Can You Show Me What Bed Bugs Look Like

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs


After a tiring day of work, eventually, we feel like we have been drained out of the last ounce of energy left in us and all that we wish for is a soft, comfortable bed to meet our slumber requirements.

However, an important fact is completely ignored or makes way into the oblivion when this bed craving sets in us. The beds that we sleep in are home to a plethora of organisms and serve as a comfortable breeding ground for them, commonly referred to as ‘bed bugs’.

Introduction

Bed bugs (scientific name:Cimex lectularius) are inherently parasitic in nature and feed on human blood and blood of other warm blooded animals. They are of the cimicid family of insect species, and reside in and around the beddings, bed sheets and other areas of hibernation.

Bed bug Cimex lectularius at night in the moonlight

They are generally nocturnal and are not known to transmit any diseases. Identification traits would comprise of reddish or brownish hue and possession of an oval shaped 0.2-0.4 inch body along with short antennae.

An adult bed bug can feed on its human host for almost 10 minutes at a stretch and as a matter of fact, bed bug bites are quite nasty with rashes circling round the bite spot and a fair bit of irritation in the region.

Are there other bugs that look like bed bugs or have close resemblance?

This question is raised because of the fact that if pictures of bugs that look like bed bugs are shown to a layman, he or she will definitely fall under the impression of tagging it as a bed bug. To deliver a befitting answer to that, we must be careful of the fact that there are other bugs and insects flaunting a stark similarity with the family of bed bugs.

The Answer:

No. Therefore, a fair bit of generalization is done sometimes, and many other species are clubbed together with them. Any bug or insect for that matter of fact roaming near our beds or on it or more so ever, in the bedding, we tag it as a bed bug. Due to this, a very common problem arises when that particular species bites someone but he or she takes the treatment for bed bug bite and therefore the desired result of medication is not rendered properly.

The picture attached below is an exemplification of the appearance and identification of bed bugs:

Bedbug (Cimex lectularius)

Other kinds

Now, to elaborate on the point of departure from common bed bugs, a few species are discussed in details which however, upon first notice, would be mistaken due to their identification similarity. Bugs that look like bed bugs also tend to have a fair bit of similarity on the attributes, habituations, nocturnal behaviour and also on the food chain front. The point is to demarcate them.

Some exemplifications may be put forward in this respect:

1. Book lice:

Although not being part of the lice species directly, Book lice are a type of insect that are inherently non transmitters of diseases and infections, but can really turn into a problem if left to breed on a large scale in our home environment.

They are termed as psocids and prefer residing in spaces which tend to be moist with little or no sunlight exposition and with a constant source of food nearby, primarily fungi or mould. A preferable breeding ground of book lice is places near a constant source of food cereals or paper. They are non winged tiny insects of about 0.0625 inches in length and very strong hind limbs used for manoeuvring and speeding.

Having four stages of nymph metamorphosis, the book lice tend to feed on fungi and mould growing in our mundane food sources like pulses and cereals and thus have the capacity to render them unfit for our consumption.

A pictorial exemplification would be:

2. Bat Bugs:

Bat Bugs (scientific name:Cimex pilosellus) is a species of insects that bear very close resemblance in appearance as well as manifestations. The name ‘Bat bugs’ are applied to the species as members of it tend to colonize around bat nests as their main source of consumption is bat blood.

But however, they tend to migrate and settle into human settlements primarily to feed on human blood and thus deliver painful bites in the process. Also, infestations are rendered due to carriage of the bat bugs by the bugs themselves, anchored on their skin when they fly into human habitats and prepare their colonies.

  • However, a distinction can be made in the sense that bats tend to settle down in close proximities with one another in close knit areas of a human settlement viz. an abandoned house or the attic of a house or an apartment etc.
  • A similarity between bed bugs and bat bugs can be pointed out as like bed bugs, this species is also known to be a non transmitter of diseases and infections as a whole.
  • But as in the case of this species, they often tend to separate out from their bat hosts and wander off to different parts of the house, even making their way to the bedroom or in the bedding, thus easily mistaken to be a bed bug.

Having said that, there is also a final point of departure, between the bat bugs from their bed relatives owing to the fact that bat bugs tend to get exterminated if a constant source of warm blood is not present in a close proximity. But bed bugs can stay over a month without a proper meal of blood thereby sustaining their existence.

