There are some animal species where the male and female counterparts are so different that they appear that they could actually be different species. Bed bugs, on the other hand, are not quite so different. And while you may not want to get close enough to a bed bug to tell the difference between the male and female (and we don’t blame you), there are a few differences between the two. Keep reading to learn more about what the main difference between male and female bed bugs is, and what similarities they share.

bed bugs

Male vs. Female Bed Bugs

Similarities: Size & behavior

Adult male and female bed bugs are roughly the same size, which is close to a fifth of an inch long, or about the size of an apple seed. So while small, they are visible to the naked eye. Both male and female bed bugs take blood meals. This will usually occur during the nighttime and without being detected.

Differences: Shape & reproduction

Adult male bed bugs often have abdomens that end with a rounded bump. Females, on the other hand, have much more rounded abdomens. These shapes are more obvious when the bed bugs are unfed. After bed bugs feed, their shape will change and it becomes more difficult to determine between male and female. The other main difference between the male and female bed bugs comes down to reproduction. Female bed bugs, of course, are the ones to lay the eggs that further bed bug infestations. A single female can lay 200 to 250 eggs in its lifetime.

Identifying bed bugs, male or female

Although there aren’t too many differences between male and female bed bugs, there are multiple ways to identify bed bugs more generally. Bed bugs are often thought of as an almost-invisible, mythically notorious pest. It’s easy to understand why: bed bugs are usually inactive during the day, hiding in cracks and crevices in your home, and they may be hidden for long periods of time before they are seen, but bed bugs are hardly invisible. In fact, adult bed bugs are visible with the naked eye as they are about the size of an apple seed.

Bed bugs go through several different life cycle stages, with different physical appearances during those stages. Listed below are the main stages and what a bed bug will look like during each stage.

  • Eggs: Bed bug eggs are roughly one sixteenth of an inch in size, and a white color. They’ll often appear in clusters, in cracks and crevices.
  • Nymphs: Bed bug nymphs resemble adult bed bugs but are much smaller. They’ll also often be almost completely translucent, especially if they haven’t fed yet.
  • Adults: Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. They’re brownish-red in color, and will both darken and elongate slightly after a blood meal.

The other information that becomes very helpful when it comes to identifying bed bugs is signs that you may have a bed bug infestation—and there are a few more than what appears to be a bed bug bite. If you strongly suspect a bed bug infestation, a professional will be able to thoroughly inspect. But the following are some signs that may help you figure out whether you’re dealing with bed bugs or not.

  • The stains: You may find small blood stains on your sheets or dark fecal specking.
  • You may also find clusters of bed bugs and cast skins, especially in the corners and crevices of your bed or mattress.
  • The bite: Some people may have apparent bite marks which show up sometimes; although this isn’t the best method to identify bed bugs since it’s very difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites or possibly confused with a skin condition. You should always go see a doctor if you see a mark on your skin.

How to get rid of male or female bed bugs?

Male or female bed bug problem on your hands? Not to worry—Terminix can help you manage it. There’s no denying that bed bugs are an annoying pest. But you don’t have to try and deal with an infestation on your own. In fact, the most effective way to manage bed bugs is to call in a professional.