How Small Bed Bugs Are

Bugs Often Mistaken For Bed Bugs

Sonny HenegarFollow

Manager at IBBRA, LLC

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Since bed bugs are new for so many that have never heard about them, and people are used to insects they have grown up with, it is often that people mistake other bugs for bed bugs. Sadly, professionals have treated for bed bugs when it was carpet beetles. Yes, even professionals have mis-identified other insects for bed bugs. OK, so we are not perfect but let us all work on perfecting our skills.

When a person observes a small bug crawling across their bed, because of bed bugs in the news, they automatically assume it is a bed bug. Well in many cases, it is, but in many cases, it isn’t.

The most important part of any professional treatment is identifying the bug for what it is and what it is not, because life cycles, nature and treatments vary with each insect.

Some people are allergic to any bug bite like me. A flea, a fly, a mosquito, it doesn’t matter what it is, I get a reaction.

Now, it does make a difference in having “bites” and actually knowing the bug that bit you. Many people assume the bite they have is from a bed bug where in many cases it could be that evening bar-b-q or sitting out at dusk that yields a mosquito bite or two. This, “not knowing or assuming can lead to infestations”.

I’ve been asked to take some of the information in my Bed Bug Health Effects – the Physical and Mental Implications of Bed Bugs book and share.

I specifically wrote this book to assist dermatologists and general practitioners when addressing a person with rashes, allergic reactions and mysterious itchy bites. Strange but true, many doctors make the diagnosis as food, medicine or material allergies when it is a case of bed bugs.

OK, if you’re a practitioner don’t beat yourself up because you don’t automatically know if it is a bed bug bite. Everyone reacts differently and it is hard to tell unless you have the “bug in a bag” to show us.

Another reason I was compelled to write this book was I had been receiving calls from Health Departments across the nation that had been dealing with people calling in with these mysterious rashes and bites.

I remind people that you can’t just look at the rash or bite and know for sure it was from bed bugs and the best thing to do is bring a specimen to the doctor’s office.

The sky is not falling and bed bugs are not taking over the world (yet) but we all need to know the signs and symptoms that accompany having bed bugs before we run to the doctor.

Most of the time, bed bugs bites will go away on their own in a few days just like a mosquito bite. But, there are people that can get a more serious reaction that requires medical attention. In six years, I have experienced several calls where a person had blisters and welts that were inflamed, infected, and required immediate medical intervention. Two callers had an anaphylactic reaction and needed to go to the hospital.

The bite from a bed bug can irritate symptoms of other underlining conditions as well. Only you know your body and if at any time, you feel the need or are suspect of a more serious problem from any bite, rash or reaction, do not delay in seeking immediate medical attention.

So let’s take a look at some of the culprits that are often accused of being bed bugs.

First, let’s look closely at the bed bug and examine its physiology from eggs, through instar development to adult.

These are highly magnified bed bugs eggs. Notice each egg has a small “hatch lid” at the end of it. This is where the bed bug emerges. Notice their small red eyes through the translucent egg.

Once hatched, the young nymph’s body is also translucent.


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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.


Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.


Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.


University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs

Due to the recent increase in bed bug infestations, waking up to find a bug in your bedroom can cause loads of anxiety and worry. Before you start resorting to desperate measures, take some time to learn to recognize bed bugs and common bed bug imposters. Below is the list of bugs that look like bed bugs.

To make a distinction, Lets start with what does bed bugs look like

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, brownish-red insects that feed on blood. They are attracted to warmth and carbon dioxide, so they often live in bedding or mattresses and emerge at night to feed on sleeping humans.

The anatomy of a bed bug consists of an oval shaped body, a small broadly attached head, and compound eyes. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed (4-5 mm in length).

They have segmented abdomens with tiny, colored hairs that give them a striped appearance. Their antennae are shorter than their legs and have four segments. Bed bugs do not have wings and must crawl to get around.

