What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

On the question, what do bed bugs look like? Bed bugs are wingless, oval-shaped, flat, and small-bodied bugs – adults have wing vestiges (the wing pads) – but bed bugs can’t fly

  • The brown-colored or orange adult bed bug tends to turn red once they suck blood. On size, they’re about 4 – 5 mm (or 3/16 an inch) – and they somehow slow. 
  • The oval-shaped and six-legged bugs will also appear relatively flattened on their top when they’ve not sucked blood recently. 
  • Bed bugs can be seen with your naked eyes (you’ll get them in crevices and cracks) but their nymphs could be too small – check their hiding places

Further, the nymphs that have hatched recently will have the size of a pin’s head (or apple seed) – they’ll be tan or white in color until their feed on blood. 

How Will I identify those Bed Bugs? 

Hiding Locations – Clothing, on pets, curtains, mattresses, seams, bedding, beds, and other furniture – they hide at day time.

  • Bed bugs will hide both in dirty or clean spaces – and thus cleaning will not fully prevent these bugs.
  • They’re excellent in hiding and hence you might only notice their bites
  • Bed bugs cause red & itchy welts on human skin – but they don’t spread diseases. They find humans through the CO2 smell from their respiration.
  • The bugs bite to inject saliva into humans (painless bite) – while also producing that anticoagulant and anesthetic effect. Its allergic reaction causes bumps that are raised.

Color – The reddish-brown or orange bugs will change to red once they’ve had their blood meal. As the bugs continue digesting the blood, they’ll change to paler orange. 

  • Bed bugs will feed on blood from humans (their best choice) among other warm-blooded animals like cats and dogs.
  • But they can also remain dormant for about 6 – 18 months without sucking blood.

Shape – Tapered and oval body shape – it’ll remain flat on their body shape until they’re full of blood. 

  • These flat bodies enable the bugs to effortlessly squeeze themselves into tiny cracks & crevices – including spaces that measure the width of a credit card. 
  • Bed bugs undertake repeated bites in their single feeding session. 

Shape – Lenght of 4 – 5 mm (or 3/16 an inch)

  • You’ll only see bed bugs in the daytime during food scarcity (fewer blood meals) or if there are heavy infestations – otherwise the bugs are mainly active at night. 
  • You’ll get bed bugs in homes, motels, and hotels – and thus know how to vacuum for bed bugs.

Signs or Indicators of Bed Bug Problems

Below are the key indicators of the bed bug problems you’ll get in your spaces.

1. Bed Bug Bites -Bed bug bites may be confused with mosquito bites. Bed bugs will bite humans on multiple sites that are close together – this differentiates them from mosquito bites. 

  • Bed bug bites mainly happen on exposed skin – especially on the shoulders, arms, necks, and upper body. 
  • When bitten, you’ll experience swelling, red welts, or itching – but it might not be obvious for some people or for several days.

2. Fecal stains – Bed bugs can also become evident when you notice their excrement (or fecal stains) – they’ll appear brown, black, or red – mounds or stains.

  • The black feces that create stains are mainly digested blood – and will dry to create that raised spot. 
  • The fecal spots will also appear like feces from the German roaches – check these roach killers for apartments – but they’ll be smooth-textured as opposed to being rough. 

3. Molted exoskeletons – Bed bugs will molt or drop their exoskeleton/ shell as they progress between the larval stages – the exoskeleton is light-colored and translucent.

  • Check the rooms or around the box spring to see if the area has molted bed bug exoskeleton – this is indicative of population growth among the bed bugs. 
  • Once the bugs feed on that blood meal, they’ll begin growing and will finally molt to develop to another stage. Molting allows them to grow larger in body size. 
  • On color, these exoskeleton shells will appear lighter-colored but will be empty – but they may have different colors and sizes.

4. Physical evidence (flashlight inspection) – Bed bugs can also be identified with physical evidence – being present in carpeting, upholstery crevices, headboard, box spring, on the bed frame, and mattress.

  • For heavily infested spaces, you can find the bed bugs around the coach or chair seams, on curtain folds, and under the cushions. 
  • You may also check for visual bed bug’s activity such as being in crevices & cracks, furniture or pillows, fecal or spotting on furniture, pillows, and sheets. 

5. Professional Inspection – You may also hire professional pest inspectors or exterminators to check the signs or evidence of bed bugs in your spaces and home. 

  • With a positive identification of the bed bugs, the professional exterminator can help create a suitable bug-treatment plan for your spaces. 

6. Use Active monitors – To notice bed bugs you can also employ active bed bug monitors with insecticide or traps. These will produce carbon dioxide to attract such bugs. 

But How did you Get the Bed Bugs? 

Bed bugs are great hitchhikers – but they won’t jump or fly, unlike fleas. Bed bugs don’t love hiding in the human body and thus you’ll find that on various house objects. 

  • So, you’ll simply require to check the cardboard boxes, furniture, and luggage. 
  • Bed bugs may equally survive in your luggage on a plane – and thus they’ll easily spread over many world locations. 

Further, check on various second-hand items like furniture – these may carry bed bugs into your home. 

  • From your traveling, you can also carry bedbugs from your various motels or hotels – especially for the low-budget hotels. 
  • These low-quality hotels tend to have high guest turnover – and thus there is a high possibility of some dropping bed bugs. 
  • Thus, if the bed bug that’s dropped is a female and also fertilized – it’ll lay eggs leading to the major population growth of the bugs. 

Since bed bugs tend to spread easily, you’ll find these bugs in many places.

  • Such places you may pick the bed bugs include concert halls, movie theaters, buses, planes, airport lounges, bars, and coffee shops.
  • Further, for the city, you can find the bed bugs in library books. 

Identifying & Treating bites

To identify bed bugs – you should know that they are a swollen and red bump that has a dark center.

  • These bites are grouped together and in a line – they can have hives and blisters. 

Bed bugs will be on any of your body parts that they’ll mainly be on the exposed body parts (especially while you’re sleeping) such as face, legs, arms, and hands. 

  • The bite areas could appear like flea or mosquito bites – and they’re slightly swollen. 

You’ll notice the bites will be aligned in a single straight line or in groupings – but flea bites will be on the ankles or lower legs while the mosquito bites will appear more sporadic. 

  • However, other individuals won’t be allergic to the bite from bed bugs and hence won’t show bite signs. 

Treating bites 

To treat the bed bug bites, you’ll use a myriad of methods – but you may require a few weeks to achieve great results.

1. Ice Pack – Besides using those over-the-counter treatments, ice packs can help relieve the pain from bed bug bites.

  • The ice tends to soothe the bite area – but you can also use some cold cloth or some water+baking soda paste.
  • The towel-wrapped ice will help relieve burning and itching sensations on the bite while also cutting the swelling.

2. Anti-itch Cream – First wash the bite areas with some water + soap – this reduces itchiness and prevents further skin infection.

  • Next, to reduce the skin itchiness, apply some over-the-counter corticosteroid cream or calamine lotion onto the bed bug bite area. 

2. Oral medication – Some of the approved over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for bed bug bites include hydrocortisone lotion or cream that’ll relieve the swelling and itchiness. 

  • Also, you can take some diphenhydramine (OTC antihistamine – also known as Benadryl) to help reduce the bite itchiness – but first, try some anti-itch cream. 


In summary, adult bed bugs will be oval-or flat-shaped but small and wingless (have wing pads, however) with a 4 to 5 mm length.

  • The brown-colored bugs will turn orange or red as they feed on blood – they’re visible with most naked eyes while the nymphs may not be visible.

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