FAQ: Is this a bed bug? (photos of creatures mistaken for bed bugs)

by nobugsonme on July 4, 2008 · 8 comments

in bed bugs, photos

There are several creatures commonly mistaken for bed bugs by people who have not seen bed bugs or haven’t seen different life stages of bed bugs.

Booklice (a type of psocid) are often confused for bed bug nymphs:


Photo courtesy of LieutenantDan.

An anonymous Bedbugger helpfully recommended this military fact sheet (click for a PDF) on book lice with helpful identification tips (hint: booklice have a large protuberance on the front of their heads).

Spider Beetles are often confused for adult bed bugs:

Photo courtesy of Lou Sorkin.

The presence of these creatures may mean you do not have bed bugs. In some cases, it may also mean you have bed bugs and something else, and just have not seen the bed bugs yet.

To determine if you also have bed bugs, click here to see photos of bed bugs and signs of bed bugs.

Got other imposters to add? Click below to leave a comment and link to a photo of the culprit!

1 Cody July 4, 2008 at 12:44 am

To quote someone else on the forum, “bless their hearts, they don’t drink blood.”

2 teal July 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm

these are not bed bugs this looks like Morgellons disease which is known to be contagious and is currently being investigated by infectious diseases. The reason someone would have it from one place to another is because it is them who have it in the skin. They believe it to be a parasite/worm mutated from pesticides. Try epson salt baths and then 3-6-9- oil on the skin. See if black gritty stuff comes out, then you’ll know for sure. Use diaper rash cream 40% zinc oxide.

3 nobugsonme July 6, 2008 at 1:16 am


You need to read the post you are commenting on. This is NOT Morgellon’s.

Those are photos of a booklouse (psocid) and a spider beetle. We are absolutely sure about this.

4 nobugsonme July 7, 2008 at 2:28 am
5 nobugsonme July 14, 2008 at 1:28 am

Added booklice fact sheet, helpful for identification. Just look at the schnozes on these guys!

6 bee January 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm

that spider beetle. I have seen them in every brick place i lived in brooklyn and manhattan.

very very easy to freak out over finding these if you don’t know. I think a lot of PCOs around here, just say “yeah itsa bedbug” and charge you for the spray.

glad to see so much good info around now. I am a veteran from 2003!

7 nobugs January 25, 2009 at 2:42 am

Yes — spider beetles are rife in NYC and many people think they’re bed bugs.

Glad you commented, but hope you are still bed bug free!

8 seriously phobic July 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm

I found something this morning between my mattress and box spring (after dreaming about bed bugs and deciding to inspect, once again, I’ve been petrified ever since traveled to Guatemala last summer and then on return started reading about the spread of bed bugs). It looks like a bed bug, but the lines on its body go up and down rather than side to side. Is this just a variation in bed bugginess? Something else?

Thanks so much, in advance, for the help!! (And please, please let it not be a bed bug!!! I’m going to go crazy.)

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