Show Bed Bug Eggs

Signs of Bed Bugs

Here you’ll find pictures of signs of bed bugs like eggs, fecal stains and cast skins on mattresses, different types of furniture and other hiding places. Whether you think you might have bed bugs or want to make sure you avoid bringing them home, these photos give you a good idea of what to look for and where to look.

Looking for something in particular?This page is pretty long, so these links will take you straight to the sections you most want to see.

Blood Smears and Fecal Stains

Smears of blood on sheets are one of the early warning signs that bed bugsmightbe sharing your bed.Stains like the ones in the picture below happen when recently fed bugs get squashed in the bed by a person moving unexpectedly.But, many other things could cause stains like this.For this reason, blood stains alone arenotevidence of a bed bug infestation.

If you are being bitten by bed bugs, you will also see fecal stains.

Fecal stains on sheets look like the marks of a felt tip pen and tend to bleed into the fabric. The picture below is a great example of what bed bug fecal stains look like. Note the live bed bugs in the photo and how flat they are.

Pictures of Bed Bug Infestions on Beds

The photo below shows evidence of bed bug infestation on the side of a mattress. In this view mostly just spots and a few adult bugs are visible.

The picture below is a closeup of the same mattress. Here it’s apparent that there are live adults and nymphs (bed bug babies) as well as fecal stains – but can you pick out the eggs?

Now look at this magnified view. See how closely the eggs resemble the shiny white fibers of the mattress fabric?

Bed Bugs Hiding in plain sight!

This set of pictures is a great example of how bed bugs easily "hide in plain sight". Take a close look at the picture in the upper right corner of the collage. See any bed bugs? If you found a couple – that’s not bad.

Now look at the at the picture to the upper left. See all the beige colored spots especially around the open grommet hole? Those are baby bed bugs (nymphs) and there are a lot of them!

Even more surprising is the lower-right magnified view of a grommet hole (above) that is completely filled with nymphs and their cast skins. That same hole is located on the right edge of the upper-right image you looked at first.

Box springs are actually the #1 bed bug hiding spotaccording to a study of 13 infested apartments conducted by the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. (Read more about where bed bugs hide and the results of the study.)

As the pictures below demonstrate, you’ll typically find more signs of bed bugs at the head of the bed (left image) than at the foot (right image).

Headboards and bed frames are also favorite hangouts for bed bugs. The photo below shows signs of bed bugs living in the decorative groove of a wood headboard.

Bed bugs are freakishly flat and can squeeze themselves into the most unlikely places. Notice howa bunch of themhave piled into this gouge in a bed frame.

Special thanks to Lou Sorkin, entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History for such a large selection of helpful pics. All of the images of bed bugs on furniture in this block as well as many of the photos throughout the site are Lou’s, and are used with permission via Creative Commons licenses, unless otherwise noted.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Other Furniture

These two pictures show multiple signs and symptoms of bed bug infestation on an upholstered chair. Note how the nymphs and eggs are clustered right in the seam area in the photo below. In fact, at first glance the eggs might be mistaken for dust or other fibers.

This photo on the right shows signs of much heavier infestation, including cast skins, fecal droppings and many eggs on theundersideof the chair upholstery – something to keep in mind when you are checking for bed bugs.

Bed Bugs can also be found on and inside wood furniture like night stands, dressers and book shelves. They like the cracks and crevices of joints between pieces of wood and can even be found in screw holes. The two pictures below show evidence of bed bugs on a wooden shelving unit. The little white spots on the side of the shelf are eggs, the beige spots are bedbug nymphs and the black dots are fecal matter. The bigger bug in the picture on the right is a German cockroach.

Bed bugs can also hide on almost any other type of surface including metal and plastic. The photo on the right below shows how a number of bed bugs found harborage together inside a the head of screw.

All of the photos of bugs above are also from Lou Sorkin’s vast collection of bed bug photos .

