Show What Bed Bugs Look Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do bed bug bites look like?

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

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

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

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

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

Where do bed bugs bite, exactly?

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

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

Are bed bug bites itchy? Do they hurt?

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

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

How long do bed bug bites last?

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

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

How to treat bed bug bites

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like (And How To Get Rid of Them Faster)

It can be difficult to identify bed bug bites because the red itchy bumps caused by bed bug bites look like flea bites or mosquito bites. Bed bugs usually come out at night and feed on the blood of humans. The tiny nasty pests can leave a cluster of bite marks on your face, arms, stomach, and legs. Some people only have a mild reaction to the bed bug bites and may only have a few small red dots. However, others have more severe reactions and are plagued by large red bite marks and an irresistible urge to scratch them.

Pictures of bed bug bites show groups of red bite marks on the body. Very often, the bite marks left by bed bugs are in straight lines or in a zig-zag and very rarely is there just one solitary red bite mark.

There are many effective natural home remedies to quickly get rid of the signs of bed bug bites. You can make your own natural treatments for insect bites with ingredients like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera. The natural anti-inflammatory ingredients in those home remedies help to quickly relieve itching and promote healing.

In this article, you will learn how to identify bed bug bites and find out how to get rid of them quickly. You will also see images of bed bug bites to help you to spot the tell-tale signs that you have been bitten.

What do Bed Bugs Look Like?

The Latin name for bed bugs isCimex lectularius, or common bed bug. If you’ve ever seen a close-up picture of a bed bug you will see that they look quite scary. However, in reality, bed bugs are tiny pests that lurk in corners and crevices of beds, mattresses, and furniture. They are about the size of a small apple seed and many can be seen crawling around if you have an infestation.

Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that bed bugs have flat, brown, oval bodies. They don’t have wings but can quickly scurry over floors, ceilings, and walls. The parasitic insects live in groups and love to hide in dark places. If you have a bed bug problem in your home, you should check for signs of bed bugs in corners of your bed frame, along the seams of mattresses, along baseboards, and behind pictures. In fact, they will live in any crevice that is large enough to slide a credit card into. 1

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that bed bug eggs look like tiny white pinheads. As they go through their nymph stages they shed skins and these yellowish shells are a common sign to look for when checking for an infestation of bugs. 2

Pictures of bed bugs

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

On most people, bed bug bites look like itchy red bumps on their body. However, it can be difficult to know if the bite marks have been caused by bed bugs or not.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of bed bug bites may not appear for a few days. Also, each person reacts differently to being bitten by these irritating pests. Some people show no signs of being bitten whereas other people have a severe reaction to the bite, and large bumps appear on the skin that itch severely. 3

However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that the only way to know for sure if the red bite marks have been caused by bed bugs is to look for signs of a bug infestation. That will confirm if the red spots that look like bed bug bites are in fact the result of bed bugs.

Bed Bug Bites – Signs and Symptoms

Images of bed bug bites generally show clusters of itchy red bumps on a person’s arms, neck, face, legs, and other areas of their body. Depending on the number of bed bugs that have infested your sleeping area and your reaction to them, bed bug bites also have other signs.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that more often than not, bed bug bites will be in either a rough line or in a cluster of red marks. If they cause a severe skin reaction, the itching can be very intense. In rare cases, a person who has many bites and a severe allergic reaction should visit a doctor. 4

Doctors from the National Health Service say that, in some cases, the itchy red bumps on the skin can cause a rash or start to blister and fill with fluid. 5

However, it can be difficult to tell if the bites have been caused by bed bugs or another insect. Therefore, it’s important to know how to identify the difference between bed bug bites, flea bites and mosquito bites.

Bed bug bite vs flea bite

Flea bites and bed bug bites look very similar and cause itchy red marks on the skin. Even in pictures, it is hard to tell bed bug bites and flea bites apart. However, there are some differences.

The symptoms of flea bites generally appear on the ankles, feet and around the abdomen. As with bed bug bites, flea bite symptoms can also appear in small clusters. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian says that if you look closely at a bed bug bite you won’t see a small red dot in the middle as is characteristic of flea bites. 1

Bed bug bite vs mosquito bite

Both mosquito bites and bed bug bites can leave itchy welts on the skin. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of mosquito bites show up very soon after the bite; in fact, in only a few minutes, a puffy red bump usually appears. 6

Unlike bed bug bites that are painless, you may feel the mosquito bite and it might start to itch immediately. It is also more likely that the mosquito bite will blister and ooze a small amount of fluid.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites – Complications

Bed bug bite marks usually heal within 2 weeks and won’t leave any permanent mark on the skin. In some cases, there are complications associated with bed bug bites.

