Most of us know what bed bugs are, but have you ever heard of their close cousin the Swallow Bug? While Swallow Bugs are certainly less of a concern than bed bugs, these blood-sucking insects can become a problem in and around your home if you’re not careful.
If you have found yourself here, chances are you already know a thing or two about swallow bugs. Perhaps you are even dealing with a swallow bug problem.
Don’t worry – if you’re dealing with swallow bug issues, we’re here to help. Join us today as we talk more about swallow bugs, what they are, why you have them, and how to get rid of a swallow bug problem for good.
What Are Swallow Bugs?
Swallow bugs look very similar to bed bugs, but there are some slight differences.
Swallow bugs, sometimes known as bird lice, are small parasitic insects that are closely related to bed bugs and bat bugs. As their name suggests, swallow bugs feed primarily on birds like swallows.
Adult swallow bugs grow to be about 3/16ths of an inch. Though they look very similar to bed bugs, swallow bugs are a bit smaller and are lighter in color. They also have a thin layer of hair on their body and even small antennae, whereas bed bugs do not.
The swallow bug is not known to infest human homes, but it can get inside our homes if swallow nests are nearby.
Instead, swallow bugs feed primarily on birds and they’re young. Female swallow bugs can lay up to 30 eggs at a time, at which point nymphs hatch and feed on baby birds in the nest.
When feeding on the birds, swallow bug nymphs will attach themselves to the bird’s skin under its feathers and suck blood from it for about 20 minutes before dropping off.
Swallow bugs have a lifespan of about one year. The females lay eggs in spring, which then hatch and grow throughout the summer. In fall, the nymphs become adults and mate (if they are male), after which both males and females die.
There are typically between 20 to 30 individual swallow bugs in each nest, although this number can vary significantly depending on conditions and food availability. While swallow bugs don’t typically invade our houses, as mentioned, they can get inside and hide in cracks and crevices in the flooring and siding of our homes.
Like bed bugs, swallow bugs may even hide in mattresses, bedding, and clothing. If they are lacking in food sources, swallow bugs are known to bite on humans and other animals.
How Did I Get A Swallow Bug Problem?
Swallow bugs come from swallow nests.
If you’re wondering how you got a swallow bug problem, you’re not alone. These little creatures are rarely seen by humans, so a swallow bug problem is not something most people know about.
Unlike bed bugs, swallow bugs do not seek out human beings and human dwellings. Instead, they are prominent parasites in bird nests where they feed on birds and their young.
Most people who discover swallow bugs in their homes have gotten these pests because there are bird nests somewhere nearby. The adult insects lay their eggs in these nests, which hatch into larvae that then feed on the blood of the birds that live there.
While incredibly rare, it is possible to wind up with a swallow bug infestation, especially if the environment is ideal for these tiny parasites.
If swallow bugs happen to get inside your home, they will hide out under kitchen counters or behind appliances where they can remain undetected by homeowners until they have already bred and until an infestation has started.
Once swallow bugs find a place to settle down and begin reproducing, it may not be long before you start seeing them crawling around your home.
Are Swallow Bugs Dangerous To People And Pets
Swallow bugs are not known to spread disease to people or pets.
Are Swallow Bugs Dangerous?
While they are parasites and they can feed on people if their primary source of food (birds) is not available, the good news is that swallow bugs are not dangerous and are not known to spread disease or illness.
However, their bites can leave behind itchy, raised bumps on the skin that can lead to secondary infections if scratched or irritated.
The best way to avoid being bitten by swallow bugs is to keep swallows and other birds from nesting near your property. It’s also important to keep your home clean, dry, and free of clutter, and to keep windows and doors sealed up tight so that these insects cannot get inside your house in the first place!
If you do find yourself with a few swallow bugs in the house, there are several products on the market that will help get rid of them quickly, which we will discuss below.
Many of these products are even available without the use of harsh chemicals or pesticides that could be harmful to your family, pets, and the environment. Keep reading to learn more.
Top Products For How To Get Rid Of A Swallow Bug Problem
Barn swallow nests can be home to swallow bugs.
If you find swallow bugs in your house, you need to get rid of them before they multiply and make things worse. Luckily, getting rid of swallow bugs is similar to getting rid of bed bugs, although eliminating them is often easier than getting rid of their bed bug cousins.
