What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Unless you’re into entomology, you’re probably visiting this page to find out whether bed bugs have invaded your space.
Terminix® wants to help you figure out what’s bugging you because correctly identifying pests is the first step toward successfully controlling them.
With bed bugs especially, time is of the essence. Left untreated, bed bugs can spread from infested mattresses, bedding and suitcases to all over your home, and then hitch a ride to the homes of your friends and loved ones. The faster you can identify them and effectively deal with them, the better.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Bed bugs can easily be confused with other small brown bugs. So exactly what do bed bugs look like? In general, an adult bed bug is reddish-brown with a long, oval-shaped body that’s about the size and shape of an apple seed. Bed bugs may be flat or they may look like tiny brown balloons, depending on whether they’ve fed recently. They, like fleas and ticks, need blood to survive.
To compare bed bugs with bed bug lookalikes, check out this detailed visual guide from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. It may help you determine whether you’re experiencing a bed bug infestation or something different altogether.
You Can’t Tell A Bug From Its Bite
Some people have no reaction to bed bug bites. Others may experience itching or rashes. Unfortunately, you can’t identify the bug by the appearance of the bite. Bed bug bites can resemble bites from chiggers, fleas and other insects. They can also be confused with skin conditions, such as hives, eczema or even fungal infections.
How To Check For Bed Bugs
They’re tiny. They’re reclusive. They’re nocturnal.
In other words, don't count on finding the bugs themselves. It’s not likely that you’ll see a bed bug. Instead, focus on looking for the physical signs that bed bugs leave behind, such as rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses and bed bug feces — dark stains about the size of a pencil point.
Bed bugs prefer to stay hidden. Carefully inspect all seams, piping, zippers and tags on mattresses, pillows and upholstered cushions. Carefully go through hiding places in suitcases. Check cracks and seams on bed frames and headboards/footboards. Examine drawer joints, especially in bedside tables. Bed bugs have even been known to hang out in electrical outlets, behind loose wallpaper and in the head of screws.
If you think you have a bed bug problem, contact a bed bug professional at Terminix to help you identify and control infestations in your home.