Bed Bug Cast Skins/Shells

As bed bugs grow from birth to adulthood , they molt, or shed their exoskeletons. The cast skins (bedbug shells) they leave behind can be found in and around their harborages (hideouts) and are definite signs of a growing bed bug population.

The photo above shows two cast skins in the upper left corner along with a live bed bug and fecal stain.

The image below is a bowl full of shed skins or exoskeletons. Yuck!

More Signs of Bed Bug Infestation – Eggs and Fecal Droppings

Here are some close-up pics of bed bug excrement and bed bug eggs. While the fecal stains on sheets at the top of the page look like back marker stains, the droppings themselves look like little black blobs.

Note how the the hatched eggs in the picture on the above look dull, dried out and flattened compared to the unhatched eggs.

Bedbug eggs are often found on wood, cardboard and fabric. They are covered in a sticky glue-like substance which helps them stick to the surfaces and gives them a shiny appearance.

Credit (all 3 photos above): Dr. Harold Harlan of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (CC).

Signs of Bed Bugs in Other Places

Typically, bed bugs hide out close to their source of food (see top 8 hiding spots). But, as infestations grow, bed bugs tend to spread out from the immediate vicinity of their feeding area. While they are not feeding, they will hide out in a wide variety of places. They’re super flat, so they can squeeze themselves in to very tight spots like picture frames, electrical outlets, carpet edges and behind window/door moldings and baseboards.

Signs of bed bugs on a door hinge.

And behind rubber baseboard molding.

Photos credit for collection of photos above: Lou Sorkin (CC)

Learn How to Inspect for Bed Bugs in your home or hotel

Hopefully, these pictures of signs of bed bugs help you have a better idea of what to look when checking for a bed bug infestation.

If you think you may have bed bugs, it’s time to get down and dirty. But before you do, check out our handy step-by-step inspection instructions in the bed bug detection section.

If you haven’t already done so, its a good idea to get familiar with what bedbugs look like in all of their life stages. Once you’re done here, I also recommend learning more about all 9 signs of bed bug infestation, where they like to hide, and how to look for them.

More Bed Bug Photo Collections

  • Pictures of Adult Bed Bugs
  • Bed Bugs on Humans and Common Objects (size comparisons)
  • Bed Bugs vs Other Insects
  • Pictures of Bedbugs Feeding
  • Pictures of Bed Bug Bites

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Early Signs of Bed Bugs

Catching a bed bug infestation while it is localized to a small area is imperative — these pests will spread throughout an entire building and wreak havoc on your house, health and wallet. Bed bugs will feed on birds and mammals but appear to prefer human blood when presented with the choice. [start previewing here].

Bites on Your Body

A typical sign of bed bug infestation is a cluster of about three to five small bites that appear to form a zig-zag pattern on your skin and may not show up for days or even weeks (2). Biting usually lasts three to ten minutes and is achieved using a long beak for blood extraction. Although these bites rarely require medical attention or become infected, they can form unpleasantly itchy welts that may cause you to lose sleep (2). Due to the infinitesimal size of these creatures, bite marks are often confused with nibbles from other insects or spiders (2). Bites may also be mistaken for common skin conditions that produce itchy rashes. Familiarizing yourself with bite pattern and other signs of invasion is critical in saving you from major trouble (2).

Checking for Infestation

If you observe specks of what appear to be blood, rust or tar on upholstered furniture, mattresses, bedding or mattress pads, you may have the start of a bed bug problem. (1, 2). Bed bugs shed an outer shell in five of six stages in their life cycle, so watch for reddish-brown or yellow shells in couch seams, throughout your mattress and box spring and on any upholstered furniture (1, 2, 3, 4). Small blackish dots of excrement may be seen in similar areas. Females lay white, seed-sized eggs in any secluded cracks they can find (2). Once your home or office is heavily infested, it is time to check electrical outlets, appliances, curtains, loose wall paper, framed pictures and between drawer and wall joints (1).

