Invasion of the Bloodsuckers: Bedbugs and Beyond
Other common household pests can easily be mistaken for bloodsuckers. Learn how to tell bloodsuckers apart from look-alikes such as spiders, mites, beetles, millipedes and silverfish
The wingless form of the booklouse is similar to the pubic louse, but does not have the latter’s stout legs and claws. Booklice are seldom found on humans.
Velvet Mite
Velvet mite
The velvet mite is very similar in general appearance to a soft tick. Often found foraging for insect prey along the ground, the velvet mite’s red color and lack of a hard back plate make it easy to identify.
Greenhouse Whitefly
Greenhouse whitefly
Trialeurodes vaporariorum
The whitefly looks like a tiny white moth. It is a common pest often found on houseplants. You can see that whiteflies are not lice because they have wings (lice do not).
Onion thrips,Thrips tabaci, bottom,
Western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, top. Thrips use sucking mouthparts to feed on cultivated plants, but sometimes bite humans. They differ from pubic lice in having a long, slender body. Adults may have wings (pubic lice never do).
Pseudoscorpion in the wild
This small arachnid looks like a tail-less scorpion. Normally found in the woods under loose bark, it also forages for insect prey inside houses. Its two large forelegs (pedipalps) easily tell it apart from ticks.
Chewing Dog Lice
Chewing dog lice
Trichodectes canis
This chewing louse feeds on dog dandruff and skin surface debris. Its head is much wider than that of the blood-sucking head louse. It only lives on dogs, with little chance of transfer to humans.
Pineapple Mealybug
Pineapple mealybug
Dysmicoccus brevipes
Another pest often found on houseplants, the mealybug is easily identified by the waxy secretion that covers its visibly segmented body.
Furniture Carpet Beetle
Furniture carpet beetle
Anthrenus flavipes
Adult and larva
This small beetle is considered a pest species in the home, especially its larva. Larval feeding can damage woolens, carpets, clothing, leather and upholstery. Adults are small, with the characteristic hard shell (often patterned), six legs and clubbed antennae.
Honeysuckle Aphid
Honeysuckle aphid
Hyadaphis tataricae
The aphid is a common pest of houseplants. Its fat body, spindly legs and the wings of the adult aphid easily distinguish it from the head louse.
Crane fly
Crane fly
Nephrotoma Crane flies, although they look like mosquitoes, are generally much larger. Most do not have long mouthparts, but those that do feed only on nectar. Other species may not feed at all. These long-legged flies are often found around lights at night.
Orchesella bulba
Collembola, or springtails, are small (0.25 to 6 mm) and, like fleas, can jump great distances. They do not bite humans. The springtail prefers secluded damp areas of greenhouses, cellars and gardens.
Wood Cockroach
Wood cockroach
Short-winged female with eggcase protruding from rear of abdomen.
Culex pipiens male
Male (large antennae, long palps)
Except for its large and feathery antennae, the male mosquito looks almost exactly like the female (which has slender antennae). The male does not feed on blood, but on sugary liquids such as nectar and other plant fluids.
Neoaliturus haematoceps
The small leafhopper can be a pest of houseplants and can "jump" like a flea. Unlike fleas, which are wingless, some leafhoppers have long, colorful wings that fold over the back.
German Cockroach
German cockroach
Blattella germanica
Adults and nymphs
A more common pest of households than the wood roach, the German roach nymph has longer antennae than a bedbug, is larger, and moves faster.
Midge, male adult
Chironomus decorus
Midges are common near water. The adults resemble mosquitoes but cannot bite—they lack the long piercing–sucking mouthparts of mosquitoes. Midge wings do not have scales, but mosquito wings do.
Jumping Spider
Jumping spider
Attidops youngi
Jumping spiders can leap very far and very accurately. They are easy to identify—all spiders have four pairs of legs (fleas and other insects have three). Often colorful, jumping spiders are large, flat and hairy.
Western conifer seed bug
Western conifer seed bug
Leptoglossus occidentalis
This relative of the bedbug is harmless. The adult invades houses in the fall looking for a place to spend the winter. Its larger size and color pattern tell it apart from the smaller, uniformly colored bedbug.