Pictorially speaking an example would be:

Bat Bugs (scientific name: Cimex pilosellus)

3. Carpet Beetle:

Carpet beetles (scientific name: Anthrenus verbasci) are considered to be domestic pests and have no direct resemblance to bed bugs as such primarily due to their more or less round and brownish hairy body.

They have a unique feature of settling and infesting museums especially natural museums rendering damages to the natural fibres exhibited there and also a great deal of nuisance to the furniture, bibliography, carpets and so on.

Dead Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) specimen

As the name suggests, their main source of sustenance are carpets, mats, mattresses and rugs that we place on the ground and also are considered detrimental for the books and other documents that we keep in our home.As a domestic pest, they lay their eggs in shady moist areas away from direct sunlight contact. Notable mentions would be unused pipelines, air conditioning ducts and under or behind household furniture.

Macro picture of a varied carpet beetle walking on a old sponge

After hatching, the larvae tend to stay in the dark and consume organic edibles. Also a common favourite for their breeding and development is that of unused musical instruments where they eat up the inner lining and padding along with the woodwork.

As a museum infester, collections of books, bibliography, specimens particularly collections having biological connect face the detrimental effects of carpet beetle habitation.
A picture is cited for identification:

4. Spider Beetle:Having long and sleek limbs and antennae, this species of beetle have a very close resemblance with the spider in shape and appearance.

Spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale)

Also it has a humped posture ranging from brownish red to black colour and has different intra species variations notable among which are the American spider beetle (Mezium americanum),the White marked spider beetle (Ptinus fur) and smooth spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale).

Spider beetle (Mezium americanum)

All the species mentioned have somewhat familiar lifestyles and are more or less scavengers in nature deriving their nutrition majorly from edible materials like leftover food, dead insects, animal skins, books, bones and skeletal remains, hair, leather and the list continues.

They prefer moist, dampened areas of the household and seldom come in contact with any light source, usually the woodwork, for habituation and reproduction. Infestations in food are common and such food items must be immediately disposed off.

5. Cockroach Nymph:With respect to appearance and size to a great extent, cockroach nymphs (Periplaneta americana) are considered astonishingly similar in identification traits as that of bed bugs.

The colour ranges from dark mahogany to a hue of dark brown with a cylindrical body unlike bed bugs and measure about an inch and a half in length. Cockroach-nymphs are essentially not blood suckers and even don’t bite humans.

But the problem with their infestation does lie in the fact that they tend to feed on leftover food and household debris for nutrition derivation and also consume from the food items left for our future consumption. This leads to contamination of food and can lead to infections and in serious cases can yield into food poisoning.An example for identification would be:

American cockroach – Periplaneta Americana

One final point must be placed forward regarding the fact that adult bed bugs do have wing pads but are not capable of taking flights or jump longer distances like the flea. Also, no evidence of bugs that look like bed bugs with wings has been found except that of the carpet beetle.

To conclude, we must however, remember that there are close resemblances of many pests with our household bed bug, but in reality, they tend to be separate species with other distinct attributes. Thus one needs to be careful in identifying especially in the case of a bite.

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like? Here’s Exactly How to Spot the Symptoms

If you wake up with a line of three to four itchy, swollen bumps, it could be due to bed bugs.

Waking up with a fresh set of itchy bug bites can bring on its own set of worries. What, exactly, was biting you in the middle of the night? Was it a spider? Mosquito? Or—possibly theworstcase scenario—could it have been bed bugs?

Although bed bugs might not be the first thing we think of when we wake up with a bite, the crittersdoget their food source from our blood—and will leave a little red bump in their wake after getting their fill.

But the trouble with identifying a bed bug bite—as is true for a lot of insects, including mosquitoes—is that it can be hard to identify the source of the bite, as everyone reacts differently to being bitten based on what their body’s immune response is. “Everybody’s going to respond differently,” saysTimothy Gibb, PhD, a clinical professor of entomology at Purdue University. “Same thing’s true with a mosquito bite. Some people are going to swell up and it’s going to itch. That same mosquito could bite someone else and it’s hardly noticeable.”