Now that you can identify a bed bug, take a look at common bugs mistaken for bed bugs and how you can tell them apart.

1. Bat Bug

Diet: Bat bugs feed strictly on blood, but as the name infers, they prefer to feed on bats or sometimes birds, rather than humans. If their source of food leaves or is eliminated, they will go in search of other food and may then bite humans.

2. Swallow Bug

Appearance : Like Bat Bugs, Swallow bugs are also extremely close to bed bugs in appearance. Through magnification you can see that their bodies are covered all over in fine, long hair that is longer than the width of its eye.

Diet: A swallow bug’s preferred blood meal is a cliff or barn swallow. When their primary food source is not available, swallow bugs will feed on human blood.

Habitat : Swallow bugs are typically found living in swallow holes or nests, but will move into homes and businesses if necessary for survival. In homes, swallow bugs are often found coming out of walls or on ceilings, especially on upper floors close to possible swallow dwellings.

3. Spider Beetle

Ap pearance : Spider beetles are reddish-brown to black with shiny globe shaped abdomens. They are smaller than bed bugs, measuring between 1.5-3.5 mm long.

Some varieties have cream colored hairs on their head and legs, while others are completely brown. Spider beetles have long legs, 2 body segments, and 2 long antenna. When seen from above, these beetles resemble a spider.

Diet: Spider beetles are scavengers that eat cereals, grains, dried fruit, and even bird or rodent droppings. They do not typically bite humans.

Habitat: Spider beetles forage at night and are most often found in household pantries or attics. During the day, spider beetles will hide in dark cracks and crevices near their food source.

4. Book Louse Bug

Appearance: An adult book louse is much smaller than an adult bed bug, growing only from 1-1.5 mm long. They are translucent white, gray or light brown and have three clear body segments.

Sometimes booklice are mistaken for bed bug nymphs because of their light color, but their elongated shape and pronounced head helps to identify them.

Diet: Booklice feed on fungi and mold, as well as cereals, pollen, fragments of dead insects, and other things that have mold growth. The do not bite or feed on humans.

Habitat: Since they eat mold and fungi, booklice are most often found in moist places like kitchens and bathrooms. If you see them in the pantry, it may signal mold growth in the food.

They can also be found under wallpaper, in furniture, on the sides of windows, and other humid places.

5. Cockroach Nymphs

Appearance: At the nymph stage, cockroaches are similar in size to bedbugs and are the same characteristic reddish-brown color. They have a small head with a flat body, but are more cylinder shaped than bed bugs.

A good distinguishing factor is that cockroach nymphs, like full grown cockroaches, have long antennae and two cerci (appendages) at their rear end.

Diet: Cockroach nymphs do not feed on blood like bed bugs. Cockroaches are omnivores that eat both plants and animals and are known to eat almost anything. They prefer sweets, starches, and meats, but if food grows scarce, they may potentially bite humans.

Habitat: Cockroaches live near food sources where it is dark, warm, and moist. In homes, the bathroom and kitchen are favorite dwelling places, and cockroaches may cluster under sinks, in cupboards, behind the refrigerator, or in cracks and crevices.

They are most active at night when they come out to forage.

6. Wood Ticks

A ppearance : Wood ticks, also known as dog ticks, come in a range of colors, but are often brown with gray patterns on their backs. Wood ticks have a wide, oval body with a flattened top that expands and makes their shape more round as they feed on blood.

Ticks can range in size from 3.5-15 mm depending on when they ate last. Ticks have two primary body sections and are members of the arachnid family, which means that they have eight legs.

Diet: Like bed bugs, ticks survive on the blood of humans and animals. While bed bugs bite in lines or clusters, ticks will find one warm place to latch on and then burrow their head into the skin until they have finished eating.

Habitat: Ticks live primarily in wooded locations in tall grass, leaves, shrubs, and other brush. They do not jump or fly, but instead cling on to passing humans or animals.

The most common places to find ticks indoors are on pets, near pet dwellings, in small crevices, or in between floor boards.

