What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bed bugs are sneaky. They come out at night, and sneak away during the day, leaving people wondering if they could be dealing with a bedbug infestation or another pest. They are plenty of other warning signs but but none as definate as tracking down the actual bug. If you are wondering what bedbugs actually look like then read on.

Physical Characteristics of Bed Bugs

Adult bedbugs are flattened, and reddish brown in color. They are oval in shape and do not have any wings. They have a banded appearance and they have hair on there bodies that are not visible to the naked eye, but is noticeable through a microscope.

Bed bugs that are newly hatched are lighter in color and as they age and molt, they get browner and bigger.

Female bedbugs can lay up to five eggs in a day and can lay up to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Bed bug eggs appear milky white in color.

How Big Are Bed Bugs?

Adult bedbugs can grow to be 4-5mm in length and 1.5-3mm wide.

Sometimes that get mistaken for carpet beetles, or booklice. Bedbugs are not that hard to spot to the naked eye, you just have to look closely.

Myth: It’s commonly believed that bed bugs can’t be seen by the naked eye.

Fact: Bed bugs are small, but not that small. They and their eggs can be clearly seen without needing any magnification equipment.

Where to Find Bed Bugs

Bedbugs are only active when you go to bed, so usually night time. They are attracted to carbon dioxide and warmth. You cannot feel the bite of a bedbug once you are bitten. In fact, you cannot feel nothing at all. One feeding can last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. After feeding they return to where they came from to digest their meal.

They like out of the way places, like along floor boards, between couch cussins and along seams. If you are getting bitten, check around your bed and mattress closely. Even if you don’t find them, they tend to leave behind signs of bed bug activity. They are small in size but the reddish brown color makes them more noticeable on light colored bedding and carpet. And after feeding

The Signs of Bedbug Problems

The return of the dreaded Bedbug, or Cimex lectulariushas, has hit Americans by storm once again. The nasty little bug, once thought to have been an eradicated pest, finds the same comfort in our beds as we do. Identifying a potential bed bug problem is sometimes a difficult process, but the nasty little Bed Bug leaves a few clues behind to help you solve this troublesome mystery.

The First Sign: Bedbug Bites

You and your beloved family have noticed small red bumps on your bodies when you wake up in the morning and fear that you may have been feasted on by the blood sucking Bed Bug. This is a good indicator that you may have a Bed Bug problem, but you cannot rely only on these presumed Bed Bug bites, as many other environmental factors could have caused them. The first step in identifying the red marks is to examine yourself before bed, for any marks that may be there. When you awake in the morning, check for new marks. If there are any new marks, they very well could be Bed Bug bites.

Where to Look for Bedbugs

So now you really think you have Bedbugs and you are thinking about calling a professional exterminator. You don’t want to spend all of your money on one quite yet, so now you search your bedrooms and under the mattresses to find the pesky little parasites. The only problem now is that you can’t find them!

The Second Sign: Feces

Bed Bugs are very sneaky and nearly impossible to locate by sight, so you need to locate the traces they leave behind, and anything that eats, poops! Bedbugs leave traces of feces in the places they inhabit which may leave your beds and boxsprings speckled a rusty brown. Taking a damp rag to the fabric can help identify this speckling as the fecal droppings of the filthy Cimex. If it is indeed Bedbug feces speckling the bed, it will smear with a quick swipe of your rag. Now would be a good time to call the exterminator, but beware the Bed Bug isn’t as easily eradicated as their predecessors and have become immune to several pest control chemicals, so finding an exterminator that specializes in Bed Bug removal, is very important.

What do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bedbugs are small insects that, along with the rest of their insect family, live by feeding on blood from warm-blooded animals. They have been infesting humans for thousands of years but were, for the most part, wiped out. Starting in the mid 1990’s they began showing up in increasing numbers again and may be due to less careful measures of prevention. They were for the most part eradicated in the 1940’s and in the following 50 years people thought less and less about them. They are active at night for the most part and are able to feed without being noticed by their host.

Many people deal with bedbugs in their home or apartment on a constant basis. These tiny insects are actually attracted to the upholstery in a home and will multiply and reproduce very quickly. In simple terms, a small infestation can turn into a large problem within just a matter of days or weeks. It is thought that bedbugs are attracted to dirty environments, however, it’s not uncommon for an apartment to get bedbugs because their neighboring tenant has them. Bedbugs are often an annoying and widespread problem in apartment complexes.

Physical Characteristics of Bed Bugs

They are flat with an oval body in a light to reddish brown. They do not have wings and almost appear to have stripes across their backs and this is caused by rowes of tiny hairs. The mouthparts consist of two tubes, on to inject saliva that aids in keeping the blood from clotting, and the other used to suck up blood. They can feed in five minutes and will then return to their hiding place. They do not have to eat every day and have been known to survive a year without food. It can have nesting and hiding places almost anywhere and are sometimes called the wall louse.

