What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? A Guide To Finding Them

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? A Guide To Finding Them

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Last Updated on Jun 14, 2022

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    Bed bugs are parasitic insects that bite both humans and animals to draw blood for their food, which can lead to rashes since bed bug bites tend to be itchy. Their preferred hiding places are usually warm spaces such as in furniture, bedding, a bed frame, and even the cracks and crevices of your mattress too. Before you start treating your home or apartment for pests, you might be wondering, ‘What do bed bugs look like’, since bed bug bites are sometimes mistaken for something else.

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    What Do Bed Bugs Look Like to the Human Eye?

    Although a bedbug is a tiny insect, it is still visible to the human eye. However, it is sometimes difficult to discern whether what you’re seeing is a bed bug, tick, or another type of insect. Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can determine if you are sharing your bed with bed bugs.

    • Size – The size of a bedbug can vary depending on what stage it is in its life cycle. For example, nymphs are usually two to five millimeters in length. On the other hand, adult bed bugs are about a quarter of an inch or a bit larger; similar to the size of an apple seed.
    • Color – Nymphs are typically translucent, but their abdomen will be bright red, which will turn into brown and then black while digesting its meal. When bed bug nymphs become adult bed bugs, they will molt and transform into darker brown colored pests. Bed bug eggs are usually light cream in color.
    • Shape – Adult bed bugs typically have flat, oval-shaped bodies, without any wings, but have two antennae, and six legs.

    How Do Bed Bug Bites Look?

    The common misconception is that you can tell whether a bedbug has bitten you, or not, based on the bite. However, this is not true as their bite may be similar to that of fleas and chiggers. That said, what do bed bugs bites look like?

    • Swollen red spot on the skin that itches – Bed bugs like to make a blood meal out of humans, but it is hard to determine whether those red spots on your skin are caused by them since bed bugs mainly appear at night, while you are fast asleep. If you’ve been bitten by one, it may take a day before red bumps start to appear. Take note that not everyone will have a reaction to a bed bug bite. Other people may develop a rash from the bite area, which makes it doubly hard to discern whether you’ve been bitten or just have a skin rash.
    • Can appear on exposed skin – Unlike chiggers or mites, whose bites usually appear around the ankles, bed bug bites can appear on any part of your exposed skin. Bed bug bites may present as a zigzag pattern on the skin and will not have a dark spot in the center like flea bites.
    • Remain longer on the skin – Compared to mosquito bites that eventually fade after a few hours, bedbug bites tend to stay longer on your skin.

    How to Find Bed Bugs?

    Seeing red welts on your skin when you wake up is not a sufficient clue that a bed bugs infestation is present. You will need to look for telltale signs of bed bugs in your home. Here are a few signs to watch out for:

    • Dark spots on your fabric or bedding (that can easily bleed through the fabric) and are the same size as that of a dot or a period, which are bed bug feces
    • Live bed bugs
    • Eggs or eggshells that are about one millimeter in length, as well as, pale yellow skins that are usually shed by nymphs, as they move on to their next stage
    • Reddish or rusty stains on your bed sheets or even your mattress which are due to bed bugs being crushed.

    Where Do Bed Bugs Hide?

    Bed bugs are pests that can live in any part of your home. Due to their minute size, they are able to slip through tiny cracks and crevices in your furniture regardless of the textile or upholstery. A bed bug infestation typically appears in beds, particularly in the bed frame, mattress, and even box springs for that matter. If you want to determine whether you have a bed bug problem, you will need to watch out for the signs mentioned above in these places.

    Other possible places where bed bugs can thrive are in the curtains, electrical outlets, cracks in your wallpaper, joists, and even inside your wicker furniture for that matter. Your bedding and clothing will not be spared, which can be troublesome, to say the least. Even your luggage may be a hiding place for this type of pest.

    When trying to get rid of bed bugs on your own, it is essential to note that while diatomaceous earth may be touted as a natural solution for bed bugs to help you eliminate the infestation in your home, it can damage your lungs when you breathe it. According to the EPA, make sure that you do not use pool or food-grade diatomaceous earth. Look for the pesticide version, which uses a different size of diatoms; thus reducing the hazard.