7. Fleas

Appearance : Fleas are black to reddish brown and are smaller than bed bugs, ranging from 1.5-3.3 mm long. They also appear narrower and more oval shaped.

Fleas are flat in the vertical plane, whereas bed bugs appear flat horizontally. Fleas also have long, powerful legs with the hind pair being thicker and adapted for jumping.

Diet: Fleas are also blood feeders. Fleas prefer animal hosts over human ones. If an animal isn’t close by, however, fleas will not hesitate to bite and feed on humans.

Habitat: In the outdoors, fleas prefer to live in shady, cool places with lots of vegetation. When they find a host, they can hitch a ride into homes. Fleas generally tend to congregate in carpets, on pets, or in areas where pets sleep or spend time.

8. Black Carpet Beetle

Appearance: Black carpet beetles are approximately 5 mm long and round in shape. They typically have shiny black bodies with brown legs.

There are many other varieties of carpet beetles that will vary in color and can have brown, gray, or even yellow markings. Unlike bed bugs, carpet beetles have wings and can fly.

Diet: Carpet beetles are attracted to flowers and feed on pollen and nectar. They also eat a variety of animal products like silk, hair, wool, and even other dead insects.

Carpet beetles do not bite humans, although the bristly hair of a carpet beetle can cause an allergic reaction on some people, which can lead to red skin rashes and welts.

Habitat: The preferred habitat of the carpet beetle is bird, rodent or insect nests. Once they enter homes, they can often be found between walls, in chimneys, crawlspaces, attics and basements, or anywhere there are indoor plants or dead insects.

Now What?

You find a creepy-crawly in your home and have used your new found knowledge to identify it as a dreaded bed bug… now what? While they are difficult to get rid of, with a little patience it can be done.

It is possible to try do-it-yourself bed bug removal. This consists of deep cleaning your home, washing and drying all textiles in high heat, and sometimes chemical treatments as well.

While it can be done, it is important to follow proper instructions for best results and safety.

If you have a large bed bug problem or cannot completely eliminate the bed bugs after a few attempts, it might be time to call a professional exterminator that is certified and specializes in bed bug removal.

Pest management companies use an integrated approach to ensure that the adults as well as the eggs are eliminated.

Bed bugs and their lookalikes can be tricky to identify and treat, but with a little knowledge you can take back your home.

Small Bed Bugs – How Size Matters

If you’re like a lot of concerned homeowners, you’ve probably wondered how to spot the pest you’re dealing with. Maybe you’ve even wondered if bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye because they’re so small and so hard to catch in the act.

The truth is, there’s a lot of misinformation floating around about how to identify bed bugs versus other bugs, and knowing their size can make a big difference in proper identification. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to gather all the most accurate information about bed bugs and make it available to people who need the facts.

What I’ve discovered is that yes, you can spot and identify bed bugs in your home. Knowing what size of insect you’re dealing with is a good starting point. Once you realize how small bed bugs are, you’ll be better equipped to use the right methods for finding them and treating your home. Get the rest of the facts by reading on.

How Small Are Adult Bed Bugs?

One of the reasons that bed bugs are so hard to find is that they tend to only come out when you’re sleeping or otherwise distracted, but another reason why is that they actually are quite small. In fact, adult bed bugs are only around 4 to 5 millimeters in size.

To visualize just how small that is, a single lentil is a little over 6 millimeters. The adult bed bug is just smaller than a lentil.

Now, the thing about finding and identifying bed bugs is that you may not ever see the adult bugs. When that’s the case, you need to know how to identify bed bug nymphs and eggs, as well as other signs of bed bug activity.

Feeding time

Interestingly, bed bugs do change size with each feeding. After ingesting blood from a host, the insects will fill up and go from a flat shape to a more filled out shape. However, because bed bugs come out at night and crawl back to their hiding places quickly after feeding to digest their blood meals, you’re more unlikely to see them in their fully-fed state.