What Bedbug Bites Look Like

The bites cause different problems for different people and can show up as rashes, blisters, or just a red blotchy look. In some cases, the person fed on shows no signs at all and in others their could be allergic reactions. The only way to treat this is to get rid of the Bedbugs and this is not easy. They can survive without food for a year in some cases and also enter a hibernation phase when the tempature drops too far. Dogs are now used in some cases to detect bedbugs and have a great success rate. In the end, it will take determination to put these guys out of our minds for a second time

Bedbugs are not Invisible

The common myth about bedbugs is the fact that they are invisible to the naked eye and that you need a microscope to see them. The truth of the matter is that an adult bedbug can actually be seen crawling about mattresses and furniture and this can especially be true if you have a large infestation of bedbugs. Large infestations of bedbugs can be seen very easily on the floors, upholstery, and even walls of your house and apartment. The bugs themselves are flattened and brown or red in color. They do not have wings but instead have a series of black bands on their back. Nymphs, which is the term for newly hatched bedbugs, are completely translucent and will more than likely not be seen by the naked eye because they are very small.

Where to See Bedbugs

The bedbugs themselves can often be found in the crevices of mattresses and walls because their flattened bodies allow them to squeeze into tight spots. They will often be found away from sunlight. These small but harmful bugs can be extremely hazardous to have within the home. Bedbug bites will often look like small pimples and if you have a large infestation, you may find that you can not sleep at night because the bugs are biting at all areas of your body and face. Because bedbugs multiply quickly, it’s a good idea to have a professional exterminating service come into the home in order to have the problem completely eradicated. Depending on the size of the infestation, the home or apartment may need several exterminations in order to get rid of the bedbugs completely.

Bedbugs 101

What is a Bedbug?

Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. The bedbug (Cimex lectularius) is a member of the family Cimicidae, all insects in this family feed exclusively on the blood of warm blooded animals. The name bedbug comes from the fact that this insect is mainly nocturnal and prefers to live in cracks in mattresses, box springs, bedframes, and other furniture, walls, and baseboards near places where people sleep.

Bedbugs have many other names including wall louse, mahogany flat, crimson rambler, heavy dragoon and redcoat. Many of these names come from the reddish-brown coloring and flattened oval shape of these insects. These wingless insects grow to be 5-7 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide.

Feeding Habits

Bedbugs are attracted to their targets by three things: carbon dioxide, warmth, and certain chemicals. Bedbugs have two hollow feeding tubes. One tube injects the victim with its saliva that contains anticoagulants, which keep the blood from clotting, and anesthetics, which causes numbness, while the second tube extracts the blood. Because of the anesthetics the actual bite is not felt. Bedbugs feed for about five minutes before retreating back to its hiding place. Although bedbugs like to feed approximately every five days, they can survive for a year or longer without feeding.

Resurgence of Bedbugs

Bedbugs have been largely eliminated in the developed world since the 1940’s and 1950 with the use of DDT’s but these pests made a big comeback in 1980’s and 1990’s.

The resurgence of bedbugs in developed countries has been attributed to the rise in foreign travel and immigration, the increase of second hand furniture, as well as greater resistance to pesticides.

Bedbugs can be found in both dirty and clean environments, meaning any bed, no matter how sanitary, is not immune to an infestation of bedbugs. Crowded living quarters with a high rate of guest turnover makes motels, hostels, and even high end hotels particularly susceptible to bedbug infestation. Just one bedbug hitching a ride on a piece of clothing or in a suitcase can create an infestation.

How to Kill Bedbugs

Types of Bedbug Insecticides

Bedbug infestations are extremely hard to get rid of and usually require treatment by a professional pest controller. There are a few insecticides that can be used to exterminate these pests, including sprays, dusts, and aerosols.

Deltamethrin is one of the most popular contact insecticides; it is odorless and leaves no visible residue. This insecticide is relatively safe and it will break down once is has been exposed to sunlight for a few days. Deltamethrin is safe for most people and mammals, although it should not be exposed to any fish or aquatic animals. The insecticide paralyzes the bedbugs and when combined with another compound prevents recovery, killing the insect. This type of insecticide is available in liquid, powder and aerosol form.

Hydroprene is a slow acting insecticide; it stops bedbugs from reaching maturity and thus prevents breeding so the bedbugs die out more slowly. It can only be used indoors as it breaks down in sunlight. It is generally considered safe.