Of course, for many people, the appearance of red itchy welts on visible areas of skin like their face or arms is an unwanted complication of bed bug bites.

One of the most common, and potentially serious, complications that is seen with bed bug bite is a secondary skin infection. Dr. Stephanie S. Gardner on WebMD says that itching from bed bug bites can be so severe that constant scratching breaks the skin and germs get it. This can cause a bacterial infection in the bite mark. 7

Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicnineHealth warns that some people experience severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some of the signs of a serious allergic reaction include itching all over the body, tightness in the throat, chest pain, red bed bug rash that spreads from the bite area. 8

At least the good news with bed bug bites is that they don’t spread disease. The CDC states that bed bugs don’t spread disease and the most serious health threat is a lack of sleep from scratching and secondary skin infections. 3

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation

If you suspect that clusters of itchy red spots on your body are the result of pesky bed bugs, you should check for signs of an infestation.

First, you don’t have to worry that having bed bugs is a sign of uncleanliness or dirtiness. The CDC says that bed bugs only feed on blood and aren’t attracted to dirt. Bed bugs have been found in the cleanest of 5-star hotels. 3

To check for signs of bed bugs, you should look in areas where they tend to live. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that tell-tale signs of bed bug activity are tiny rusty-colored stains on bed linen from bug feces or dried blood. You may also notice tiny yellow shed skins around your bed and sleeping area. 9

The next step to confirm if itchy red marks on your skin are from bed bugs is to find where the critters are hiding. You should check all joints and screw holes in your bed frame, around mattresses and box springs, and around the headboard. Other places where you might find evidence of a bed bug infestation are in the folds of drapes, in drawer joints, behind loose wallpaper, and at baseboards.

If you find feces, dead bed bugs, or bed bugs crawling around, it is time to take drastic action to get rid of the bed bugs quickly. This is the only way to prevent getting more bed bug bites in the future. Some effective ways to kill off infestation of irritating insects include using bed bug powders that destroy populations of bed bugs as well as bed bug sprays.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Fast

Fortunately, there are many great home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites quickly. Here are a few of the best ways of treating bed bug bites at home.

Cold compress

To quickly get rid of an intense itch in a swollen bump caused by a bed bug bite, you can use a cold compress. One excellent way to make a compress is by using a cold tea bag. Cold helps to relieve irritation from your skin by calming nerve endings, and tea helps to relieve itching and promotes healing.

A study from 2012 into the healing effects of tea found that compounds in black and green tea have an astringent effect. This helps to reduce itching in irritated, inflamed skin. 9 However, you don’t just have to use black or green tea bags. Research has also found that chamomile has soothing properties and is just as effective as hydrocortisone creams (often prescribed by doctors to reduce itching in insect bites). 10

How to use:

To quickly get rid of the irritation that bed bug bites cause using a cold tea compress, this is what you should do:

  1. Put a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and cool it in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the tea bag on the red itchy bumps to relieve discomfort and irritation.
  3. Apply the cold compress 2-3 times a day for fast relief from bed bug bites and bed bug rash.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera also has properties that reduce itching and help to speed up the healing time of a bed bug bite. Aloe vera contains many properties to nourish your skin and relieve inflammation and irritation.

One study into the healing properties of aloe vera found that it has a soothing effect on irritated skin. It was found that aloe vera was just as effective as hydrocortisone creams in reducing itching and inflammatory responses in the skin. 11

How to use:

Aloe vera gel is great for helping bed bug bites to heal faster. This is what you should do:

  1. Use aloe vera gel with as few added ingredients as possible and liberally apply some gel to the bite marks.
  2. Massage the gel into the area around the bed bug bites to soothe the skin and stop itching.
  3. Apply the natural remedy 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal quicker and get welcome relief from the constant itching.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil will help to treat the itch in bed bug bites and help prevent secondary infections making the skin worse. Tea tree oil contains powerful antimicrobial compounds as well as properties that help to reduce inflammation and itching.