How Small Are Baby Bed Bugs?

Baby bed bugs are called nymphs, and they look somewhat different from older bed bugs. Their color is more translucent. Also, baby bed bugs are smaller than the adults. Adult bed bugs are already quite difficult to find because of their size, and the nymphs’ translucent color along with their even smaller diameter makes them even more difficult to spot.

Whereas an adult bed bug is close to the size of a lentil, baby bed bugs, depending upon their stage of life, may be smaller than a sesame seed, which is about 3 millimeters in size. Baby bed bugs range from 1.5 millimeters to 4 millimeters.

Bed bugs move through five nymph stages before reaching adulthood. They grow with each stage, as well as shedding their outer skin to allow for growth. You may see these molted skins on sheets or furniture–a sign that you have baby bed bugs in your home. On average, bed bugs grow about half a millimeter with each molt.

As with adult bed bugs, baby bed bugs can also change size slightly after feeding.

How Small Are Bed Bug Eggs?

You may have guessed that bed bug eggs are even smaller and even more difficult to spot than the adult bed bugs or nymphs, and you’d be right. Despite being so small, you can see bed bug eggs with the naked eye. They are about the size of a poppyseed, around 1 millimeter.

Bed bug eggs – CC Image courtesy of British Pest Control Association

If you happen to find a bed bug nest, you may be able to see the eggs with the aid of a bright flashlight. The eggs are also pearly white in color, and they will have eye markings on them if they are more than 5 days old.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

If you’ve found small bugs that fit the size descriptions here and you’re trying to figure out for sure if they are bed bugs, the good news is that bed bug nymphs and adult bed bugs look pretty similar to each other. This is especially true for the older nymphs as they are reaching adulthood themselves.

Adult bed bugs are a rusty or brownish color, and they look flat and oval if it’s been a while since they’ve fed on blood. Once they’ve eaten, their body takes on a fatter, more elongated shape, like a cylinder. Their color also changes after feeding, becoming redder.

The nymphs are similar in shape, though smaller, and their coloring can be white or yellow and translucent if they are young.

Are Small Bed Bugs Hard To Find?

Small bed bugs can be hard to find, but with the right strategy, it’s not impossible. Bed bugs and their eggs are typically going to be found close to a source of blood, and because they prefer human blood over that of other animals, their hideout locations are at least somewhat predictable. After all, they wouldn’t be called bed bugs if they weren’t often found in beds.

Knowing likely locations will make finding the tiny pests easier. Look in cracks and crevices around places where you tend to sleep or sit still for long periods of time. That means you should check under the edges of mattresses, under couch cushions, and under chair cushions. You may also want to look at the joints on furniture frames and the cracks along baseboards.

You should also check any luggage that you traveled with to ensure you don’t bring bed bugs with you after a trip. Using a flashlight can make this task much easier.

You may find cast off outer skin layers from when the nymphs molt and grow. These can be found outside the hiding area, in places where bed bugs have been active and feeding. Finding the molted skins is a good indication that you have a fairly large infestation and it’s time to find the hideout.

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs With DIY Treatment Methods

Hiring pest control professionals can be costly, and while it’s usually the best option, there are some preliminary steps you can take to get rid of bed bugs yourself.

1. Carefully bag and wash all of your bedding and clear any clutter around the room. Bed bugs love to hide in piles of clothes, so remove these and wash them before you start cleaning.

3. Use a high-powered vacuum to clean around the bed to take care of stray bugs and eggs. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter is vital to ensure bed bugs cannot escape once captured. The Shark Navigator Upright Vacuum easily ticks all of the boxes while remaining lightweight and easily maneuverable.

4. Use a specialist, non-toxic bed bug spray to clean your bed-frame, headboard, and surrounding furniture. Bed Bug Patrol Bed Bug Killer is a completely natural spray that has a reported 100% kill rate against live bed bugs in controlled tests, and most importantly, it’s child and pet-friendly.