Terminix offers a treatment called RapidFreeze which uses dry ice to freeze the insects and their eggs. It is fast and non-toxic. Be careful that you are eradicating the insects and not just herding them into a different room.

At-Home Methods of Killing Bedbugs

In some cases mattresses must be discarded. If there are holes or tears in the fabric that means that bedbugs could have gotten inside and the mattresses must be thrown away. Washing mattress covers, pillows, and comforters in the hottest water setting will kill the bedbugs. If the comforter cannot be washed, putting the comforter in a dryer at the highest heat possible should kill any bedbugs on the comforter. Sealing the mattress inside a zippered bug proof encasement will trap the pests in and eventually kill them.

Keep in mind, though, that bed bugs can live for up to a year or longer without eating. Bed bugs do not just live in the bed; they have homes in cracks in the walls, crevices in furniture, and in hollow pockets behind pictures and electrical outlets. These at-home methods usually will not eradicate the infestation so it is recommended that you contact a professional pest controller, especially when using chemicals.

As Always, Prevention is the Best Medicine

In order to prevent the spread of beg bugs make sure that you are not staying in a hotel room infested by bedbugs. If possible, bring a flashlight and carefully insect the bed and furniture around the room for bedbugs or signs of bedbugs, such as dark brown feces stains and blood stains from squashed bugs. Be cautious when buying used furniture as they may be harboring bedbugs and bedbug eggs. Mattresses especially carry a high risk of being infested. When returning home from a trip, check your suitcase for any stowaways.

Bedbug Bites Look as Nasty as They Feel

Currently dealing with bedbugs, I can attest firsthand these pesky creatures have one goal in mind, and that is to turn you into a late night wine and dine. While it is true that bedbugs are not dangerous in the sense of causing disease, they can be a nuisance, and the bites they leave behind quiet frankly, annoying and frustrating.

Looking at Bedbug Bites Up Close

Knowing if you have a bedbug bite can help you properly handle the situation and rid your home of bedbugs. Bedbug bites affect each person differently. In some people, such as in my case, people can have an allergic reaction to these bites, causing swelling. In all cases, bedbug bites are extremely itchy, but scratching will only make it worse.

The Physical Effects of a Bedbug Bite

At first bite, you may notice a large, raised white welt looking area.The bites initially look like a mosquito bite,and you may even think you have been bitten by a mosquito until the itching sets in. The welts disappear after a few minutes, where in its place you will notice a small red bump, most often with a spot in the middle of it where the bedbug used its fangs to suck.

These bites can appear anywhere on the body, and occur at night once you have fallen fast asleep. Bedbugs love the upper part of the body, so you may find the bites above the waist, including on the head, face, arms, hands, and even chest area. They are easy to distinguish from other bites due to the painful itching that they cause.

How Long Do Bedbug Bites Last?

The spot where the bedbug has bitten you can last anywhere from 3 to 4 days up to 14 days and possibly longer. Even after several days the area may still have an intense itch. Bedbug bites look similar in almost every person. Along with the itching, you should be able to easily identify a problem with bedbugs.

Pictures of Bedbug Bites

Bedbug bites may cause skin rashes and allergic symptoms, as well as psychological effects. Bedbug bites have a wide range of manifestations on the skin of the host: from no visible effects to big raised blisters. The bite area is commonly accompanied by redness, itching and swelling. There is no treatment for bedbug bites, but steroid cream can be used if itching is severe, as itching may lead to infection.

Bedbugs can be carriers of human diseases such as HIV, but it is unlikely that they can transmit the disease to other humans. There has never been a case of any disease being transmitted via bed bug.

The Bedbug Life Cycle

Bedbug Reproduction

Bedbug breeding is not a pretty thing. Female bedbugs do not have exterior genital opening so in order to mate the male bedbug pierces the abdominal body cavity of the female with his hypodermic-like reproductive organ and ejaculates into the body cavity. The female bedbugs lay between five and 12 eggs each day. During their lifetime one bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs. The female bedbug deposits the eggs into small crevices and cracks for them to hatch later on. The eggs are approximately one millimeter in length. It takes up to two weeks for the eggs to hatch. Once they hatch they immediately begin to feed. Bedbugs are the size of a poppy seed when they are first hatched.

Bedbug Life Cycle

Bedbug Nymphs

Juvenile bedbugs are called nymphs. Nymphs are yellow white colored but when they consume blood they turn bright red. They are similar in shape to mature bedbugs. Nymphs pass through five molts before they reach maturity, each time leaving behind a clear exoskeleton. Every time the bedbug sheds its exoskeleton they get a little darker. In order for the nymph to pass through each molt they must consume one meal. When at room temperature it takes less than five weeks for the nymph to complete the five molting stages to reach maturity.

