Bed bugs get their name from their habit of feeding on human hosts in bed. They are excellent hitchhikers, easily transported and are found in many different types of dwellings, which makes them difficult to control. For this reason, it is crucial that you learn how to identify bed bugs.
Bed bug infestations continue to plague Americans. In fact, 99.6 percent of pest professionals treated for bed bugs in 2014, according to our most recent Bugs Without Borders survey. Do you know how to identify bed bugs? View our pest profile below:
How to Identify Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are an oval shape and only grow to about 3/16th of an inch in length. Prior to feeding, they are brown and flat. After feeding, bed bugs become more red in color, swollen, and elongated. Bed bugs have 6 legs and 2 antennae. Despite having reduced “wing pads,” bed bugs do not have wings and cannot fly.
Adult bed bugs are visible to the human eye and can be detected by sight, especially within mattress seams and box springs. Bed bug nymphs can be harder to identify, as they are smaller in size and paler in color.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs are most easily identified by small reddish-brown fecal spots on mattresses, upholstery or walls. If these spots are found, it can indicate an infestation. Bites on the arms and legs are also a tell-tale sign of bed bugs. While these bites can be small, if they swell and become itchy, they are noticeable. It can take two to three days for these bites to appear, allowing the infestation to grow. However, bites alone do not indicate an infestation without other bed bug evidence.
Infestations can also be identified by sightings of bed bug molt skins, their eggs, empty eggshells, or the bugs themselves. All of these things are quite small, but still visible to the human eye. Bed bug molt skins as well as their eggshells appear pale white after molting or emerging from the eggshell, respectively.