In fact, Gibb says some people may have no response when being bitten by a bed bug at all, based solely on how their immune system handles the bite. That’s why it can be difficult to determine whether your bite is the result of a bed bug just by looking at it.

But therearea few things that can tip you off to the fact that bed bugs are the culprit of your bites. Here’s what to know, including bed bug bites pictures to help you visualize the symptoms.

What do bed bug bites look like?

The key bed bug bite symptom to look for is a red, raised bump, says Gibb, similar in appearance to what you would get when bitten by a spider or a mosquito. But what sets bed bugs apart from other insects is that oftentimes,their bites will present in a line on one part or side of your body. This is the result of what’s called “probing.”

⚠️ Bed bug bites show up in a line, most often in a cluster of 3 to 4 bites.

“They probe the skin in several different places, I think probably to find best access to draw blood,” says Gibb. In fact, if you have screens on your windows—thereby keeping out other insects that might bite—but are still waking up with aline of 3 or 4 bites on your arm, it’s safe to suspect that bed bugs might be to blame, saysEdwin Rajotte, PhD, a professor of entomology at Penn State University.

Another way to determine if your bites are a result from bed bugs is to look for the insects themselves. They naturally like to hide in on your mattress, especially in the corners, near the head end, and in the cord that goes around it. They also like to camp out behind the headboard, behind any pictures on the wall, and in any electrical sockets.

Adult bed bugs are about the the size of an apple seed and are very flat from top to bottom—almost as thin as a piece of paper—with a brownish color, says Rajotte. Baby bed bugs are also brownish in color, but pinhead-sized. Another key identifier? Look for black spots on your sheets, mattress, and mattress cover, which could be bed bug feces.

Where do bed bugs bite, exactly?

Bed bug bites willmost commonly occur on the arms, neck, or trunk of the body, says Gibb, although they’ll bite anywhere they can find exposed skin. And—as their name suggests—bed bugs will bite you at night while you’re sound asleep.

“We’ve found it’s most active when people are most sound asleep, and that’s usually from about 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning,” says Gibb. “That’s natural for a parasite like that to do that because it’s going to protect it. People won’t see it, they won’t feel it. It makes their survivorship much more probable.”

Are bed bug bites itchy? Do they hurt?

Although some people will say a bed bug bite hurts somewhat—though not as intensely as the sting of a bee, for example—most complaints are due to the itching the bites cause, says Gibb. And that itching is due to the chemicals the bed bug inserts into your body during the bite, adds Rajotte.

“They’ve become what I consider the perfect parasite, because their mouthparts are kind of interesting,” says Gibb. “They will inject an anesthetic prior to biting, so people won’t feel it. And then they inject an anticoagulant that allows the blood to run easier for them to suck that up.” So while that system works great for thebugs, those left-over chemicals will usually lead to some uncomfortable itching on your end.

How long do bed bug bites last?

Although the duration and intensity of a bed bug bite will hugely vary from person to person, you typically won’t feel the effects of a bed bug bite—like itching and those raised red bumps—until mid-morning after a bite due to the anesthetic the bug injects, says Gibb. “So they certainly don’t feel it when the bite is occurring, but shortly after, probably within a day, for sure,” he adds.

From there, a bed bug bite will stay with you for typically at least 24 hours, though theycould last three to five days after the initial bite, says Gibb. At that point, the bite will then start to slowly dissipate.

How to treat bed bug bites

If you’ve received a bed bug bite (and the itching that comes along with it), chances are, you’re going to want to speed up the treatment process. But unfortunately, the best way to do that is also thehardestway to do it: not scratching the bite, says Gibb, which will just further irritate the area.

If you’re having trouble keeping your fingers away from the bite, you can also try using an antihistamine—think Benadryl or Allegra, which are meant to curb allergy symptoms—to help mute that itchy feeling.

And if bed bugsarethe cause of your bites, realize there’s no urgent need to panic. Yes, they might cost you a pretty penny and can be a pain to get rid of, but bed bugs can’t do any serious damage to your body.“They don’t kill people,” says Gibb. “A parasite would have a hard time surviving if it killed its host, and these do not.”

