Bed, bat and swallow bugs are a group of small, bloodsucking insects that can be a problem in Colorado homes. The bite is painless but toxic saliva is injected during feeding which can cause severe itching, a large inflamed area or small welts.
Bed, bat, and swallow bugs are flattened insects with an oval body. Eggs are laid in cracks of furniture, behind baseboards, under loose edges of wallpaper and in other cracks and crevices. Adults hide during the day and can live for more than a year.
Problems with these bugs arise when animal hosts, such as swallows, nest close to a building. When the host dies, the insects leave the nest and can enter living quarters in search of an alternate host. Attics are prime areas where bugs will enter the main living quarters. An aerosol bomb of pyrethrins or a “pest strip” in the attic can reduce insect populations. Removal of animals and their nests from buildings is a necessary part of control along with insecticidal treatments.
Swallows are protected in Colorado and destruction or disturbance of active nests is prohibited. Remove inactive nests in late spring and screen to prevent the building of new nests.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).