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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Advice From Moyer Indoor | Outdoor

By now you have probably heard about the resurgence of bed bug infestations here in the United States. These bugs are taking over. They aren't just found in hotels and motels anymore. You can pick them up in planes, trains, buses, taxis, and other forms of public transportation. You can get them when you go to the movie theater or when you pick out a book at the public library. Your kids can bring them home from school or from a sleepover. Your friends can bring them in. You can bring them home from work. The list of ways bed bugs can be introduced to your home goes on and on and on. That is why it is vital to know a bed bug when you see one. Recognizing these insects can prevent you from getting an infestation.

Bed Bug Identification

Eggs: An infestation can begin with a batch of eggs. Bed bug eggs do not need a mother to tend them. They are able to hatch on their own. So, you need to recognize them when you see them. Bed bug eggs are as small as the tip of a pen, white, and pill-shaped. They can be found in the creases or stitching of bags, backpacks, and pocketbooks. They are also sticky, so they can be found on clothing and stuck to the sides of furniture and other items.

Stage One

Bed bugs go through 5 instars before they reach adulthood. In the first instar, these insects have a transparent body and are nothing more than specks. If they have had a recent blood meal, their abdomen will be bright red and bloated.

You're not likely to see one of these bugs crawling on someone, even if the bug is filled with blood. They are extremely small, but you may notice one if it is on you. When you see a tiny red bug that is only about the size of a pen tip clinging to your skin, there is a good chance it is a bed bug.

Stage Two

In the second stage of development, bed bugs are still somewhat transparent, but they can appear black because their insides have a coating of feces. They may also appear reddish black if they have had a blood meal. While still extremely small (only 2mm in length) there are two ways you can tell these bugs from other bugs. Bed bugs have six legs, not eight. And, even if a bed bug looks black, you'll still notice transparent areas.

Stage Three

In the third instar, bed bugs will still be extremely small, measuring a mere 2.5 mm in length, but they will have had blood meals to get to that size. Bed bugs need blood to pass from one instar to the next. This is important to understand because the size of the bed bug you find can give you an indication of the size of the bed bug infestation it came from. Hopefully, that infestation was outside of your home.

A bed bug in the third instar still looks transparent, but it will be less "black" looking inside its transparent, tan-colored body. You may also start to see the horizontal creases that will eventually be prominent on its abdomen.

Stage Four and Five

As bed bugs pass through their fourth and fifth instars they will become more tan and have less of the black interior showing. It will also become easier to see the horizontal creases on their abdomen.

Adult Bed Bugs

When a bed bug reaches adulthood, it is no longer transparent, and you will clearly see the distinct, horizontal indents on its abdomen. It will also be reddish-brown in color, but you'll still have to look closely to see them. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed--and similar in shape.

Fed Bed Bugs

All bed bugs will change their shape if they have had a blood meal. These bugs are usually flat and oval, but when engorged with blood, they become pill shaped.

If you're seeing these bugs in your home, let the bed bug experts here at Moyer Pest Control know. Our team uses the most advanced, eco-friendly pest protocols in the industry. You don't have to let the bed bugs bite. Get Moyer and get free of bed bugs.

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