So, how do you get rid of a swallow bug problem?
There are several methods that you can use to get rid of swallow bugs if they’ve invaded your home.
These methods include:
- Using Home Remedies
- Using Bed Bug Heaters
- Using Insecticides
- Using A Professional Pest Control Company
We will go over all of these methods, tips, and tricks for getting rid of a swallow bug problem, but first, let’s take a look at some of the most top-rated products for how to get rid of swallow bugs now.
Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer
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While swallow bugs are not the same as bed bugs, they are related. This means you can often use the same types of products or methods to get rid of a swallow bug problem that you would use to get rid of bed bugs.
We recommend Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer above to get rid of problematic swallow bugs because it is easy to apply and has multiple uses. It is an insecticide spray that contains 0.05% permethrin. Permethrin is a pyrethroid insecticide that kills many common pests including cockroaches, fleas, flies, ticks, and mites. You can also use this product on your pet’s collar or in their bedding to keep them protected from insects as well.
Ortho Home Defense Max Bed Bug Killer comes in a ready-to-use aerosol can with a straw applicator tip so you don’t have to touch the product directly when spraying it onto your home. The straw delivers an even mist that covers large areas quickly without overspray onto furniture or other surfaces in your home (so long as you follow the directions).
Hot Shot Ready-To-Use Bed Bug Killer Spray
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Another pesticide spray we recommend for getting rid of a swallow bug problem is the Hot Shot Ready-To-Use Bed Bug Killer Spray. Again, this product targets pests like bed bugs, making it suitable for swallow bugs as well.
The spray comes in a bottle that you can use to spray directly on the bugs or their nests. The formula is non-staining and odorless so it won’t irritate your nose or eyes.
It’s also water-based, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your furniture or other belongings when using it indoors.
This insecticide spray works by penetrating the exoskeleton of insects and causing dehydration inside their bodies, killing them within a few minutes after contact. It also prevents eggs from hatching after application, which means you won’t have to worry about future infestations caused by eggs that survived treatment.
Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer
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If you’re looking for a natural product you can use for how to get rid of a swallow bug problem, you might consider Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer.
Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized remains of single-celled algae. It’s made up of tiny pieces of silica that can pierce through the outer exoskeleton of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die.
Also known as DE, Diatomaceous Earth is safe for humans and pets as well as plants and animals. It won’t leave an odor or stain behind when it’s used correctly, but it can be difficult to apply if your home has carpeting or upholstered furniture (like couches) because it will stick to those surfaces until you brush them off or vacuum them away.
DE works best when it is dry, so it may need to be reapplied until you notice a significant decrease in your pest problem.
EcoVenger Bed Bug Killer
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EcoVenger Bed Bug Killer is another all-natural product you can use to get rid of Swallow Bugs that is safe for the environment, people, and pets.
This spray contains a mixture of essential oils that are known for their swallow bug-killing properties. The spray comes in an eight-ounce bottle and can be used to treat every inch of your home.
You can use this product on your mattress, box spring, baseboard, and even around electrical outlets.
One of the best features of EcoVenger is that it’s not only effective against swallow bugs but other pests as well like spiders and roaches.
HARRIS Bed Bug Traps
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Harris Bed Bug Traps work just as well as Swallow Bug traps. While they may only kill a few bugs at a time, the real purpose of these traps is for monitoring your swallow bug problem.
Harris bed bug traps are used by pest control companies across the country to monitor for swallow bugs. The way the trap works is simple. These are sticky traps that are designed to fit under a mattress or box spring, where they capture these insects and keeps them from escaping.
These devices are also effective at capturing other types of pests including spiders, ants, and crickets which also infest homes during the summer months when they come inside looking for water and food sources.
HARRIS 5 Minute Bed Bug Killer
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Last we have HARRIS 5 Minute Bed Bug Killer. This bed bug killer is effective against swallow bugs, bed bugs, and many other pests. The active ingredient in this product is Cyfluthrin. It is a synthetic pyrethroid that is considered to be very effective against a wide variety of insects.
This product can be used on a variety of surfaces including carpets, flooring, and even upholstery. This product can also be used in most areas where there are issues with pests such as kitchens, bathrooms, offices, and more.
The Harris brand has been around for many years and they have built their reputation on providing quality products that are safe to use around your home or office space. They offer a wide range of options for both residential and commercial use including sprays, foggers, dust, and aerosols that are all designed to help you get rid of your pest problems quickly and safely.
