your bed.
Make sure to add the bedsheets to a sealed plastic bag so that the bugs don’t reproduce in the garbage can.
3. Install an air purifier
Air purifiers are some of the best electronic tools against small airborne bugs such as dust mites.
These small bugs might not be easy to spot and an air purifier can filter them out.
All types of mites in the bedroom can be eliminated when using a good air purifier.
Furthermore, air purifiers are also good at eliminating odors that can attract many of these bugs to your bedroom.
Air purifiers can also eliminate the foods many bugs are interested in, such as small mold particles that aren’t visible.
All of these small particles are generated by high humidity and a good air filter might be needed alongside a potent dehumidifier.
4. Use a dehumidifier
High humidity is one of the main reasons all types of bugs live indoors. High humidity favors the appearance of fungus and mold, both known for attracting certain types of small bugs.
Dehumidifiers are used regularly, even if they don’t work all day to reduce high indoor humidity.
A dehumidifier might prompt these bugs to leave the house if they cannot access the food they are interested in anymore.
Some dehumidifiers have a dual dehumidification and purification function so they can replace an air purifier as well.
5. Eliminate standing water around the house
Standing water is a breeding ground for tiny bugs such as No-see-ums. You need to ensure there’s no standing water around the house.
This includes puddling water and water features that don’t work or that don’t purify water.
High humidity is also caused by puddling water, especially when it comes to indoor puddling water as is the case of basement water leaks.
6. Trim vegetation
Tall thick vegetation is a breeding ground for all types of bugs and insects.
Mites of all types live in thick vegetation feeding on plants and flowers.
They transition indoors whenever the weather gets colder easily.
Some fly indoors attracted to light at night.
Trimming vegetation around the house is one of the main preventive measures to consider against a wide range of bugs that can live both outdoors and indoors.
7. Install window screens
Window screens can be efficient against all bugs and flies that want to get indoors.
Bat buts trying to find a quick blood meal might be trying to make their way indoors by the window.
Other types of bugs such as Stink bugs might fly indoors attracted to light or looking for a warm place to nest or lay eggs in.
Window screens are affordable solutions for almost all of these species.
8. Avoid contact with homes and people suffering from bug bites
One of the reasons so many tiny bugs that feed on blood make it onto the bed is tied to coming in contact with an infected person.
Lice and ticks are just a few species that easily move from one host to another. They can see people as a rich blood meal and they can act as parasite species.
You should not be in contact with people that have head lice or people that carry ticks without a good reason and without properly ensuring you aren’t carrying these pests inside your house.
Some of these invasive species only travel with pets and people. As a result, you should also stay away from pets that seem to have constant itching as they could be carrying a blood-sucking bug that can multiply in your house.
9. Take a shower after camping or hiking
Some bugs bite without even people noticing. They can live attached to the skin or they can cause infections whenever not completely removed from the skin.
Taking a shower after walking outdoors through tall thick vegetation is always recommended.
If your skin is itching following a weekend in camp you shouldn’t postpone taking a shower as well.
You might bring in all types of biting bugs into your bed otherwise.
Even washing the clothes after hiking is always recommended before laying in bed to rest as many bugs attach themselves to clothes.
10. Kill all bugs and insects
Some predatory bugs and insects might solely be living on your bed to catch and eat other insects.
Spiders are one of the common categories that can make their way onto the bed to find other small insects and bugs.
At times, some spiders can even eat other spiders.
You need to ensure there are no flies, no mites, and no bugs in your home so that you don’t attract spiders onto the bed.
The more pests your home has the higher the chances of invasive species nesting indoors are.
Spiders set up spider webs when they notice flying or crawling insects in the house.
Some spiders such as jumping spiders can even jump on the bed when they see a small tiny bug they can eat.
All insects need to be treated seriously. Harmless insects that don’t bite can attract harmful insects that feed on human and animal blood in the house.
Beds are ideal places to lay eggs and to feed on human blood. Often attracted to human breath or a warm body, bugs that make it onto the bed are rarely truly harmless.
Non-biting tiny bugs on the bed can attract biting bugs and insects.
Most people believe only bed bugs are found on beds. As seen with the species above, there are multiple types of bugs that are interested to get on the bed or that get there by accident.
Frequently cleaning the house, eliminating food sources, clearing puddling water, and having high humidity issues are among the most common preventive measures when it comes to dealing with tiny bugs on beds.