One of the benefits of using tea tree oil to quickly treat bed bug bites is that it helps soothe allergic skin reactions. For example, theBritish Journal of Dermatologyreported on a study into the antihistamine effect of tea tree oil. Histamine is released by the body as a response to allergens. It was found that applying tea tree oil to skin inflammation helped to soothe the allergic response fast. 12

How to use:

You can use tea tree oil as a spot treatment on one or two bed bug bites or you can mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil to apply to clusters of bed bug bites. This is what you should do:

  1. Put a drop of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton bud and apply to the itchy bed bug bite.
  2. Apply 2 times a day to help stop itching in the bite marks and prevent bacterial infections affecting the skin area.

For large clusters of bed bug bites, you can get relief by adding 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply 2-3 times a day to help your skin heal and treat any bed bug bite blisters that have formed.

You can also use tea tree oil to make a natural spray for bed bug eradication.

Other ways to get rid of bed bug bites quickly

There are many other natural ways to get rid of the visible signs of bed bug bites. Here are some more ways.

Witch hazelis a natural astringent that quickly soothes itchy skin and reduces redness. Witch hazel is perfect for treating bed bug bites and can be applied whenever your bite marks start itching.

Apple cider vinegar, when it is diluted with water in equal proportions, helps to reduce itching and kill germs in bed bug bites. Just apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the affected area to stop itching fast.

Cucumbershave an amazing soothing effect on the skin and will give you instant relief from itching and irritation. All you have to do is apply slices of cool cucumber to your bite marks.

For more information on these natural bed bug bite remedies and to find out some more effective ways to treat bed bug bite signs at home, please read my article on natural ways to make bed bug bites heal faster.

How to Prevent Bed Bug Bites

Of course, preventing an infestation of bed bugs is much easier than having to deal with the discomfort bed bug bites cause.

The CDC says that one of the best ways to prevent bed bug bites is to regularly check your bed, mattress, and bed linen for signs of bed bug activity. This can help you get rid of bed bugs before they become a major problem. 3

Also, you should be careful of buying second-hand furniture. The National Health Services warns to avoid buying second-hand mattresses and if you do buy used furniture, carefully inspect it for bed bugs. 5 Remember, that in the right conditions, bed bugs can live for many months without feeding!

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

  1. WebMD. Bedbugs.
  2. EPA. Bed bug appearance and life cycle.
  3. CDC. Bed bugs FAQs
  4. MayoClinic. Bedbug symptoms.
  5. NHS. Bedbugs.
  6. MayoClinic. Mosquito bites.
  7. WebMD. Pictures of bed bug bites.
  8. eMedicineHealth. Bedbugs.
  9. EPA. How to find bed bugs.
  10. Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
  11. OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
  12. Skin Pharmacol Physiol.2008;21(2):106-10.
  13. Br J Dermatol.2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.

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.

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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Got bed bugs?Here are 10 products that can help you get rid of and prevent them.

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Below I’ve listed 99+ images/pictures of bed bugs, including baby bed bugs, nymphs, fertilized females, eggs, and adults.

When you consider controlling bed bugs (Cimex lectularious), knowing what to look for (pictures of bed bugs) is your best defense.

By definition: Bed bugs are flat- to oval-shaped reddish-brown insects that are 4-5 mm long. They suck blood while you’re sleeping or resting – mainly at night. We all feel itching when we hear or read about these bugs – psychosomatic effects.

So, what do bed bugs look like? What’s their size, color, and body shape in comparison to objects such as liberty coins, Petri dish, Suitcase, etc. Let’s get started!

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? 99+ Pictures of Bed Bugs, Treatment, & Prevention

1.Actual Size of AdultBed Bugs (See Pictures)

Size: Adult Bed bugs are rusty-brown insects that measure 4-5 mm long – about ¼ inch or the size of an apple seed. You’ll notice reddish orRustystains on your mattresses or bed sheets that are caused by the bugs.

Image Credits: Redbedbugs

The size of bed bugs tends to change as it feeds and grows from one life stage to the next. Their eggs measure about 1/32 inches long, while adults will measure 3/16 inches in length. Once the bugs suck blood – it’ll engorge to roughly 1/5 inches to 1/4 inches.

Adult Bed Bug on a Bed

Color: The color of Adult bed bugs will vary depending on when lately they fed on a meal of blood from their host. They’ll belight brownand have an oval-shaped/ flat body when they’ve not recently fed on blood.

Color of bed bugs

Shape: Adult bed bugs are small, flattened, and oval-shaped insects that have considerably reduced wings. They’re visible to the human eye. Other names of these bugs are mahogany flats, chinches, or red coats.