You will find that the Harris 5-minute bed bug killer comes in an easy-to-use aerosol can which makes it ideal for treating large areas of carpeting or furniture quickly without having to worry about spilling or wasting any product while doing so.
Best Products For Preventing Swallows That Attract Swallow Bugs
Getting rid of swallow bugs means getting rid of swallows.
Swallow bugs are not like bed bugs. They do not feed primarily on human hosts. This means that if you do discover you have swallow bugs in your home, you likely have swallows nesting nearby.
These pests feed on cliff swallows and sometimes barn swallows, and both types of swallows can make their nests in your home’s eaves, siding, roof, and patio. Sometimes they will even nest inside the house itself! If you see birds flying into your windows or hanging around your eaves, take a closer look at where they are building their nests.
Getting rid of swallow bugs generally means getting rid of the source of these pests. If you manage to remove swallow bugs from your home but continue to deal with swallows nesting outside of your home or around your home, you will continue to deal with swallow bug issues.
Below are several products we recommend to help discourage swallows from nesting near your property.
Bird B Gone Swallow Shield
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If you have a swallow bug problem, then you need to get rid of the swallows. The main sources of swallow bugs are swallows, so getting rid of them is key to reducing a swallow bug problem. For this, we recommend products like Bird B Gone Swallow Shield.
Bird B Gone Swallow Shield works by using simple streamers that frighten swallows and bats simply by the movement. The products are safe and humane, and will not harm people, pets, or the environment.
There are also no tools needed to use this product. The product comes with an easy-to-use sticky base that can be installed on any surface without screws or nails. This mounting system gives you flexibility in where you place your Bird B Gone Swallow Shield deterrents throughout your home or business.
Offo Bird Spikes
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Bird spikes are some of the most popular products to keep pests like swallows at bay. When installed correctly, these spikes can help stop birds from nesting around your home which can in turn lead to swallow bugs if you’re not careful.
These products are very easy to install, especially when compared to other pest control options like bird netting or bird spikes. They can be attached directly to your building or your fence using the included hardware. This makes them a great option for people who don’t have time for any kind of DIY project or for those who don’t feel comfortable with climbing ladders and getting their hands dirty.
What Home Remedies Work For Keeping Swallow Bugs At Bay?
Swallows are deterred by shiny objects like CDs or mirrors.
Home remedies for keeping swallow bugs at bay generally mean using home remedies to keep swallows themselves at bay. Some of the best home remedies for keeping swallows from coming around your property include:
Use Garden Balls
Garden balls are hollow plastic balls that are filled with sand and placed on top of trees and poles and are sometimes placed on lawns as garden decoration.
Though lovely to people, garden balls are frightening to birds like swallows. Swallows often confuse garden balls for the eyes of predators, and the reflective surfaces will deter them from coming around your property or finding your property safe to build nests.
Like garden balls, placing or hanging shiny objects around your home or yard where you have noticed swallow nests or swallow activity can help deter the birds.
If you have a shiny object such as a mirror or reflective surface, you can use it as a deterrent.
Some people hang mirrors on their windowsills to scare away these birds. Others hang CDs or CDs with a piece of paper over them near their doors or windows so that they will reflect light when the sun shines on them.
Invite The Swallow Predators
Several predators prey on swallows and many of them are birds themselves. Some of the most common predators of swallows that can help you keep the birds (and thus their swallow bugs) at bay include:
- And Even Bullfrogs!
Put Up Bird Spikes
If you have barn swallows nesting on your property and you do not want these birds around your home and yard, then you are going to need some bird spikes that can keep them off of your property.
There are many different types of bird spikes available for purchase at local hardware stores, but they can be costly. If you want to save money but still get the same results, then it is time to make your own bird spikes. The good news is that this is not hard to do; all you need is some wire and some nails!
What You Need:
- Wire (the type used for fences works well)
- A Staple gun
Step 1: Cut the wire into pieces about three feet long. The length of your spikes will depend on the size of your property and how many swallows are nesting there. If you have a small home, you might want to use one or two spikes at first to see if they are effective. If not, add more spikes until it is clear that they are deterring the birds from landing in the area where you want them to stay away from.
