What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bugs look different depending on when you see them - if you see them at all. These tiny bugs establish themselves in many of the places we find ourselves when traveling on vacation or holidays. They can be in hotels, motels, resorts, and other sleep accommodations, as well as a variety of public transportation and public venues. That is why it is vital to know what bed bugs look like, in all their many forms. Here are some of the forms they come in, and how likely you are to see them.

Unfed Bed Bugs

Most hotels, resorts, and motels keep things pretty clean. That makes it hard for bed bugs to walk around without being seen, so they will remain hidden until it is safe to come out and feed. This is usually when it is dark, and the CO2 levels in a room have increased, due to deep and steady exhalation of sleeping humans. Since it is not likely that you can see in the dark, the way you're most likely to see an adult bed bug is if you are unfortunate enough to wake in the night, flick on a light, and see these bugs in bed with you, or on your skin.

Unfed adult bed bugs are flat and oval shaped, with dark horizontal indentations on their abdomen that are spaced like lines on a piece of paper. If you look closely, with a magnifying glass, you may even notice a little bit of a rounded point on the tail of the abdomen. Why a magnifying glass? An adult bed bug only gets to about 4mm in length. That is about the size of an apple seed.

These bugs are insects. So they have the characteristics of an insect: six legs, two antennae, and three body parts--though it is hard to distinguish the head from the thorax. All bed bugs have a transparency to their skin, in varying degrees. And, while adults are much less transparent than newly hatched nymphs, you can still see the black coating of their feces on the inner walls of their anatomy, especially near the end of their abdomen.

Fed Bed Bugs

When a bed bug feeds, it administers and anticoagulant into the bite wound allowing blood to flow out without causing discomfort. For this reason, it is common to find bed bug bites even on sensitive areas of the skin like the face and neck. And, since bites usually occur at night, it is not likely that you will see a fully grown adult bed bug feeding unless you wake up and turn on some lights.

Fed bed bugs will be a brighter red than unfed bugs. This is because the coloring of your blood will be showing through its slightly transparent skin. It will also take on more of a pill shape as its body becomes engorged. You may even see the rounded point on the end of its abdomen more clearly. It will also be larger than an unfed bed bug.

Unfed Bed Bug Nymphs

It is hard to see bed bugs, but nymphs make this task even harder. When bed bugs hatch, they are as small as the tip of a pen and mostly transparent. Good luck seeing one of these bugs crawling around - assuming they ever crawl around when there is enough light to see them.

Bed bugs go through 5 instars (development stages) before they reach adult. In each stage, they have the same appearance as an adult, with one exception. The younger the bed bugs, the more transparent their skin will be, and the less prominent the horizontal bands on their abdomen will be.

Fed Bed Bug Nymphs

Of all the stages listed here, you are most likely to see a feeding bed bug nymph. This is simply because the more transparent the skin of the bed bug is, the brighter the red coloring of your blood inside it will be.

Be on the lookout for bed bugs when you travel. These are hitchhiking pests that travel home with you. Recognizing bed bugs when you see them, if you see them, can prevent an infestation from taking root in your home. Bed bugs are frustrating and traumatizing bugs to live with, and nearly impossible to get rid of without an education in bed bug protocols and professional equipment and products.

Let the bed bug specialists here at Schendel Pest Services safely and thoroughly remove these pests from your home. Reach out to us for a fast resolution to this problem.


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