Nobody wants to hear the words “bed bugs.” But even worse than hearing the words would be seeing bed bugs themselves. But can you even see them? Are bed bugs visible? And if so, what does a bed bug look like?

Are Bed Bugs Visible to the Naked Eye?

Learn some identifying features of these insects, as well as what to do if you spot them.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?


Adult bed bugs are typically about one-fourth of an inch long. The insects are reddish-brown and have flat oval-shaped bodies. Some people think that they are the size of an apple seed. After a blood meal, they may appear to be a bit larger and longer. 


Bed bug nymphs are similar in appearance to their adult counterparts, but on a much smaller scale. They molt five times as they mature, but they’re typically about the size of a sesame seed. Additionally, they start their lives translucent, but darken in color as they molt, or will turn red in color as they get their blood meals.


Bed bug eggs are tiny, measuring around one millimeter in length. To put that into perspective, the side of a dime is about one millimeter thick. The eggs of bed bugs are white and shaped like a pear.

How Do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?

So, are bed bugs visible? Yes, but they’re also often confused with a variety of other insects, including their bat bug cousins, swallow bugs and carpet beetles, so it can be very difficult to identify them unless you’re trained to do so. They’re also usually nesting in hidden cracks and crevices until they come out to feed. However, there are a few signs that might indicate you have bed bugs in your home, such as:

  • Spotting bed bugs themselves
  • Finding the shed exoskeletons of nymphs or bed bug eggs
  • Seeing brown stains on your headboard or bedding
  • Finding blood stains on your sheets and pajamas
  • Waking up with red itchy insect bites

What Should You Do if You Find a Bed Bug?

These insects are notoriously hard to control and are also prolific breeders, which means it’s not a good idea to attempt do-it-yourself bed bug treatment.

If you even think you have a bed bug in your home, the best course of action is reaching out to a bed bug control professional immediately. That way, a trained technician can come out to inspect your home and determine whether bed bugs truly are the pests causing you problems.

In addition, a professional will be able to perform an extensive inspection of the areas where bed bugs can hide, including beds, furniture and linens. Your technician will then work with you to customize treatment solution depending on your unique situation.

Terminix offers fee bed bug inspections, so don’t let the thought of an infestation keep you tossing and turning all night long. Schedule your inspection today to help increase your chances of a good night’s sleep free of bed bug bites.