How Small Bed Bugs Look

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.

Bedbugs

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

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.

Continued

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.

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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.

Sources

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."

Bed Bug Size: A Growing Problem

In order to properly identify a bed bug, it helps to know exactly what to look for. Characteristics such as color, shape and size can help you differentiate bed bugs from other insects.

Bed bugs have two antennae, six legs and oval-shaped bodies. They’re relatively flat and small, with bed bug sizes ranging from 1 mm to 7 mm, depending on their age and life cycle stage. Coloration also varies with age and how recently they’ve blood fed. While immature bed bugs – also referred to as nymphs – are semi-translucent,adults tend to be reddish-brown before a blood meal and bright red immediately after blood feeding. Check out the bed bugs pictures shown here to get an idea of their actual size and to familiarize yourself with their characteristics.

Bed Bug Pictures: Actual Size

The first thing most people do when trying to identify a potential bed bug is to examine bed bug pictures. The actual size of bed bugs can vary, depending on life stage and age. To help understand bed bugs and theirlife cycle, here’s a general bed bug size comparison of each stage:

  • Eggs are tiny, about the size of a pin head (1 mm)
  • 1st stage nymph (1.5 mm)
  • 2nd stage nymph (2 mm)
  • 3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm)
  • 4th stage nymph (3 mm), about the size of a sesame seed
  • 5th stage nymph (4.5 mm)
  • Adult bed bugs (5-7 mm or 3/16-1/4 inch), about the size of an apple seed

The life cycleof a bed bug includes multiple nymphal stages, with the insects blood feeding between each nymphal stage. Bed bugs typically mature in two to six weeks (depending on environmental temperature and availability of blood meal hosts) and adults can survive for six months to a year without blood, however the females must have a blood meal in order to reproduce. Ideal temperatures for bed bug propagation are above 70°F. Considering a single female can lay between 200 and 500 eggs in a lifetime (10-50 eggs laid at a time) even a single bed bug sighting should be taken seriously to help curtail the reproductive cycle of these insects. Pest control professionals should be consulted as early as possible to identify and control a potential infestation.

Bed Bug Size Comparison and Lookalikes

Bed bugs can easily be mistaken for someother types of insects, such as bat bugs, swallow bugs, lice, carpet beetles and fleas. Whether you’re interested in familiarizing yourself with bed bug characteristics before traveling or trying to determine whether or not you have an issue in your home or other areas, it’s important to understand some of theirbasic characteristics.

In general, adult bed bugs are:

  • About the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16-1/4 inch long)
  • Flat, oval-shaped and reddish-brown (if not blood fed recently)
  • Balloon-like and bright red (if blood fed recently)
  • Produce a foul, somewhat musty odor
  • Not known to jump or fly, but walk instead
  • Unlikely to live on human hosts, but come out from hiding spots to blood feed

It can be difficult for untrained individuals to correctly identify bed bugs based solely on the aforementioned characteristics like size and/or color, but having this information, in addition to bed bug images, can help make the process a bit it easier. If you’re unsure whether or not an insect you’ve seen is a bed bug or are concerned that you may have an infestation, an on-site assessment by a professional pest control technician is recommended. Considercontacting Terminix® todayfor a FREE inspection, and find out how our customized treatments can help eliminate bed bugs.

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?

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Do Earwigs Bite?

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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.

Are There Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs?

We receive many questions from our readers about bed bugs and other bugs that look similar to bed bugs. Most commonly asked question is‘I have tiny bugs in my bed that aren’t bed bugs but look a lot similar, and what should do about them?’. The fact is that indeed there are many bugs that look similar to bed bugs. Let us discuss some of them.

Book louse

Book lice are also called psocids. While they do not transmit any diseases, they can be extremely annoying when present in large numbers. Booklice can also be present in cereal boxes and other moldy areas with food grains. The best way to eliminate book lice and lice bites is to treat the environment. A book louse prefers warm and moist areas, so avoid these.

Bat bugs

The bat bug or Cimex pilosellus is a close relative of the bed bug or Cimex lectularius. The name ‘bat bug’ comes from colonies of bugs that are found around bat nests in abandoned buildings, attics etc. Eventually, the bugs move to human populations to bite and feed on human blood. The good news is that the bat bug populations die off in absence of hosts to feed upon. This is a huge difference from bed bug behavior which can survive for months without a blood meal. Similarity includes the fact that both species, bat and bed bugs, have short broad heads that are attached to the prothorax and an oval shaped body.

Spider beetle

Spider beetle is very similar in appearance to a bed bug. It has a shiny brown body which measures about 1/7 th inches and has a humpbacked appearance. Like bed bugs, spider beetles prefer the dark and are most active at night. During the day, they hide in cracks and crevices as well as in areas with food grains. They usually do not bite humans.

Cockroach nymph

Small cockroaches are similar to bed bugs in appearance. They are dark brown to mahogany colored and measure about 2 inches long. Immature cockroaches are especially similar to bed bugs. Cockroaches do not bite humans but they can contaminate food. They typically hide in kitchens and other areas with food and debris.