5. Pull your bed away from the walls and place bed bug interceptor cups under each leg. These will isolate your bed and help to prevent the spread of bed bugs. Additionally, interceptors can serve as tools to help you track progress. Ideally, the interceptors should contain fewer bed bugs every time you empty them. My favorites are these Bed Bug Blocker Interceptor Traps.

6. Using a bed bug mattress protector to encase your mattress will either help to save it if it’s yet to be infested, or otherwise keep bed bugs trapped in and around it until they eventually die of starvation. My favorite is the SureGuard Mattress Encasement which is thick, strong, and will help to stop bed bugs of all sizes from getting to, or from, your mattress. A SureGuard Box Spring Encasement is also available.

7. If you wish to be extremely thorough, specialist bed bug heaters can be purchased to raise household items to a temperature that is sure to kill all bed bugs and eggs. ZappBug is the most popular option, and is designed to automatically reach the all-important killing temperature to eradicate all stages of the bed bugs life cycle. Large and small versions are also available.


Yes, bed bugs are really small. That being said, small bed bugs can still be found and gotten rid of. You just need to be careful, vigilant, and most of all, you must feel like you’re in control of the situation.

Bed Bug Pictures


Bed bug pictures are located throughout the page. The pictures are divided into easy to identify sections to help determine the size and shape of the bug, the different life stages you may find and help you determine if you have have an infestation and what to do next.

What do bed bugs look like?

By examining the bed bug pictures you will see that bed bugs are small insects with oval shaped bodies, six legs and two antennae. Their coloration will vary depending on their age as well as whether or not they have fed recently. View the bed bug pictures to get a better look at the shape, size and color variations. Nymphs (young bed bugs) are semi-translucent. When they feed they fill with blood, making their belly a dark brown and sometimes causing a spotted pattern where the blood is visible inside their abdomen. Adult bed bugs will be either a light brown with a flat, oval belly if unfed or a deep brown/red color with an engorged belly if they have fed.

Unsure if you have been bitten by bed bugs? View our page on identifying bed bug bites.

Do you think you could have Bed Bugs? What should you do?

If you find bugs that look like the pictures here, or if you’ve been travelling recently and have returned with bug bites, you should be aware that you may be infested with bed bugs.

Bed bug infestations have risen dramatically recently, spreading throughout the globe as their pesticide resistance increases. Anyone who travels is especially at risk for bed bug infestation, no matter how nice of a hotel you stay at. They’ve also spread into public spaces, infesting buses, libraries, hospitals, movie theaters and more. According to pest control professionalsbed bug treatments have increased by over 9000%in the last decade alone.


The good news is bed bug infestations can be prevented and eliminated with fast, inexpensive heat treatment. You can use ZappBug quickly and easily to make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home with you, and to kill any bed bugs that may have already made it to your home.

If these bugs look familiar you should check out how to kill all bed bugs with ZappBug’s heat treatment chambers and our free 8-Step Approach on how to get rid of of Bed Bugs.


The bed bug’s body size also varies through their lifetime. Nymphs or juvenile bed bugs range from the size of a bed bug egg (0.09 inches, 2.5mm) to the size of full adult bed bugs at ( 0.18 inches, 4.5mm). For reference, 0.1 inches is slightly over the thickness of a quarter. Adult bed bugs are approximately the size of an apple seed.


What do bed bug eggs look like?

Bed bug eggs are small (around 0.1 inches, 2.5mm) long and appear white or semi-transparent, similar to a grain of uncooked white rice. They will be sticky to the touch and usually clustered together. You can also find shed egg shells after the infant bed bugs have hatched, but as these are very small and can resemble general debris you should look for active bugs and eggs as well.

On average female adult bed bugs will lay 1-5 eggs per day. They can be laid on almost any surface but are typically found in cracks or rough surfaces, especially around your mattress seams. They hatch within about a week. Over her lifetime, a female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs. This and the fact that bed bugs are good at hiding allows bed bug populations to spread and grow quickly.