Possible Aroma

Bed bugs communicate to one another by secreting chemical signals that have a musty, sweet odor (2). According to Michael F. Potter, an expert entomologist at the University of Kentucky, this scent is not easily detected and shouldn’t be relied upon for early detection — if you are able to smell them, you are already way in over your head and infestation has become extreme 3. Keeping an eye out for physical clues — shells, eggs, dark spots — will help you determine the quickest and most effective course of action (1, 2, 3).

Statistics and Bed Bugs

Until recently, the incidence and prevalence of bed bug invasion in the United States had largely improved after World War II to the credit of improved hygiene practices and use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) (3). The last decade has seen a resurgence of infestation partly due to international travel, immigration, changes in extermination protocol and use of different insecticides (3, 4). According to the 2011 Bugs without Borders Survey, between 2010 and 2011, the number of cases rose by 15 percent or more in college dorms, nursing homes, offices, hospitals and public transport (5). Hotels and movie theaters saw an increase of 12 to 13 percent (5).

Extermination and Warnings

While 25 percent of people reporting infestation attempt to eradicate bed bugs on their own, pest control providers stress that this is not a problem you can handle alone (5). Never spray pesticides on mattresses, couches or areas where children and pets reside (7). When you come home from traveling, take special care to wash clothing and bedding on high heat and never bring box springs, mattresses, bed frames, or upholstered furniture inside your house. (3, 7). If you notice the warning signs of bed bugs or suspect you have been bitten, contact professional pest control specialists and make an appointment with a licensed dermatologist. Bed bugs are an inconvenient problem that is better dealt with sooner than later 5.

Catching a bed bug infestation while it is localized to a small area is imperative — these pests will spread throughout an entire building and wreak havoc on your house, health and wallet. Bed bugs shed an outer shell in five of six stages in their life cycle, so watch for reddish-brown or yellow shells in couch seams, throughout your mattress and box spring and on any upholstered furniture . Females lay white, seed-sized eggs in any secluded cracks they can find . Until recently, the incidence and prevalence of bed bug invasion in the United States had largely improved after World War II to the credit of improved hygiene practices and use of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane . Bed bugs are an inconvenient problem that is better dealt with sooner than later.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bugs are nocturnal, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. These wingless insects have dorsoventrally flattened bodies that allow them to hide in areas such as floor cracks, carpets, beds and upholstered furniture.

A bed bug’s life begins with an egg, grain like and milky white in color. Female bed bugs lay between one and five eggs each day and may lie up to 500 eggs within one lifetime. Eggs are laid singly or in clusters and are placed within tight cracks or crevices. The egg is approximately 1 mm in length and is comparable in size to two grains of salt. Within two weeks, eggs hatch and immature bed bugs begin immediately to feed.

Nymphs

These young bed bugs, or nymphs, pass through five molts before reaching maturity. Although nymphs appear similar to adults, they are smaller in size and are not yet sexually mature. Young nymphs are also yellow-white in color, while older nymphs and adults are reddish-brown. In order to complete a molting stage, each nymph requires a blood meal. At room temperature, nymphs molt and become adults within five weeks.

Adults

Upon reaching maturity, bed bug adults often make weekly feedings.


Adult Bed Bug

How Long Do They Live?
The life span of a bed bug most commonly ranges from four to six months. However, some bed bugs may live up to a year under cool conditions and with no food.

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.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Here you’ll find pictures of signs of bed bugs like eggs, fecal stains and cast skins on mattresses, different types of furniture and other hiding places. Whether you think you might have bed bugs or want to make sure you avoid bringing them home, these photos give you a good idea of what to look for and where to look.

Looking for something in particular?This page is pretty long, so these links will take you straight to the sections you most want to see.

Blood Smears and Fecal Stains

Smears of blood on sheets are one of the early warning signs that bed bugsmightbe sharing your bed.Stains like the ones in the picture below happen when recently fed bugs get squashed in the bed by a person moving unexpectedly.But, many other things could cause stains like this.For this reason, blood stains alone arenotevidence of a bed bug infestation.

