Show Me What Bed Bugs Look Like

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs


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

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

Introduction

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

Bed bug Cimex lectularius at night in the moonlight

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

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

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

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

The Answer:

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

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

Bedbug (Cimex lectularius)

Other kinds

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

Some exemplifications may be put forward in this respect:

1. Book lice:

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

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

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

A pictorial exemplification would be:

2. Bat Bugs:

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

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

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

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

Pictorially speaking an example would be:

Bat Bugs (scientific name: Cimex pilosellus)

3. Carpet Beetle:

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

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

Dead Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) specimen

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

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

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

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

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

Spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale)

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

Spider beetle (Mezium americanum)

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

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

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

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

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

American cockroach – Periplaneta Americana

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

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

What Do Bed 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

What should you know about bedbugs?

Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, oval insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or other warm-blooded animals. The effect of bedbugs on human health and reports of bedbug infestations of certain hotels has received media attention in recent years.

How big are bedbugs?

Bedbugs do not fly. Adult bedbugs are 5-7 mm in length.

Where do bedbugs live?

Bedbugs are pests that can live anywhere in the home. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture. Bedbug infestations are most common in beds, including the mattress, box springs, and bed frames. Bedbugs are most active at night. These pests may bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. Common locations for bedbug bites are the face, neck, hands, and arms.

Are bedbug bites painful?

A bedbug bite is painless and is generally not noticed. The bites may be mistaken for a rash of another cause. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itching.

How do you know if you have bedbugs?

Fecal stains or rust-colored dark spots, egg cases, and shed skins (exuviae) of bedbugs in crevices and cracks on or near beds are suggestive of infestations, but only observing the bugs themselves can confirm an active infestation. A professional pest-control company may be required to help identify and remove bedbugs from the home.

What home remedies and medications treat and get rid of bedbugs?

Home remedies for bedbug bites include measures to control itching, such as oatmeal baths or cool compresses. Typically, no treatment is required for bedbug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief.

Picture of Bedbug Bites

The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily.

What are bedbugs? What do bedbugs look like?

Bedbugs are small oval-shaped non-flying insects that belong to the insect familyCimicidae, which includes three species that bite people. Adult bedbugs reach 5 mm-7 mm in length, while nymphs (juveniles) are as small as 1.5 mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bedbugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals.Cimex lectulariusis the scientific name for bedbugs.

Adult bedbugs are reddish brown in color, appearing engorged and more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are light-colored and appear bright red after feeding. The wings of bedbugs are vestigial, so they cannot fly. However, they are able to crawl rapidly.

Temperatures between 70 F-80 F are most favorable for bedbugs, allowing them to develop into adults most rapidly and produce up to three generations per year.

Where are bedbugs found?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

SLIDESHOW

Are bedbugs found in hotels?

Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. Bedbugs tend to be most common in areas where people;

  • sleep,
  • they usually concentrate in beds, including;
  • mattresses or mattress covers,
  • box springs and bed frames,
  • matttress seams and cracks,
  • curtains,
  • edges of carpet,
  • corners inside dressers and other furniture,
  • cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed),
  • recently used suitcases, bags, and other things that you have taken outside of your home, and
  • inside the spaces of wicker furniture.
  • They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items

    Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bedbugs and their health effects (even in upscale five-star hotels), and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests of fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bedbug bites covering their skin. Searching on travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bedbugs in numerous hotels.

    Since bedbugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bedbug infestations.

    In addition to hotels, bedbug infestations have been found in;

    edbugs are found all over the world. Bedbug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the pesticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger insecticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.

    Bedbugs can live in any area of the home and use tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture as hiding places. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses or mattress covers, box springs, and bed frames. They do not infest the sleeping surfaces of beds as commonly as cracks and crevices associated with the bed frame and mattress, including mattress seams. Other sites where bedbugs often reside and potential infested items include curtains, edges of carpet, corners inside dressers and other furniture, cracks in wallpaper (particularly near the bed), and inside the spaces of wicker furniture.

    Since bedbugs can live for months or even longer under favorable conditions without feeding, they can also be found in vacant homes.

    How do bedbugs spread?

    Bedbugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also hide in boxes, suitcases, or other items that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bedbugs can live on clothing from home infestations and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.

    Bedbug Bites

    Childhood Skin Problems

    Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

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    The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

    Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily. The bites can also cause an allergic reaction in some people. Read more about bedbug bites – symptoms, treatments and prevention.

    Sources

    Image: Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

    Text: "Bedbugs – Overview", WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Bedbugs Slideshow: An Informative Look at Bedbugs

    Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

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

    Know the Enemy

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

    Am I at Risk for Infestation?

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

    Feeding Habits

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

    Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bites

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

    Treating Bites

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

    Do Bedbugs Transmit Diseases?

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

    Bedbug or Imposter?

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

    Bite Back Against Bedbugs

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

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    New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene.
    Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.
    University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Lancaster County.
    Washington Post.

    Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 17, 2018

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

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

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