Home » Articles » Bed Bug Control » Bed Bug Identification

Testimonial

08/30/2011

"DoMyOwnPestControl has such detailed descriptions of their products, there's no question as to what you're buying and the specific purpose. And they all work. Thank you so much."

Shanae Bezusko
Grand Junction, CO

More Testimonials »


Bed Bug Identification

By DoMyOwnPestControl.com staff

Print article


Identification is a crucial part of the bed bug control process because some other insects (such as Ticks, Mites, and Lice) can be mistaken as bed bugs and the treatment and control process for bed bugs is a lot different than any other pest. There are specific products that need to be used and procedures that should be followed to effectively get rid of bed bugs. This chapter will help you correctly identify Bed Bugs.

So... What do bed bugs look like? 

This. Bed bugs look like this:

Image source: bedbugspurification.com


bed bug on penny size comparison


bed bug picture on skin

Size

  • Bed bugs are 4 to 6 mm in length (or ¼ inch), which is about the size of an apple seed. 

Shape

  • Bed bugs have a flat, oval-round body shape.
  • Bed bugs have 6 legs.

Color

  • Adult bed bugs have a rusty red color and are bright red when full of blood.
  • Nymph bed bugs look similar to adults except they are smaller and are a much lighter, yellowish white color.

Bed bugs grow in nymph stages after they exit the egg capsule. Nymph bed bugs vary in sizes from 2 mm to 5 mm. The adult bed bugs are around a fourth of an inch or larger. Bed bugs become darker with every nymph stage they go through. They have an oval shape body, a small head, two antennae, and two beady eyes. The young look just like the adults just smaller and lighter colored. The bed bug colors start off white in the egg stage, and then progress into a translucent yellow nymph. The nymph becomes darker rust red color with every blood meal. The colors vary from yellow, orange yellow, orange, dark orange, red orange, and to a rust red. When the bed bug is engorged with blood it is not only bright red but its shape becomes more rounded and elongated.

So how big are bed bugs?

The bed bugs can reach a maximum size of five to six millimeters. Bed bugs at any stage sizing from one to six millimeters in size require blood meals and can be food with proper tools in infested areas.

Image source: itsadisaster.wordpress.com

Bed bugs are oval in shape, wingless, and rusty red or mahogany in color. They are only about 1/4 inch long with flattened bodies on well-developed antennae, small eyes, and a widened area behind the head area. The nymphs, or underdeveloped younger generations, look similar to the adults except they are smaller in size and lighter in color.

Male and female bed bugs

Image source: bedbugpictures.org

  • Males are morphologically more oval shaped and have a harden reproductive genitalia
  • Females are morphologically more oval shaped and have evolved specialized abdomens for male penetration in traumatic insemination
  • Both bed bug sexes when engorged with a blood meal are almost remarkably identical with internal anatomies aside

Comparable Bed bug Morphology between Species

In recent genetic studies using mitochondrial DNA, populations of bed bugs were shown to have a high degree of genetic variability. The variability is due to the frequent and numerous amounts of reproduction that takes place. This causes a maximum amount of genetic variation and generations made which in return makes for a hardier more resilient species. This key factor allows the bed bug to become hardier with each generation it creates. Bed bugs with this new adaptation can survive a variety of insecticide treatments.

Bed bug identification:

The key to understanding any insect is to first identify them. There are various types of bed bugs and common mistaken species. When identifying the bed bug you most take notes on its external appearances.

  • Oval in shape, wingless, and rusty red or mahogany in color.
  • About 1/8 - 1/4 inch long
  • Bodies are flattened
  • Well-developed antennae, small eyes, and, and the area behind the head expands forward on either side of the head
  • Appearance of nymph is similar to that of the adult except smaller in size and lighter, yellowish white color

First you must list out the number of segments, legs, color, size, and texture of the exoskeleton.  Once this is done you are halfway to identifying the insect. The bed bug is commonly miss construed and miss identified with a small list of various species. Second way to identifying the critter is to know what it can’t be. The descriptions below will get you started towards understanding the different types of bed bugs.

Physical Appearance

Most people know that bed bugs "drink blood", but in addition to this repulsive fact, it is also wise to have an idea of what bed bugs look like so you won't miss them when inspecting your bed for these blood suckers. Bed bugs are:

  • Oval in shape, wingless, and rusty red or mahogany in color.
  • About 1/5 inch long
  • Bodies are flattened
  • Well-developed antennae, small eyes, and, and the area behind the head expands forward on either side of the head
  • Appearance of nymph is similar to that of the adult except smaller in size and lighter, yellowish white color

Behavior & Habitat

Bed bugs (nymphs and adults) feed at night and hide in crevices during the day. Common hiding places for bed bugs include: seams in mattresses and box springs, cracks in bed frames, under loose wallpaper, behind picture frames, and inside furniture and upholstery.

Feeding Habits

A bed bug can take six times its weight in human blood during a nighttime feeding, and feeding can take 3 to 10 minutes. Bed bugs can survive without food for 80 to 140 days; older stages can survive longer without feeding than younger ones. Adults have survived without food for as long as 550 days. 

Life Cycle

See: Bed Bug Life Cycle

Damage

  • Reactions to bed bug bites vary, ranging from inflammation and swelling around the bite, to intense itching.
  • Bed bugs have not been found to transmit diseases to humans.
  • Bed Bugs are commonly accompanied by small stains of blood on sheets and linen. 

For More Bed Bug Products, including our Bed Bug Kits, see our Bed Bug Control page.



Related Articles

Bed Bug FAQ
Signs of Bed Bug Infestation
How To Prevent Bed Bugs
How To Get Ridof Bed Bugs (in 5 steps)  
How To Avoid Hotel Bed Bugs
Pesticide-Free Bed Bug Control




 
Can't find the pest control product or pest control supplies you are looking for?
Contact us and we'll get it for you!