In fact, they don’t even transmit anything dangerous to you.“They’ve never been shown to transmit any diseases,”says Rajotte. “Unlike mosquitoes and ticks and things, which can transmit some pretty bad diseases, bed bugs do not. And so while they’re annoying and all that, they’re not going to harm your children or anything like that. They’re just annoying and you need to get rid of them.”

Ready to banish them from your home? Here’s our expert-approved, step-by-step guide to getting rid of bed bugs for good.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are wingless. Adults do have the vestiges of wings called wing pads, but they do not fully develop into functional wings.

Adults are brown in color, although their bodies redden after feeding. Full-grown bed bugs move relatively slowly and measure between 4 to 5 mm. Homeowners sometimes have the misconception that bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. The nymphs may be small and difficult to see, but the adults are detectable with the naked eye and may be found in the cracks and crevices they use to hide.

Newly hatched nymphs are approximately the size of the head of a pin and are white or tan until they feed. They often are described as being about the size and shape of an apple seed.

Bed Bug Control

Cimex lectularius L.

Learn what bed bugs look like, and how to detect if you have a bed bug Infestation.

Find out how bed bugs infiltrate your home and where they are attracted to.

Learn about bed bug bites. their feces and how they can impact your health.

Learn how Orkin handles bed bugs, homeopathic cures and the cost of bed bug extermination services.

Is it a Bug, or is it a Bed Bug? Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

While there are numerous bugs that may look like bed bugs, there’s only one way to tell for sure. Learn how to tell bed bugs apart from other pests.

Discovering a bug in your house is an unpleasant experience. Discovering an insect has been tucked into bed with you all night? That’s enough to send a chill down your spine. It could be a one-time incident – or it could be a bed bug.

There are a number of other bugs that look likebed bugs, so how can you be sure this new intruder is a bed bug? There are a few things to look for.

What caused that bite?

Bite marks are one of the first red flags that prompt people to suspect a bug infestation. Even a small mosquito bite might be enough to send a diligent homeowner on a massive inquisition. But bite marks are bad indicators of the type of pest you are dealing with. Mosquitoes, spiders, fleas, bed bugs and even fruit flies, in rare cases, can leave behind itchy red bumps. Allergic reactions and high stress levels are also culprits for skin irritation.

What if I’ve got a bite and a bug?

So you think you’ve found your culprit? You’ve taken the prisoner of war and locked him up in a plastic sandwich bag (you should, this is useful evidence for a pest management professional). You are certain it is a bed bug, but is it? Or are you on a trail of bugs that look like bed bugs? Take a look at the following checkpoints:

What color is it?

What size is it?

What shape is it?

Does it have wings?

Does it bite?

What is its food source?

Is it a bed bug or a flea?

All of the above are bugs that look like bed bugs, but most of these bugs don’t bite. If you have clear evidence of repeated bite marks, you might be able to eliminate the others and focus on the flea. Fleas are most commonly found on animals, but are not picky about their hosts and will feed on humans too. The difference between bed bugs and fleas is that bed bugs are shaped more like an apple seed and crawl. Fleas are much smaller and jump when disturbed.

Bed bugs can create high levels of stress and anxiety. If you suspect you have an infestation, it is best to contact a professional pest management company.

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

What are Earwigs?

Most people have probably heard of earwigs at some point or another. These creepy-looking insects are associated with some urban myths. Learn the truth about earwigs, including what attracts them and how to help get rid of them.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

ARE TICKS DANGEROUS?

The majority of ticks will deliver painless bites without any noticeable symptoms. However, some ticks can carry a variety of bacteria and pathogens for disease. Although not all ticks are dangerous, you don’t want to risk coming into contact with these blood-sucking insects.

Are Bed Bugs Contagious?

Bed bugs are not too picky about where and when they catch a ride and don’t necessarily have a preferred mode of transportation, so it’s no surprise how many people wonder, are bed bugs contagious?

Related Articles

Do Earwigs Bite?

If you shudder a little when you think about earwigs, you’re probably not alone. They’ve developed quite a nasty reputation, thanks to urban legends (mostly false) that have been circulating for years. But are they harmful?

