What do bed bugs look like has been a common question on my Ask The Bug Doctor tab so I thought I’d take a minute and run it down. As much press and talk going around about this nasty creature it’s surprising to me that not a lot of people have seen them. Actually up until recent years not even professional pest control operators knew much about them let alone ever treated for them. Bed bugs use to be a very prevalent pest in America but after the introduction of DDT in the 1940’s they were all but wiped out. They have however made a huge comeback and are now on the verge of becoming the countries #1 pest that ‘we the people’ have to deal with again. So here’s a quick run down of what to look when it comes to bed bugs.
What do adult bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are broad and flat with reddish brown coloring. Adults are about 3/16 of an inch long and somewhat oval in shape. Bed bugs do not fly (they have no wings) but can scurry along the floor or a wall pretty quickly. In most of the letters I receive people describe them as having the shape of a shield and leathery looking. (just thought I’d throw that in there)
What do bed bug nymphs look like?
When bed bugs are born they are very small, about the size of a pinhead and somewhat yellow in color. As they grow they molt or shed their skin and their colors vary and at times look completely different than the adults. Nymphs molt 5 times and before each molt they require a blood meal to engage the process. Often after consuming blood they can be brighter red. Their shape is also not always flattened and can appear as if they have a hump. It is my opinion that the stage of the nymph is what can cause people to doubt they have bed bugs because of the great difference in appearance.
What do bed bug eggs look like?
The eggs of a bed bug are very tiny and hard to see on most surfaces and require magnification. They are somewhat capsule shaped and white. The female lays them in very secluded areas quite often in fabric like linen, mattress cloth or clothing. The eggs are sticky when first laid so that they adhere to the area until the new born hatch.
Quick facts on bed bugs
Did you know bed bugs prefer wooden or fabric areas? Bed bugs can complete their life cycle in as little as a month and have 3 to 4 generations per year. Bed bugs can go for 6 to 12 months without food. Bed bugs have piercing sucking mouth parts and can take up to ten minutes feeding on you to become engorged. (usually you never feel it) Bed bugs excrete liquid waste and this dried brownish fecal matter is most often a dead give away of where they are. Shed skins are also something people don’t expect with bed bugs but are present with every infestation.