Adults are about one-sixth of the whole bed bug population. The hemelytra (fore wings) are broad and short with a rectangular shape. Also, the bed bug’s sides are covered by stiff and short hair.

Bed Bug Legs: Bed bugs have two antennae plus six legs. The bugs’ body looks stripped due to their short body hair that’s golden looking in color.

Bed Bug Legs + Antennae

Media coverage on bed bugs recommends searching behind walls, examine bed and mattress, look behind picture frames/ pictures, and in walls.

Real bed bug waste: Bed bug poop will look like tiny clustered spots on the bed frames. The poop is mainly made of digested blood that turns black, rust-colored, and darker after drying.

Bed bug waste/ Poop

2. Bed Bugs on Tape Measure

This must have been a notorious one – well, it was dead when taking these pictures. I found it on the bathroom floor. For this, I used Diatomaceous Earth – and it’s evident that it worked.

Definition: Adult bed bugs will measure about a quarter-inch (4 – 5mm) in length and are reddish-brown. They are flat to oval-shaped, depending on the amount of blood they’ve sucked. However, adult bed bugs and that makes just one-sixth of these bug’s population.

Baby bed bugs: But, baby bed bugs will mainly be pale white and about a millimeter in millimeter at birth and will readily blend with the background. So, let’s get into the details.

3. Massive Bed Bug Infestation on Sofa

Bed bugs will hide in most types of furniture – particularly in their undersides, seams, and corners. The rule of thumb is that bed bugs will fit in any crack that can also take a credit card.Check the bugs below hanging on sofas!

Rarely will bed bugs hide in vinyl, suede, or leather sofa or couch materials. So, if you sit on an infested chair or couch – it’s highly likely that you’ll carry the bed bugs to your home.

Further, you can use Tea tree oil, Lavender oil, Pepper powder, and Diatomaceous earth. Check these bed bugs on sofa massive bed bug infestation…

So, you’re wondering, would keeping your very clean prevent a bed bug infestation?Well, not really, bed bugs will attack whether the place is dirty of clean. However, with a clean house, you’ll find it easy to spot any bed bugs lucking around.

Exterminators recommend that you wash the bed sheets using hot water, avoid buying second-hand furniture, use a mattress cover, reduce room clutter, and inspect hotel rooms for bed bugs.

4. Dead Bed Bugs, their Eggs, and Nymphs

You’ll find most dead bed bugs to be shriveled and lying on their back. If you inspect your mattresses and box spring, you might notice signs of bed bugs.

Some may include dead bed bugs or specks of blood. Have you found some dead bed bugs in your house? – Check the one below.

Bed bugs don’t play or pretend to be dead – according tobehavioral sociology. Therefore, any of them that remains fully still after some disturbance is most likely dying or dead. Any of the bugs that are still alive will run away with slight lighting (afraid of light) or disturbance.

Image Credits: AFPMB

You might also want to inspect hidden areas like wall joins, ceiling and cracks, bedroom furniture, and carpet and your beds. Below is a video of some dead bugs. Disclaimer, some live ones were filmed.

2. Pictures ofbabybed bugs

Baby bed bugs will hatch from eggs (they’re pinhead-sized) and consequently grow to be adults in only one month. But these insects will require a dry and warm environment.

Bed bug eggs (nymphs) are visible using your naked eye – they’re colored translucent (when freshly hatching) to whitish-yellow/ brownish as they continue feeding.

After hatching from the eggs, baby Cimex lectularius quickly hunt for a good blood meal. Without a blood meal, the bugs won’t develop to their next stage. Despite that they can endure days even up to 1 month devoid of feeding, the bugs can feed even once daily while also casting their skin.

Bed bug larvae measure about a millimeter when they are born, and they tend to be pale white, which makes them blend readily with the background.

You can see blood inside a nymph babies’ body after it has had its generous blood meal. You’ll notice that these bugs look anything like a small swollen balloon. To treat these bed bugs infestations, check here.

Well, for a small bed bug infestation, could be just one female who’s mated and she’s in a package or your home – and that’s all they’ll require. The bed bug needs to feed on blood to nourish the eggs she’d produce.

3. Pictures of Bed bug Eggs (They’re Oval & White)

Females will lay about 250 eggs over their lifetime, which is about 2-4 months. The oval and white eggs are 1/16 inches in length – something like the grain of rice – and you’ll mainly find them in crevices and cracks.