You can quickly stop the eggs from hatching with a non-harmful heat treatment. Learn more.


Bed Bug Front Legs

Their front legs bend forward. Bed bugs are insects and therefore have six legs, three on each side. Their legs are clustered in the front of their body, with their large abdomens behind their third set of legs. They also have large antennae that extend straight out to the sides of their heads, beyond the curl of their front set of legs

Bed bug bodies have a very distinctive body shape. Notice the oval, almost egg-shaped body shown in the illustration. This is what you want to look for and the majority of your bed bugs (especially all nymphs) will have this shape. Adult bed bugs are capable of ingesting several times their body weight worth of blood, so their shape can change as they feed. They will go from relatively flat to more round, with an engorged abdomen. In rare cases they may have a more elongated appearance instead of the rounded oval seen here, but that will fade as they digest their food. Bed bugs that have fed recently are the most dangerous because they may be prepared to lay eggs.


What do dead bed bugs look like?

After treatment dead bed bugs will appear shriveled and curled up, with their legs and sometimes their heads curled into the middle of their body. In heat treatment they will often cluster together into a pile, as seen in this picture taken in the aftermath of heat treatment using a ZappBug Room. If you’re treating with pesticides or other products the bed bugs can shed their skin in an attempt to prevent death.



Bed bugs leave signs of infestation that are very useful to help identify them. The most obvious of these is the dark stains similar to blood left by their feces. These will be especially evident in the areas where the bed bugs spend most of their time, such as the underside of a mattress. You should also be on the lookout for eggs and molted shells, which will often be in the same location as staining. If the infestation is severe enough you may notice a characteristic smell that has been compared to sweet moldy gym socks or rotting raspberries, although some have contested that it’s more like coriander. While it’s uncommon for the smell to be notable it’s very evident to dogs and there are now many canine detection services that can help you find out if you do have an infestation.

Remember that when you’re looking for bed bugs it’s best to find an actual bug to confirm infestations; the signs above are helpful but it’s easy to become hyper-vigilant and assume that any general debris is a sign when you’re stressed out about bed bugs.



If you find bugs with both curled front legs and a distinctive, oval body shape then there is a good chance that they are bed bugs. We highly recommend that you take a proactive approach to the situation and follow our8-Step Approach to Get Rid of Bed Bugs. It’s a completely free guide packed full of information on the easiest and most effective ways of fighting bed bugs.

Heat treatment is the best way to kill bed bugs:they die within one minute at temperatures of 120F, without the use of any pesticides or sprays!

ZappBug makes a line of affordable products that are able to safely treat most household items:

  • chairs
  • couches
  • luggage
  • area rugs
  • shoes
  • books
  • files/papers
  • clothes
  • bedding
  • electronics and more

We offer three different sizes to suit all your needs, from carry-on luggage up to mattresses and couches. Each of our products is portable and designed to be easy to use; just place your items in the ZappBug with the included wireless thermometer, set the timer and you’re good to go! Within a couple hours you’ll have saved your belongings with no mess and for much less than it would cost to replace them.

Please check out our ZappBug Heater, ZappBug Oven 2, and ZappBug Room for more information.


nice to meet you

Thank you for explaining that bed bugs are small insects with oval-shaped bodies. My boyfriend has been complaining about some bites on his skin which appear after he sleeps. I think he should look into having a bed bug removal professional come out and treat his home if he spots any of these critters.

This is great information and very well done! We are having some Bed Bug issues here in the DC area and so our company is in the process of expanding into this area, training a crew of pest control specialists and starting a business. This site has been very useful in providing additional information and strategy on how to re-mediate and treat them. We have a website that we are *starting to build as well which will be very informative for people here locally in the Northern VA/ DC area:

Thanks for providing some great knowledge and strategy for us!

very nice post because i need bed bugs controlr

Do bed bugs have spots on there back if not what is it.

Most likely a carpet beetle.