If you are being bitten by bed bugs, you will also see fecal stains.

Fecal stains on sheets look like the marks of a felt tip pen and tend to bleed into the fabric. The picture below is a great example of what bed bug fecal stains look like. Note the live bed bugs in the photo and how flat they are.

Pictures of Bed Bug Infestions on Beds

The photo below shows evidence of bed bug infestation on the side of a mattress. In this view mostly just spots and a few adult bugs are visible.

The picture below is a closeup of the same mattress. Here it’s apparent that there are live adults and nymphs (bed bug babies) as well as fecal stains – but can you pick out the eggs?

Now look at this magnified view. See how closely the eggs resemble the shiny white fibers of the mattress fabric?

Bed Bugs Hiding in plain sight!

This set of pictures is a great example of how bed bugs easily "hide in plain sight". Take a close look at the picture in the upper right corner of the collage. See any bed bugs? If you found a couple – that’s not bad.

Now look at the at the picture to the upper left. See all the beige colored spots especially around the open grommet hole? Those are baby bed bugs (nymphs) and there are a lot of them!

Even more surprising is the lower-right magnified view of a grommet hole (above) that is completely filled with nymphs and their cast skins. That same hole is located on the right edge of the upper-right image you looked at first.

Box springs are actually the #1 bed bug hiding spotaccording to a study of 13 infested apartments conducted by the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. (Read more about where bed bugs hide and the results of the study.)

As the pictures below demonstrate, you’ll typically find more signs of bed bugs at the head of the bed (left image) than at the foot (right image).

Headboards and bed frames are also favorite hangouts for bed bugs. The photo below shows signs of bed bugs living in the decorative groove of a wood headboard.

Bed bugs are freakishly flat and can squeeze themselves into the most unlikely places. Notice howa bunch of themhave piled into this gouge in a bed frame.

Special thanks to Lou Sorkin, entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History for such a large selection of helpful pics. All of the images of bed bugs on furniture in this block as well as many of the photos throughout the site are Lou’s, and are used with permission via Creative Commons licenses, unless otherwise noted.

Signs of Bed Bugs in Other Furniture

These two pictures show multiple signs and symptoms of bed bug infestation on an upholstered chair. Note how the nymphs and eggs are clustered right in the seam area in the photo below. In fact, at first glance the eggs might be mistaken for dust or other fibers.

This photo on the right shows signs of much heavier infestation, including cast skins, fecal droppings and many eggs on theundersideof the chair upholstery – something to keep in mind when you are checking for bed bugs.

Bed Bugs can also be found on and inside wood furniture like night stands, dressers and book shelves. They like the cracks and crevices of joints between pieces of wood and can even be found in screw holes. The two pictures below show evidence of bed bugs on a wooden shelving unit. The little white spots on the side of the shelf are eggs, the beige spots are bedbug nymphs and the black dots are fecal matter. The bigger bug in the picture on the right is a German cockroach.

Bed bugs can also hide on almost any other type of surface including metal and plastic. The photo on the right below shows how a number of bed bugs found harborage together inside a the head of screw.

All of the photos of bugs above are also from Lou Sorkin’s vast collection of bed bug photos .

Bed Bug Cast Skins/Shells

As bed bugs grow from birth to adulthood , they molt, or shed their exoskeletons. The cast skins (bedbug shells) they leave behind can be found in and around their harborages (hideouts) and are definite signs of a growing bed bug population.

The photo above shows two cast skins in the upper left corner along with a live bed bug and fecal stain.

The image below is a bowl full of shed skins or exoskeletons. Yuck!

More Signs of Bed Bug Infestation – Eggs and Fecal Droppings

Here are some close-up pics of bed bug excrement and bed bug eggs. While the fecal stains on sheets at the top of the page look like back marker stains, the droppings themselves look like little black blobs.