Bed Bug Eggs (Oval and White)

The eggs have round ends with an elongated and oval-shaped body. The eggs are attached to a glue-type substance that’ll render them challenging to remove or move.

But the eggs have a “wet spot” look – you can use a flashlight plus a magnifying lens to search for them. They’ll hatch into babies in about 6-10 days. Further, its nymphs tend to mold about five times before attaining adulthood. Need a video instead? Check this right below…

3. Males vs. Female Bed Bugs

The main difference between females vs. male bed bugs is that the females have a rounded abdomen while the males have a pointed abdomen.

Also, males won’t lay eggs like their female counterparts. They all have six legs, are brown, and are about an apple seed in size. None of them will take care of the young nymphs or eggs.

Females: Female bed bugs will only lay eggs if they mate with their male counterparts – they need the male’s sperm. Females have a hemocoel – an empty abdominal space to store their eggs.

After mating, the females will store sperm from the males and could even draw from it to create mature eggs multiple times. Besides sperms, female bed bugs require a blood meal before creating and laying their eggs.

Males: Male don’t produce eggs, and they lack ovaries. Males will break through the female’s shell, aim at the abdomen (its tiny dark spot) to deposit their sperms in the hemocoel.

The sperms spread via the blood of the female bed bugs until it reaches the ovaries – in what we term as traumatic insemination.

Bed Bug Patterns– Female and male bed bugs have stripes patterns that move right to the left. They use this system to allow abdominal expansion when feeding on blood.

However, the females will show a small ridge at the back near its tail – the exact hemocoel location. Therefore, you’ll notice that the stripes will look somehow curved as they cross this ridge on their back.

Bed Bug Skin Color– Definitely, its possible to see through the bed bugs skin despite that its brown. So, we’ve noted that females and males hold (based on their functions) internal organs that are different.

Bed Bug Skin – See Through it?

Therefore, you can see the hemocoel and ovaries in the female bed bugs. Further, you can see a dark area on the female’s abdomen (at its back) – which we noted is its hemocoel.

4. Bed Bugs Engorged with Blood

Bed bugs will mainly feed on blood meals during the night – this is the time when sleeping humans release carbon dioxide that tends to attract these bugs. Within 5 to 10 minutes, the Cimex lectularius will be fully engorged with your blood.

The bugs will also suck blood from different warm-blooded hosts despite that they prefer feasting on human blood. But for heavily-infested places, bed bugs will also feed take their blood meal at day time.

One hollow tube will inject anesthetics (saliva looking liquid) into the human skin that makes the area numb. The other hollow tube will draw the host’s blood. The bugs will hide for about 5 to 10 days during the time which they’ll digest the blood, mate, and in addition, lay eggs.

Bed Bugs Engorged (Image A) Vs. Not Engorged (Image B)

Image Credit: Bed-bugs-handbook

4. Bed bugs on Curtains

The bugs may hide and live in drape fabrics. The fabric provides the bed bugs with hiding areas and dark folds. They easily get to your curtain buy climbing on adjacent walls or other drapes.

The bugs will lay eggs on the curtain that’ll stick more due to their glue. Here’s a couple of adult bed bugs, their eggs, nymph, and flea dirt on the top inside of the curtains – this is so scary being in a kid’s room!

Some bed bugs may attack drapes in packing, shipping, or on the production floor. The curtain may also pick bugs at the dry cleaner. This may also come from bed-bug infested luggage rugs or mattresses to your drapes.

5. Pictures of Bed Bugs on Mattress

Female Cimex lectularius will lay their eggs in crevices and cracks, particularly on the edges of your bed frames, box springs, and mattresses.

Bed Bugs on Mattress

Besides, the pest will also occupy crevices and cracks – hiding in bed rails, headboards, empty bed stands, mattresses tufts or folds, and spring soils. You’ll see cast skins, fecal stains, and even eggs.

Bed Bugs On Pillow

To control these bugs, first, stay off the home, change your bedding, and clean up. Check reddish or rusty stains on mattresses and bedsheets from the pests that may have been crushed.

Check for nymphs and their skins (colored pale-yellow) or the dark spots mainly caused by Cimex lectularius poop. Further, examine the clothing and under crevices.

5. Bed bugs on a Petri Dish

These are the bed bugs that my neighbor collected in her daughter’s room. Sadly her kids had a meltdown – particularly with her son, who has autism, and thus they had to sleep at my house.

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