Can I use bug spray to prevent bedbugs biting? Do K-9 carry bedbugs?

No honey, it takes more than just household spray to rid your home of bedbugs.
You have to have a professional, either with an industrial grade spray, or
the heat method they mention, but that is pricey.
But it’s something you have to do.

Can I spray bug spray to prevent bedbugs from bighting. Can a k-9 give you bedbugs

Do dogs carry bedbugs? This is my second time fighting bedbugs in the past four months! My
Shi-tzu is the only animal in the house and sleeps with me we have assumed they came from her. Are we correct?

yes. dogs can carry them,as well as any pet that has fur. if you see any biting or scratching and dont see any sign of any other causes then its probably bedbugs.

No …..bedbugs hate fur an hair , yes they may bite an animal but they will not hang out on them. Deep woods off will prevent them from biting you as well as lavender oil. While I was fumigating a house I sprayed my feet an legs up ymto my knees with a lavender oil / water mix since they cant jump or fly that’s sufficient.

We stayed at my cousins for two months. We moved recently. She called and told me they have bed bugs all in the room we stayed. I used my pillows there. How can i tell if my pillows are infested and how do i keep them from infesting my new house. I havent seen any sign of them on my bed or pillows so far but my body is still tore up and i cant stop itching. Its been two weeks in our miserable from the bites. I dont think they are new though how long will it take for my body to heal? What can i do to ease the pain.


Throw your pillows and everything else in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes…..they will not survive it. Just to be safe do that and every few days check areas where you are at the most ….down in your couch an your bed of course. You will be able to see them they are not so small they are invisible and they leave quite the mess. Good luck.

My co-worker had a bedbug on her today, we were on the 2nd floor. 20 minutes later another co-worker found one on his suit jacket! Not a coincident huh. Well our job did nothing about it after I asked twice to leave they said “let make sure it’s bedbugs before causing an alarm” if I bring bedbugs home can I sue. Just asking

Well I just now got in Benton and the last few days me and my child now that I see them I guess they’ve been around for a while don’t know how I haven’t gotten bit there’s so many cracks and crevices here there’s no way I can control them I guess I have allergic reaction and my son cuz I’m swelled everywhere but looks awful and I guess I have one big as a cockroach that. Big mine are all in the last 2 days first time ever bit

My husband and I were getting into bed last night and we noticed what looked like some maybe dirt on the bed, we brushed it off thinking maybe it was from the puppy or something but tonight we were getting in to bed and seen it and we looked closer and it was black spots all over the fitted sheet, that was all. No pillows or nothing just the sheet. they brushed right off but we are worried could this be bed bugs or am I tripping for no reason?? we haven’t noticed any bites what so ever so we are hoping it isn’t what we fear .

Hi I have found one bed bug on the wall of my kitchen by the back door I live in a apartment building. Now I’m not sure if my apartment has any more bed bugs in it , how do I find any ? And if I found just one would there be more ? Please help !?

My daughter is a care giver and one home she is in regularly and over night once a week, has a bad bed bug infestation. The bugs just roil out of the walls. I am terrified of her bringing them here in her clothing! She usually puts her work clothes on the back porch when she gets home. If there are bugs in her clothes, is the back steps far enough from the house to keep them from seeking a warm place (my home!?)
Thank you very much.

My husband and I have been fighting bed bugs for months, now. We have 2 small children and money is tight. Other than heat and alcohol, what are effective ways to combat them without hurting the kids and pets? Also, is there a way to prevent another infestation? This is our second time doing this.

Food Grade or Pet Grade Diatomaceous Earth is another non-toxic option to help you treat a bed bug infestation. We have information available about DE in our 4th step in the 8-step approach on our website. The best preventative method we would suggest is heat treating your items after traveling or if you been in a populated area.

-The ZappBug Team

Yes you need to get the essential oils lavender peppermint chamomile in tea tree dilute them with water these are essential oils

Also Clove oil mixed with the peppermint and lavender is a good spray to use.