Step 2: Bend each piece of wire into a hook shape on one end, with the other end flat against the ground. This will make it easier to attach them to the roof or rafters.
Step 3: Attach each hook-shaped piece of wire to a rafter or roof beam using large nails or screws (if possible). Make sure that it is securely fastened so that it won’t fall off when the wind blows through the area. You may also want to use cable ties or duct tape if needed.
Step 4: If it is possible, place your new homemade bird spikes in areas where swallows are already building nests; they will be more likely to avoid these areas if they already have nests in them.
Homemade Bird Repellent Sprays
If you’ve only noticed a few barn swallows or you are looking for a quick way to get a jump on getting rid of swallows and keeping swallow bugs under control, you might try your hand at homemade bird repellent sprays.
Like many animals, birds are repellent by a few different types of scents and ingredients. Birds are especially sensitive to the scent of peppermint oil and citrus scents, so these work well for making homemade bird repellent sprays.
Here is how to make a peppermint oil spray to deter swallows and keep swallow bugs away from your home:
First, fill a 16 oz bottle with water. Add two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and two teaspoons of peppermint essential oil (or two tablespoons of peppermint oil). Shake the bottle well before each use.
You can spray this mixture around your property, particularly in areas where swallows have been seen nesting. Do this at least several times per week until the swallows leave on their own or until they are gone permanently.
What To Do About Nests Once Swallows Are Gone
Even once you’ve gotten rid of swallows, you could still deal with swallow bugs if you are not careful.
Once you’ve managed to get rid of swallows, it’s important to go in behind them and remove their nests. Remember, while it is rare for swallow bugs to seek out humans if they no longer have a food source these parasites may leave the swallow nest in search of another food source.
The best way to keep this from happening is to remove the abandoned swallow nests and spray the areas in which the nests were with repellent sprays or products to get rid of swallow bugs.
If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can also use soap and water or a bleach solution to spray down the area.
Another method might involve using a vacuum cleaner to suck up any excess swallow bugs you see around your home or even in your home.
The key is to get rid of any source of food for these insects so they will leave your home. If there are still some bug eggs around, you may need to repeat this process several times until all eggs are gone and no more will hatch out.
Swallow Bugs – Our Final Thoughts
While swallows are beautiful and interesting to watch, swallow bugs are an unfortunate consequence of too many swallow bugs.
Though swallow bugs are a nuisance and the mere thought of them is likely enough to make you cringe, the good news is that swallow bugs are not dangerous.
They are also not as likely as their bed bug counterparts to lead to problematic infestations.
Still, it’s important to manage these pests as soon as you notice them. If you have tried the above methods we recommended and still find that you are struggling with swallows and the swallow bug issues they bring, then it may be time to contact a professional exterminator.
A professional exterminator will be able to use various methods to eradicate swallow bugs entirely – including using pesticides that can kill or repel these pests in all their life stages. They will also be able to identify any additional problems you may have because of swallows (such as damage to your home), which means they can provide a more comprehensive solution for your problem.
Once you’ve gotten rid of swallow bugs, it’s important to take steps to keep them from coming back. This means keeping swallows from coming back around as well.
Along with using the above products and home remedies for swallow deterrents, experts also suggest you follow the below steps:
- Repair any broken windows or holes in your walls and roof. This includes repairing any holes or cracks in eaves, porches, or other areas where swallows can nest.
- Seal off any openings that may provide access to your attic or crawlspace. This includes sealing off any vents that go from your home into the attic and crawlspace as well as sealing off any vents on the outside of your home that leads into these areas.
- Clean up any debris around your home (or get someone else to do it). Debris attracts swallows and other birds, so removing it will help keep them away from your home in general.
- Install a chimney cap on each chimney flue in your home (or get someone else to do it). Chimney caps prevent swallows from using these areas as nesting sites; they also prevent them from entering these areas during the winter months when they’re not looking for food but are still looking for shelter and warmth.
And remember, while swallow bug issues can be challenging, these pests are not dangerous to you or your pets.
The best thing to do if you do recognize a swallow bug infestation is to identify that you are indeed dealing with swallow bugs before utilizing any form of treatment. If the above treatment methods are not working when it comes to getting rid of the swallow bug issue, then it may be best to contact your local pest control agency for assistance if the problem persists.
So, what do you think about swallow bugs? Share your thoughts with us below in the comment section.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.