Carpet beetle

Carpet beetles do not much resemble bed bugs since they have round, solid brown or blackish hairy bodies. They even have irregular patterns on their body. The only similarity is that carpet beetles also have antennae and a hard exoskeleton covering their wings, just like bed bugs. Also, both species hide in carpets, rugs beds, mattresses and box springs. Immature beetles are covered with tufts of hair.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are reddish brown, flat and oval. They measure about 1/5 th of an inch, have protruding eyes and short thick antennae. They also have wing like structures on either side of their head. Bed bug control is rather difficult and needs an integrated pest management approach. All infested sites have to be treated properly and at the same time.

As can be seen, there are many tiny bugs that can be present in your bed but they may or may not be bed bugs.

Bed bug bites

Typically, bed bug bites occur at night. Bed bugs can feed for up to 10 minutes on human hosts, before returning to their hiding place. You might notice a line of bites on your skin where several bed bugs have fed. These lines are usually present on the arms, legs, and torso and around the edge of the hem of your clothing. Many people do not immediately feel the effects of bed bug bites. Some people who are extremely sensitive may react to the protein injected by the bugs into the skin. As a result, they may develop reddish wheals which may be swollen and may itch terribly. The itchiness lasts for about a week after which, it diminishes. Bed bug bites produce variable symptoms as a result of which, it could become rather difficult to diagnose them. Regardless of these symptoms, it is very important to actually detect the presence of the bug in order to determine if it is indeed bed bug bites, dust mite bites, scabies or one of the many other possibilities.

Eradication of bed bugs

Eradicating bed bugs effectively needs an integrated bug management approach as stated above. You must dispose all infested items or at least wash them if possible. You can use insecticides but these need to contact the bed bug directly. Sometimes, bed bugs can walk across the treated surface but if they do not come in contact with the insecticide then they may not be killed.

Do visit the resources provided on this website to completely get rid of bed bugs.

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5 Bugs that look like bed bugs

No one wants a case of bed bugs, so spotting bugs that look like bed bugs or unidentified bites on your body often incites panic. Because bed bugs are so small and elusive, they can also be difficult to identify. Our pest specialists can help you determine your particular pest problem and craft a solution to bring you peace of mind. The following is a list of five bugs that are often mistaken for bed bugs.

1. Bat bugs

Color:Brown

Description:Bat bugs are the most similar to the bed bug of any on this list. Really the only observable difference between the two is that bat bugs have longer hairs on their heads.

Size:¼” – the size of an apple seed

Shape:Oval

Do Bat Bugs have wings?Bat Bugs have wing pads, but no functional wings.

Do Bat Bugs bite?Bat bugs will bite, but only if bats aren’t around.

Where are Bat Bugs found?Despite what their name suggests, bat bugs usually aren’t found on bats, but rather where bats live.

2. Spider beetles

Color:May range from pale brownish yellow to reddish brown to almost black

Description:Spider Beetles have long, thin legs and antennae, all covered with hairs. It has no “neck” as its head is directly connected to its body.

Size:1/32-3/16” (1-5mm)

Shape:Usually oval

Do Spider Beetles have wings?Yes, but only some species can fly.

Do Spider Beetles bite?No.

Where are Spider Beetles found?Spider beetles are often found in wooden structures and near sources of food. Poor sanitation often leads to Spider Beetle infestations.

3. Booklice

Color:Pale brown or creamy yellow

Description:Booklice closely resemble termites, with soft bodies and long, thin antennae.

Size:1/32-1/4” (1-6mm)

Shape:Segmented (head and body are separate)

Do Booklice have wings?sometimes – if present, there will be 4 held rooflike over body and rest

Do Booklice bite:No, but scientists believe their dead bodies in tandem with dust may contribute to asthma attacks.

Where are Booklice found?Booklice are often found in areas of high humidity, such as damp books, because they easily become dehydrated.

4. Carpet beetles

Color:Black with white pattern and orange/red scales

Description:The head of the Carpet Beetle is mostly hidden when looking from above, but short, visible antennae extend from it.varied carpet beetle

Size:1/16-1/8” (2-3.8mm)

Shape:Oval

Do Carpet Beetles have wings?Yes, adults fly during the daytime.

Do Carpet Beetles bite?No, but they are known to cause dermatitis in humans, due to allergic reactions.

Where are Carpet Beetles found?Carpet beetles are typically found on flowers and sometimes on fabrics (specifically carpet). They are often brought inside on fresh-cut flowers.

5. Fleas

Color:Reddish brown

Description:Fleas have long legs and round heads with a comb extending from Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis), attacking also humans. Isolated opn whitethe mouth.

Size:Approximately ⅛”

Shape:Laterally flattened and segmented

Do Fleas have wings?No.

Do Fleas bite?Yes, and the bites are traditionally very itchy. Additionally, fleas are a vector for various diseases.

Where found:Fleas are often brought in from outdoors on animals.

Whether or not your infestation is that of bed bugs, Ehrlich is here to help. Call us at 800-837-5520 or contact us online to find out what our pest experts can do for you.

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