I’m not a professional by no means, so everything I say to you please don’t take the heart that it is safe or it is successful. However, and my particular case let me tell you how it went. My daughter had went on a little trip with her oldest brother to the beach in Florida she came back and after about two weeks every time I came in my room I saw a couple bugs on my bed I didn’t know what the excuse my language, hell, they were Tarrant well of course oh so now I was thinking bed bugs don’t let the bedbugs bite. LOL I read somewhere to use ammonia. And this is what I’m saying this is not something that I’m recommending you do I’m just telling you that I did it and it got rid of them for a while. I took my mattress out I sprayed it down with a air hose and then I drenched my mattresses with ammonia actually drench my whole room with ammonia and a little bit thru the house. now the reason I did not do the whole house because of how my investigating it how to get rid of these bed bugs that is where I learned to use ammonia and they said pretty much the exact words I’m about to tell you please don’t think that going to sleep on your couch is going to keep the bedbugs away from you because they are attracted to your carbon monoxide are carbon dioxide, please excuse me for my stupidity, I get those confused. But they’re actually attracted to that and they’ll follow you. But bottom line is mine one away and I did find one particular pillow with a hole in it that I think they were really nesting in and I got rid of it kept spraying my room down just my bedroom down every night almost with ammonia and they disappeared. however coincidentally enough winter was coming to. And from what I learned in my research is that bed bugs like a certain temperature and it’s a good room temperature so they don’t like the extreme cold is what I read do not quote anything I’m saying because, like I’m sure everybody else has heard, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. But just so happens I did get rid of my bed bugs but also just so happens it was turning cold as well and I again, drownded my bedroom with ammonia. Which is very bad for you to inhale so you’ve got to air your room out extremely before returning to it to sleep in it. Again I’m not a professional and I’m not telling you that this is the route you need to go I’m just simply telling you what I did, And I believe I said already at work they all disappeared for a while. Unfortunately the ending story or the end of my story is not a good one. I woke up this morning as my alarm went off on my phone and looked over and there I believe was a bedbug right next to me because when I grab my tissue and smashed it blood comes out of it. It was just kind of rather larger than the ones I’ve seen before. but also keep in mind I was half asleep so and I was panicking because I’ve got a phobia of pretty much all type of bugs like especially, it’s very hard for me to say this word so instead of using my text to speech I’m just going to type it LOL, roaches. It is a confirmed severe phobia of mine and bed bugs are becoming one too. Anyway I believe I’ve spoken enough and I feel I need to repeat this one more time I’m not a professional please do not take my advice as something that you would actually take from a professional bug killer please I’m not or will not be held responsible for anything that happens and my biggest fear is spraying down the ammonia and re-entering the room too quickly because I know that ammonia is very bad for your lungs. But again like I said before, the end of my story is not good it looks like, where I live it is beginning to warm up again, so it looks like they’re coming right back. But I wish every one of you the best and getting rid of this or these filthy creatures or irritating.. because I have been bitten I believe a couple times and the bites seems to stay there forever it continues to itch seemingly forever. if you have problems like this. I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope you do me as well. God bless

I would !ike to know how cold can they live and how long does the cold need to last

We got bed bugs 2 weeks ago from hand me down clothes. I found a mature one crawling on me 2 days after the clothes bag was dumped onto our couch. We had chemical treatment done 1 week ago over the entire house and now I just found 1 spot in my couch with living nymphs and eggs. Is it safe to assume they did not spray this spot? We are literally out of money after the last treatment. It’s only been a week and a half since the treatment and can’t have them do a second treatment until 30 days after… what do we do?

I would contact the company that did the treatment and let them know that you are still seeing bed bugs and make sure they do the follow-up treatment. Also, you can treat the couch with Diatomaceous Earth, here is a link to our 4th step in our 8-step approach explaining how to use Diatomaceous Earth. Let us know if you have any other questions.

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