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Conflicting entomology ID's !

(8 posts)
  1. Huckemon

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 12:36:35
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    Last Monday (Aug 1), I found a live bat in my house. It swooped in the living room while we were watching tv, and then flew upstairs into our bedroom. Never saw a bat or indication of a bat before.
    We were able to catch the bat and fortunately it tested negative for rabies.

    On Tuesday (Aug 2), at 11pm I found a bug on my pillow. I captured the bug in a ziplock bag and proceeded to examine the bed and headboard. On the floor just below my pillow I discovered bat droppings. Some bat droppings were also found in my living room on my bookcase. No evidence of bugs, fecal staining, or castes were seen.
    I sent this bug to Penn State University Entomology for identification.

    On Wednesday (Aug 3), I found a similar bug on the window trim in bathroom (approximately 50ft from bedroom).
    I captured said bug in a ziplock bag and sent this one to Cornell University Entomology.

    The results are in, and much to my HORROR:
    PSU ID - Eastern Bat Bug
    Cornell U ID- Bed Bug

    WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?! What is the next reasonable step??? I am unfortunately in a state of complete meltdown over this and have no clue what to do now. I am living in a limbo horror story.
    Any advice would be so much appreciated.

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 12:40:21
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    Unlikely that you have both bat and bed bugs, the Cornell id may have been a bit hasty.
    I would contact a PCO and let them know that you have bats in the attic or wherever and need to get rid of them and the bat bugs that are feeding on them.

  3. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 14:43:53
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    Bugs not returned (most likely not)? Were both bugs adults? You took a picture of each prior to sending off for ID? "Lucky" enough to find more?

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  4. Huckemon

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 20:34:26
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    I did take photos but they are poor quality as I've only got an iPhone 5S to use. I found 2 more bugs tonight. 1 on top of my exposed bed sheet, and 1 was on hand! I scrutinized my mattress and box spring for over 2 hours and am finding zero indicators; no fecal staining, no castes, no bugs.
    I am seriously considering sending my 2 new unwelcome guests to a 3rd entomologist at a different university for identification.
    Although they are different sizes, they all appear to be unfed adults. I will attempt to upload some photos.

  5. Huckemon

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 20:47:34
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  6. jim danca

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 21:24:47
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    Looks recently fed.

    PCO and inventor of a bio active bedbug trap
  7. GeekOnTheHill

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Tue Aug 9 2016 22:11:57
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    Maybe Certainly Lou or one of the other entomologist-type folks on here can tell the two species apart better than I can, but I'll readily admit that I can't tell bed bugs from bat bugs from looking at a picture unless it's a dorsal view (that is, looking down on the insect) of microscopic quality that clearly shows the thorax.

    The most reliable morphological difference between the two that I know of is that the dorsal thoracic hairs are about twice as long on bat bugs as they are on bed bugs. As a frame of reference, if the hairs are longer than the size of the protuberance of the eyes, then it's a bat bug. If they're shorter, then it's a bed bug. There are other differences, but they're much more subtle and subjective.

    When I was working as a PCO I carried a 10x - 30x microscope with me. It was small and fit in my pocket, and it had a built-in light. If you have or can get such a thing, you can look at the insects yourself. Maybe both universities were right and you really do have both species. It would be very unlikely, but there's no theoretical reason why you can't have both. It's just very unlikely, not impossible.

    As for the bats, you need them gone. Rabies is the thing most people think of first with regard to bats, but in a typical infestation, the guano actually presents more of a health risk because humans rarely come in contact with the bats themselves. The guano, on the other hand, is a medium for various fungal pathogens (especially histoplasmosis), whose spores can become airborne and travel through the home, especially if you have HVAC equipment or duct work in the attic.

    That being said, the bat species that commonly infest homes are overwhelmingly beneficial animals. They find mosquitoes very tasty and feast on them every night. So avoid anyone who calls himself a "bat exterminator." In any state I've ever worked in, controlling bats by poisoning them is illegal.

    Instead, bats are controlled by sealing them out of a home, not by killing them. They typically are controlled by wildlife control companies, although some pest control companies also do non-lethal bat removal and exclusion. Also make sure to choose a company that will clean up and cart away the guano. There can be literally tons of it in a long-standing infestation.

    You should also replace any insulation that's been contaminated, as well as treat for the bat bugs and any other displaced extoparasites. If the insulation has to be replaced, then the proper sequence is: Remove and seal out the bats -> remove the guano and contaminated insulation -> sanitize and treat for parasites -> replace the insulation.

    Richard

  8. loubugs

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Wed Aug 10 2016 5:47:29
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    I'm in accord with Richard. Also can't tell much from the pictures.


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