Cluster Flies In Your Home

If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve dealt with annoying flies ruining your summer barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. You may have even become accustomed to whipping out the flypaper and heavy-duty bug zappers the minute you hear the familiar buzz of a fly. These annoying pests are likely house flies, which can pose significant health risks to you and your family. But have you ever seen large, sluggish flies loitering inside your home in the autumn and winter? They may be cluster flies.

Tips to Get Rid of Stink Bugs in Your House

Now that it’s fall, it’s officially indoor stink bug season. Before it becomes winter, brown marmorated stink bugs are looking for comfortable overwintering sites to spend the cold months—and that can often mean that they may find a way to sneak into your house. While the odor that a stink bug releases is not dangerous, they are definitely a nuisance. Luckily, there are steps you can take to get rid of stink bugs in your house—without having to deal with the unpleasant smell.

What are Sand Fleas?

Many people love going to the beach to spend time in the sun, sand, and water. But they might not love some of the nuisances that live at the beach or in the ocean, such as gnats or jellyfish. But, what about the sand flea, a small critter that can be found in moist areas such as under rocks or debris. Keep reading to learn exactly what sand fleas are and if you need to worry about them.

The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

The Return of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The change of seasons from summer to fall means many things: leaves changing colors, dropping temperatures, and—depending on where you live—stink bugs sneaking into your home. Stink bugs were named for their distinct ability to emit an unpleasant odor when they are threatened or disturbed by predators like lizards or birds. This also means that if stink bugs enter your home and feel threatened, you’ll be faced with dealing with their strong smell in your house. As we head into fall, you might find yourself with more active stink bugs than usual, so it’s important to know the basics about these smelly insects.

Bedbugs Slideshow: An Informative Look at Bedbugs

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

As if you needed something else to worry about, bedbugs, those pests from the old bedtime rhyme are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they’re showing up to suck blood from people in hotels, college dorms, and hospitals. Take an informative look at bedbugs: what they are, where they lurk, and how to spot them before they get you.

Know the Enemy

Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn’t grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer.В Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.

Am I at Risk for Infestation?

Bedbugs are most often found in hotels, hostels, shelters, and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go. Because bedbugs hide in small crevices, they can hitch a ride into your home on luggage, pets, furniture, clothing, boxes, and other objects. Bedbugs are found worldwide, but are most common in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due, in part, to increases in international travel.

Feeding Habits

These nocturnal creatures can hide in beds, floors, furniture, wood, and paper trash during the day. We humans usually become their dinner during the night, with peak biting activity just before dawn.They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for 10 months, and can go weeks without feeding.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bites

Amazingly, these sneaky little bloodsuckers dine on you without waking you. You don’t feel their stealthy bite because they inject a numbing agent into your body, along with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. The first sign of bedbugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.

Treating Bites

Bedbug bites do not usually require treatment. If a secondary infection occurs (usually from scratching), apply a local antiseptic lotion or antibiotic cream or ointment. Creams with corticosteroids and oral antihistaminesare used for the primary, unbearable symptom of itch. In these more severe cases, you may need to see your doctor.

Do Bedbugs Transmit Diseases?

Bedbugs are more of a nuisance than a health hazard. In a recent study, researchers reviewed 53 recent studies on bedbugs and their health and medical effects. The results showed that although bedbugs have been blamed for the spread of up to 40 different human diseases, there is little evidence to suggest they are carriers of human disease.

Bedbug or Imposter?

Don’t assume your bites are bedbugs. Bites can be hard to identify, even for doctors. Rule out mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and biting gnats by conducting a visual inspection. It’s best to collect and identify bedbugs to confirm bites. Look for the bugs themselves or their bloodstains, especially along the seams of mattresses. Further, look for dark spots of insect waste where bedbugs might crawl into hiding places on furniture, walls, and floors.

Bite Back Against Bedbugs

Professional exterminators should get involved right off the bat—tell your landlord, super, hospital administrator, hotel owner, or you call a professional right up front. The exterminator will locate the bed bugs (which may be found in more than one location) and exterminate as needed. YOU will have to do a lot of laundry.В

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(4) Mark Andersen
(5) В© Pulse Picture Library/CMP Images / Phototake — All rights reserved.
(6) Dr. Kenneth Greer / Visuals Unlimited
(7) Darlyne A. Murawski / National Geographic
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New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene.
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Lancaster County.
Washington Post.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 17, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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