Note how the the hatched eggs in the picture on the above look dull, dried out and flattened compared to the unhatched eggs.

Bedbug eggs are often found on wood, cardboard and fabric. They are covered in a sticky glue-like substance which helps them stick to the surfaces and gives them a shiny appearance.

Credit (all 3 photos above): Dr. Harold Harlan of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (CC).

Signs of Bed Bugs in Other Places

Typically, bed bugs hide out close to their source of food (see top 8 hiding spots). But, as infestations grow, bed bugs tend to spread out from the immediate vicinity of their feeding area. While they are not feeding, they will hide out in a wide variety of places. They’re super flat, so they can squeeze themselves in to very tight spots like picture frames, electrical outlets, carpet edges and behind window/door moldings and baseboards.

Signs of bed bugs on a door hinge.

And behind rubber baseboard molding.

Photos credit for collection of photos above: Lou Sorkin (CC)

Learn How to Inspect for Bed Bugs in your home or hotel

Hopefully, these pictures of signs of bed bugs help you have a better idea of what to look when checking for a bed bug infestation.

If you think you may have bed bugs, it’s time to get down and dirty. But before you do, check out our handy step-by-step inspection instructions in the bed bug detection section.

If you haven’t already done so, its a good idea to get familiar with what bedbugs look like in all of their life stages. Once you’re done here, I also recommend learning more about all 9 signs of bed bug infestation, where they like to hide, and how to look for them.

More Bed Bug Photo Collections

  • Pictures of Adult Bed Bugs
  • Bed Bugs on Humans and Common Objects (size comparisons)
  • Bed Bugs vs Other Insects
  • Pictures of Bedbugs Feeding
  • Pictures of Bed Bug Bites

You are here:

What’s Next?

Share This!

Get the 10-Minute Bed Bug Crash Course for FREE!

Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you the link to download it for free right away! Want to know more about it first? click here

Check outourFACEBOOKpage!

You can also find the most recent content and news updates on the Bed Bug Answers blog.

Find what you’re looking for fast using one of the search boxes below.

Search this site:

Search the web via Google:

FTC Disclosure:This site contains some advertising and affiliate links. That means if you click and/or buy through those links, the merchant may pay a small commission to support this site– at no extra cost to you.

Thanks!! Your support of this site is really appreciated 🙂 (See more details in the Disclosure Policy )

Shop for Bed Bug Products

Recent Articles

Bed Bugs Pest Control: You Must Plan for Success – Here’s How

To get rid of bed bugs, pest control planning is a must. It’s not a one-shot deal. No worries, making a bed bug pest control action plan is easier than you think! Just follow simple these steps.

Bed Bug Symptoms – 8 Signs of Bed Bugs You Need to Know

The first bed bug symptoms people often notice are bites, but they’re not proof that’s what you have. Learn the tell-tale signs of bed bugs and how to check for them.

Why I Love Bedbugger.com

Let me tell you why I love bedbugger.com so much and how you can get the most out of what it has to offer.

Bed Bug Fogger Alert: Don’t Grab that Can Till You Read This!

A bed bug fogger (bug bomb) seems like a quick-fix for those nasty little suckers, right? WRONG! Here are 3 reasons they don’t work and 5 ways they make things worse and prolong your agony.

FREE!Get the10-MinuteBed Bug Crash Coursee-book.absolutely free.J ust enter your details below and I’ll send the link to your inbox right now.

Bedbugs

Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

Check if it’s bedbugs

Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Signs of bedbugs include:

  • bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
  • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
  • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.

Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

How you can treat bedbug bites

Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

Things you can do include:

  • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
  • keeping the affected area clean
  • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
  • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
  • the redness around the bites is spreading

You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

How to get rid of bedbugs

contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides

wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes

put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)

clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

do not keep clutter around your bed

do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
Next review due: 21 January 2022

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