Mature Bedbugs

When bedbugs reach maturity they become fertile and can breed. Bedbugs have six legs, and a three part segmented body consisting of the head, thorax, and abdomen. Mature bedbugs reach 4-5 millimeters in length and 1.5 to 3 millimeters in length. Their oval shaped bodies are comparable to an apple seed. When bedbugs reach maturity their color ranges from dark brown to burnt orange. After they have consumed a meal of blood their bodies turn redder. Bedbugs have a life span that commonly ranges from four to six months, although in ideal conditions some bedbugs can live for years.

New York’s Bed Bug Epidemic

The bedbug epidemic has hit many big cities in the U.S., such as Los Angeles, Denver, Cincinnati, and Phoenix, but nowhere near as hard as New York has been pummeled by these tiny pests. Complaints about bedbugs in New York City have skyrocketed in the last few years. The number of inquiries about bedbugs to 311 escalated from 21,922 in 2008 to 33,772 in 2009, an increase of 54%. In 2004 there were only 537 bedbug complaints; in 2009 that number jumped over twenty times that amount to a staggering 10,985 complaints, according to the New York City Bed Bug Advisory Board Report to the Mayor and City Council from April 2010.

Where Bedbugs Have Been Found

Not only have bedbugs made homes in numerous hotels and homes, they are also showing up in public buildings as well. The AMC movie theater in Times Square was recently discovered to have bedbugs in a few of their seats, the bodies of moviegoers a good target for these blood suckers. Victoria’s Secret in Lexington, Elle Magazine offices, an Abercrombie and Fitch store, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, and many other businesses were also found to have bedbugs. Most disturbingly, there were 426 bedbug cases of bedbugs in 243 public schools in New York City in 2009 alone. Bedbugs are very easy to be transported around the city; all it takes is one person with bedbugs on their clothes, and their work place or shopping place can become infected.

New Yorker’s Reactions

It seems that no one in New York City is immune to these pests. According to a New York City community health survey from 2009, 1 in 15 residents of New York City have bedbugs in their homes. It is estimated that since these pests travel so well that that number is higher now. With the rising number of bedbug cases there has been a corresponding rise in fear of these pests being transmitted. Friends keep their distance, people have stopped going to the movies, and some cross the street when they see mattresses lying in the street. Tutors and music teachers that go home to home are worried that they may soon be losing their clients because of this epidemic. Those who homes have been infested have to live with the stigmata of it. The shame and fear of what other people might think and how they will react has even made some wear turtle neck sweaters in the stifling heart of summer to hide the telltale red welts.

The War on Bed Bugs

The main reason that these bugs are running rampant across the county is because the US has largely banded the use of DDT, a pesticide that, when it was used back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, stopped bedbugs in their tracks. New York has now declared battle in other ways, by sealing cracks and getting rid of clutter in which bed bugs may hide, inspecting mattresses and pillows for signs of bedbugs, and, if necessary, recruiting professional exterminators. There is now a New York City Bedbug Advisory Board report with a three part recommendation for the management of bedbugs, including education, awareness and early detection, treatment and remediation, and monitoring and policy. The New York City Bedbug Advisory Board Report to the Mayor and City Council is available online for the public.

For more information, the city has setup a website ( here ) where you can learn more about how to combat the bedbug problem.

What Are Bed Bugs?

If you have ever been itchy in your bed at night, feeling as though something is crawling over you and biting you, keeping you from sleeping, you may be wondering if you are losing your mind or if you have an infestation. The good news is that you are probably sane, but the bad news is that you could be infested with bed bugs.

What are bed bugs? Bed bugs are a small parasites that infest human habitats, but their most frequently infested area is the bed. They enjoy the quiet dark corners of mattresses and come out to feed at night, since they require blood to live. Bed bugs usually feed every five to ten days, but they can go up to a year without feeding in a state of hibernation with the right conditions. This is why it is so important to properly treat infestations, as dormant infestations can become active again if not treated properly.

What are Bed BugsChemical treatment of the affected area is recommended as a way to get rid of the infestation, as chemicals kill both active and dormant bedbugs. In the past, DDT was used as a pesticide to control the bedbug population, but with the discovery of health and environmental problems relating to DDT, the chemical has been discontinued. Modern methods include spot treatment with steam, which is an effective method for getting rid of known infections, however it requires several different treatments to ensure the entire infestation is removed.

If a bed bug infestation is discovered in your home, usually in a child’s bed, you need to treat all clothing, sheets, and pillows that have come into contact with the bed with several steam treatments. In addition, even if you have searched your bed and have not seen any of the mites, you should wash and treat your clothing and sheets as well in order to negate any chance of the mites migrating.