Swallow Bug

 Identification and Control

Proper identification is an important first step in controlling ants.

Oeciacus vicarius

How to Identify an 

Swallow Bug

The swallow bug is a small, hairy, black beetle that is approximately 1/8th of an inch long. It has a shiny, black body and its antennae are not segmented. They can often be confused with bed bugs, the difference being that swallow bugs have hair longer than the width of their eyes above their faces.

Where do they come from?

The swallow bug is common throughout the United States in both rural and urban areas. Swallow bugs get their name from the fact that they often infest the nests of swallows and other birds. They can also be found in homes, where they often crawl into bedding (which can cause them to be mistaken for bed bugs) and other enclosed spaces.

How to keep them out

The best way to prevent swallow bugs from infesting your home is to keep your home and property well-maintained. Seal all cracks and openings in your foundation and exterior walls, and make sure there is no wood debris or other potential food sources near your home. If you see an infestation, use a commercial insecticide to eliminate them.

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What do they look like?

Swallow bug head from underside. Note the unruly hairs.
Swallow bugs live on mud swallow nests like these. They feed on the blood of the swallows.
Full body view of a swallow bug
Top and underside views of a swallow bug

Where do they live?

Swallow bugs lay their eggs around the swallow nests where they live. If you examine a swallow nest closely, you can often find swallow bug fecal spots and eggs on them.


Oeciacus vicarius



Blood usually from biting swallows but can feed on other animals including humans

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