What Is A Swallow Bug? 5 Differences Between Bed Bugs And Swallow Bugs

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Do you know what is a swallow bug? You might not be well aware of what these creatures are, but we assure you that they can be a big-time nuisance. And thus, it is time we learn about these pests. Take a look.

What Is A Swallow Bug?

A Swallow bug is a parasite that specifically targets swallow birds. It is reddish-brown in color with a flattened body. Swallow bugs are different from bed bugs in a few key ways:

Swallow bugs get their name from the fact that they often live in and around birds’ nests. They are so named because they resemble swallows in both appearance and behavior.

what is a swallow bug

These bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. They can be problematic to detect and eradicate because they hide easily in nesting materials.

There are two types of swallows: Cliff and Barn. The Cliff swallow is the most common type, while the Barn swallow is less common.

They are similar to bed bugs, but there are some key differences. For example, swallow bug infestation is a severe problem that often leads adult swallow birds to abandon their nests and hatchlings.

Additionally, unlike bed bugs which can be eradicated through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, swallow bug infestations require more aggressive treatments and can be very difficult to get rid of completely.

Cliff swallows often return to the same nesting spot, migrating back and forth between different cliffs or even swapping nests with other cliff swallows.

Swallow bugs are generally not considered as harmful as bed bugs; however, they can still cause skin irritation.

The most exciting fact about swallow bugs is that they cannot reproduce without drinking blood. Once they drink the blood, they wait for the next swallow birds to show up and reproduce in a year.

Swallow Bug Lifecycle

Swallow bugs go through a five-stage life cycle: egg, nymph, pre-adult, adult, and egg again. Nymphs develop into adults after taking two and a half months to hatch.

Female swallow bugs can lay up to 100 eggs in their lifetime, and the eggs will hatch into nymphs within ten days. The nymphs will then undergo five molts before becoming adults. Adult swallow bugs can live for 2-3 years, but they generally only reproduce once.

Can Swallow Bugs Enter Your House?

Close up shot of orange grasshoppers on green leaf in Sarasota, Florida

Yes, swallow bugs can enter your home through openings such as windows and doors. They are most likely to be found near bird nests.

Recently, hotels and high rises in Colorado and Ohio have been dealing with an infestation of swallow bugs.

In most cases, swallow bugs will not infest your home. The exception to this is if there’s a swallow bird nest in and around your house, as they are the natural food source of swallows bugs. Otherwise, you’re likely safe from an infestation.

Will A Swallow Bug Bite A Human?

Yes, swallow bugs may bite people if they live inside the house. Swallow bugs are related to bed bugs and may induce comparable biting responses.

In fact, the primary reason that swallow bugs bite humans is that their food source-swallow, birds- is not around. Swallow bugs are attracted to blood and will feed off of any warm-blooded creature, including humans.

However, they are not as aggressive as bed bugs and typically only bite if they are disturbed.

What Does A Swallow Bug Bite Looks Like?

Purple sunbird (male) with spider in the beak.

The bite will look like a tiny, red bump on the skin. Swallow bugs are not known to carry any diseases, but their bites can be quite itchy and uncomfortable. People who are bitten by a swallow bug can have an allergic reaction.

How To Get Rid Of Swallow Bugs That Are In Your House?

Swallow bugs are tiny, oval-shaped insects that live in the nests of swallow birds.

These bugs typically prefer to live in warmer environments. Additionally, they are not known to spread disease.

If you think you have swallow bugs in your home, there are five steps you can take to get rid of them.

Check For Any Swallow Birds Nests

Swallow bugs, also known as bird mites, are a common cause of house dust mites. They can be eliminated by sweeping and cleaning the areas where they live.

These bugs are found in the nests of barn and cliff swallows. So, the first and foremost thing you should do is search for any probable nests of these birds in your house and property.

If the nests are empty, you may get rid of them. Swallows build mud nests beneath eaves and overhangs of houses.

Because the nests are so high, you need to hire an expert to conduct the task.

