What Is Swallow Bugs? [Bed Bugs Vs Swallow Bugs]

Swallow bugs and bed bugs are often thought of as the same thing.

Many people think that these two insects are one and the same. But they are not.

That is why I have created this insightful article that covers the difference between swallow bugs and bed bugs.

Also, I am going to tell you what is swallowing bugs, where to find them and get rid of them.

but first…

What Are Swallow Bugs?

A swallow bug is an insect that sucks blood from rock swallows and barn swallows.

They look exactly like bedbugs. As such, they also include the same species of Cimex as bat bugs and bed bugs.

Swallow bugs

As the name suggests, they mostly cling to swallow birds. They mostly cling to the legs, belly, and wings of these birds. Because these are the most common places where they can access skin.

These insects are very active in the nests of swallow birds because they can suck blood from hatchlings and adult birds.

There are two types of swallow birds – cliff swallow birds and barn swallow birds.

Cliff swallows build their nests in colonies. Because of this, swallow bugs are mostly found in their nests.

Since swallow bugs can move from nest to nest, it is easy for them to cause serious infestation.

However, in the case of barns, the nest is kept in a secluded place. This is why swallow bugs cannot create server Infestation.

Swallow Bugs Vs Bed Bugs {What Is The Difference} 

Answer: Swallow bugs are almost the same as bed bugs. But swallowing insects are smaller in size. The biggest difference is the host. Swallow bugs suck blood from swallow bugs while bed bugs suck from humans.

Here is the tabular form which will show you the exact difference between swallow bugs and bed bugs.

Swallow BugsBed Bugs
Size3-5 mm5-7 mm
ColorReddish and
grey at the ends
Red or Brownish
BodySwallow bugs have fine
hairs on shell and head
Bed bugs have micro
hairs on body
that is impossible to see
HostSwallow BirdsHumans and animals
InfestationMostly in Swallow Birds NestMostly in Bedroom and living room.
InvasionThrough Swallow
bird’s bodies
Public transport, Luggage
and restaurants
Swallow Bugs Vs Bed Bugs In table form


Bed bugs are slightly larger than swallow bugs. Bed bugs are 5-7 mm in size while swallowing insects are 3-5 mm in size.

The reason behind the small size of swallow bugs is the nutrition and environment they get.

Human blood is rich in nutrition for bed bugs. Plus, the warmth of the house promotes the growth of these insects really fast.

Whereas, a swallowing bug sucks blood from swallow birds, which provides fewer nutrients than humans.

In addition, these insects tend to hide in mud pellets, which are not as good in a home environment. All these conditions affect the size of the bug.


The color of the bed bug is red. When bed bugs are born, they look white and translucent.

But when they grow up to reach their adult stage, they appear red because of their bloodsucking.

On the other hand, swallow bugs are slightly gray and brown and this is due to drinking blood from their host.


Swallow bugs have fine hairs on their bodies. They look exactly like bat bugs.

These hairs allow insects to identify the outside environment. You can easily see these hairs on the shell and heads of these swallow bugs.

On the other hand, bed bugs have very short hairs on their shells. A microscope is needed to see these hairs.


Bed bugs are considered household pests. They are popular to live in:

There are a few other places where you can find bed bugs, such as restaurants and public transportation.

Swallow bugs primarily infest the nests of their hosts.

Swallows build their nests with small balls of mud. These birds also use organic materials such as grass, hair, feathers, and fur. Because of these nesting materials, swallow bugs can easily hide inside bird nests.


Swallow bugs travel by hiding inside feathers or by attaching themselves to swallow birds’ fur.

Small hooks at the end of each foot make it easy for them to grip any surface.

However, bed bugs travel in a person’s belongings and used furniture. These insects can also come to your house from movie theaters and hotels.

Swallow Bugs Life Cycle

A swallow bug is commonly found in nests. They are not exposed to humans or any other predators that would kill them. Swallow bugs can live an average of 2-3 years.

The female swallow bug can lay 20-30 eggs at a time.

Bed bugs and swallow bugs both have the same life span.

However, swallowing insects stop their mating process when they are not feeding on their hosts.

Can Swallow Bugs Fly?

These insects have six legs and this helps them to crawl and climb on floors or walls.

Swallow bugs cannot fly and jump. These insects are wingless insects that move from place to place on their feet.

Can Swallow Bugs Get Into Your House?

When swallow bugs do not have hosts to eat. They just slow down their metabolism.

However, as time passes, they crave blood and try to escape from their infestation site.

If there is a swallow nest near your house. These insects can easily crawl through walls and enter your home.

In a home, these insects can hide inside crevices in your bedding and other common places from which they can reach you.

Swallow bugs can also mate with female bed bugs which can spread a serious and almost invulnerable Infestation.

Can Swallow Bugs Bite Humans?  

Yes, swallow bugs can bite humans. They can comfortably digest human blood. Although human blood can help them grow much faster.

Swallow bugs survive only on blood, just like bed bugs. They like to eat birds because they are trained to do so.

When these insects cannot find their primary host, the swallow birds, they crawl inside homes and try to find other hosts such as humans and animals.

How To Get Rid Of Swallow Bugs?

Compared to bed bugs, swallowing bugs are more difficult to get rid of. Because if you want to get rid of these insects,

The first thing you need to get rid of is a swallow bird’s nest. Because it is the primary source of swallowing insects in your home.

But be careful as swallows are a protected species and harming these creatures can be a punishable act.

so be careful…


The most effective way to get rid of swallow bugs is to vacuum.

These insects have a very tight grip on surfaces such as wood and concrete. But when you use a vacuum cleaner on these insects, they lose their grip and cough into the garbage bag.

Use your vacuum cleaner on all corners and crevices as well as these places are more prone to swallowing insects.

Diatomaceous Earth

In your fight against swallowing insects, diatomaceous earth can be helpful.

A non-toxic, all-natural deterrent for swallow bugs that can kill them and prevent them from roaming freely throughout your home.

It is important to remember that diatomaceous earth by itself will not be enough to eliminate your bed bugs and swallow bugs infestation.

You can use the powder around the nest of swallows. Diatomaceous earth will kill swallowed bugs without harming the birds.

Swallow bugs are killed by diatomaceous earth by absorbing the oily, protective layer covering their exoskeleton.

Without this protective coating, bedbugs only take a few hours to dehydrate and die.

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