Adult bed bugs, when they have not recently fed, are light brown with a flat, oval-shaped body. However, it is important to note that they can change shape and color. If they have fed recently, they are more balloon-like and elongated, and their color changes to a deep reddish-brown.
Young bed bugs, also called nymphs, are smaller and nearly invisible to the naked eye if they have not eaten recently. They are usually a translucent or whitish-yellow in color unless they have recently fed and then they are a red color.
In general, adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed or a grain of rice and nymphs are smaller. They are very prolific and a female bed bug can lay approximately five eggs in 1 day and about 500 during her lifetime.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, are small blood feeding insects. For several decades, they weren't a big problem in the United States but have made a resurgence, which is thought to be due to an increase in travel. This may be because bed bugs are easily transported in people's belongings, including clothes, luggage, towels, sheets and even on furniture. Because they are small and brown or a deep reddish brown, as well as usually hidden in cracks and crevices, they often go unnoticed.
Bed bugs are nocturnal and usually feed at night while people, their host, sleep. After they feed, they return to their hidden cracks and crevices. Even though the bite is typically not felt, people sometimes react to the proteins of the bed bug’s saliva that is introduced to the bloodstream during biting. This can cause the bites to rise and turn red. However, many people don't have a reaction to bed bug bites, so this isn't always a good sign of bed bugs.
How to Help Control Bed Bugs
If you do spot signs of bed bugs, or these actual light brown to reddish-brown insects, in your home, then you should contact a professional immediately. Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of and DIY treatments are usually always ineffective. Bed bugs breed and spread quickly and are good at hiding. A strategic treatment approach with multiple methods being used together is usually the only way to control a bed bug population. The experience and knowledge of a bed bug control professional is your best solution here. Terminix® can help. Get started with a FREE bed bug inspection.