Steam Clean The Furniture

Swallow bugs prefer to live in warm, moist environments and can be found in areas such as beds, furniture, and carpets.

Steam cleaning is a fantastic method of cleaning your home. Not only will it kill any bed bugs or swallow bugs that may be present, but it will also sanitize the area and remove any dirt or debris.

It is important to steam clean every nook and cranny of your home in order to ensure that all the bugs are eliminated.

Use Insecticide Sprays To Kill Swallow Bugs

Insecticide sprays can be utilized to kill swallow bugs. It is important to read the instructions carefully and follow all safety precautions when using these products. Be sure to keep kids and furry friends away from the area while the product is being used.

Swallow bugs are killed by direct spraying of the insecticide onto them. It is necessary to be thorough in your spraying and to cover all areas where the bugs may be hiding. Insecticide sprays can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores.

However, it is important to be aware that these sprays will also kill swallow birds if they are around. Make sure you spray when there are no birds present to avoid harming them.

Stop Swallow Birds From Nesting In Your Garden

Swallow bugs, also known as bed bugs, are a type of insect that is attracted to areas that resemble their natural environment. They are commonly found in wooded and bushy areas.

If you have swallow bugs on your property, there are a few things you can do to discourage them from nesting there. One easy solution is to add treetops or other features that resemble their natural habitat.

Do Swallow Bugs Fly?

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper Spring Hill botanical garden,Florida

Swallow bugs are a category of bug that is closely related to bed bugs. These creatures do not have wings, and cannot fly, which makes them easier to identify.

However, these bugs use their strong hind legs to crawl and climb on swallow nests. They can also jump long distances by using their legs. Swallow bugs generally feed on the blood of birds, but they have been known to feed on humans as well.

Swallow Bugs Vs. Bed Bugs – The 5 Differences

There are a few key differences between swallow bugs and bed bugs. Swallow bugs are reddish in color, whereas bed bugs are grayish.

These bugs also have longer antennae than bed bugs. Additionally, swallow bugs are typically smaller than bed bugs.

Furthermore, swallow bug eggs are barrel-shaped, whereas bed bug eggs are more elongated.

Finally, swallow bugs typically reside on the exterior of buildings, while bed bugs can be found both inside and outside of buildings.

Swallow bugs are 3-4 mm in size and have visible antennae, while bed bugs are 5-7mm in size and do not have visible antennae.

These bugs may bite humans, but they cannot reproduce as fast as bedbugs without their natural hosts. Swallow birds are the swallow bug’s natural host, which is why they cannot breed in other environments.

Which Natural Methods can help to get rid of Swallow Bugs?

There are a few natural methods people can use to get rid of swallow bugs. One is to vacuum the home regularly and dispose of the vacuum bag outside. Another is to seal up any cracks or crevices in the home where swallow bugs might be able to enter.

Finally, using essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil can help repel swallows bugs.

Let us understand these methods in-depth.


These bugs also tend to prefer different environments than bed bugs, so it is important to know the differences between them if you are trying to get rid of an infestation.

To get rid of swallow bugs, you can use a vacuum cleaner. Make sure that you empty the vacuum cleaner bag or container outside and dispose of it in a sealed trash bag.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, all-natural substance that can be used to deter swallow bugs.

It is a powder made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It has been used for centuries as an insecticide and can be effective in killing swallow bugs.

When ingested, the sharp edges of the diatoms cut through the bug’s exoskeleton, causing them to die. DE can be applied in a variety of ways, including as a powder, spray, or gel.

It can kill swallowed bugs without harming the birds. DE is effective because it punctures the exoskeleton of the bug, causing them to dehydrate and die.

The powdery substance works by absorbing the oily, protective layer covering their exoskeleton, leading to dehydration and death.


Swallow bugs are parasites that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. They are similar to bed bugs, but there are some key differences.

Unlike bed bugs which can not be eradicated through Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, swallow bug infestations require more aggressive treatments and can be very difficult to get rid of completely.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.