What do bed bug look like? All about their appearance


Are bed bugs pests of the past? No longer. They are coming back. People think this insects exist only in dirty living conditions, but bed bugs can also live in neat, well-maintained households. Learn more about the habits and features of a typical bed bug, Cimex lectularius, so you will be able to recognize this nasty pest. Let’s learn what do bed bug look like!

What do bed bug look like?

What do bed bug look like? The anatomy

Bed bug anatomy

Bed bugs are also known as bed lice, mahogany flats, redcoats, and wall lice. Bed bugs, are reddish-brown, ovoid insects with no wings. Because they’ve got a flat shape, they have the advantage of hiding in crevices.

What do bed bug look like? The shape of a bed bug’s body resemble a lentil or apple seed. Newborn bugs are as tiny as poppy seeds, while grown-up insects may reach 5 mm in length. Lots of people mistakenly suppose is that bed bugs can’t be seen by the naked eye. While the baby nymphs can be really hard to see, the older bugs are big enough to see them clearly. Bed bugs’ color varies from half-transparent white when newly hatched to dark brown or brownish-orange as grown-ups. Newly-hatched nymphs have no color; with every molt, the young bug becomes darker. Bed bugs redden at once after drinking their victim’s blood. As the majority of insects, bed bugs have got six legs, a head, a thorax and a stomach.

What do bed bug look like?

Bed bug

The grown-up bed bug is oval, flat and approximately a 1/4-inch long. They are wingless, so you won’t observe them flying in your room. Bed bugs penetrate the skin of their victim with a proboscis. Mature bugs are brown, but seem reddish when filled with blood.

Nymphs look like tinier versions of their parents. Their eggs are white and have less than one millimeter in length. They can be laid one by one or in groups of 50 eggs or less.
Although you will not often notice bed bug activity during the day, you can see other different signs of their presence. As nymphs molt, they shed their skin, which accumulates as the infestation grows. Bed bug feces look like dark spots, and crushed insects leave red marks on sheets.

Classification of bed bugs

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hemiptera
  • Family: Cimicidae
  • Genus: Cimex
  • Species: lectularius

What do bed bugs eat?

Bed bugs drink blood of mammals. They generally feed during nighttime, often on sleeping people who don’t notice insects biting them.

The life cycle of bed bugs

What do bed bug look like on the different stages of their life?

Bed bug life cycle

Several bed bugs can quickly become a huge infestation. One female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs in her life, and three generations can change every year.

Think how many bed bugs you’d get in a year if only one reproductive couple crawls into your home. Like with any pest, understanding its life cycle can help you get rid of them.

Egg: The female bed bug lays her eggs, typically in groups of less than 50. She uses a sticky substance to make her eggs to make her eggs adhere to surfaces. Eggs hatch when they’re one to two weeks old.

Nymph: The nymph has to drink blood before molting. It molts 5 times to become adult. In warmer climates, the nymph phase may last only three weeks; in colder temperatures, nymphs may grow in many months.
Bug: Mature bugs live approximately 10 months, but some of them may live much longer.

Bed bug bites

What do bed bug look like when feeding?

Bed bug drinking blood

Bed bugs find their warm-blooded victims by sensing carbon dioxide which they exhale. The hungry insects can also detect heat and moisture from potential hosts’ bodies. When the bed bug penetrates the skin of a human or animal, it injects special liquid to prevent clotting of the blood. This liquid can lead to an itchy, allergic reaction on the host’s skin. Bed bugs often make lines of several bite marks on their hosts.

Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs usually live in the folds, cracks, crevices, and seams of mattresses and upholstered furniture.

What do bed bug look like? An infestation

Bed bugs infestation

They need humans or animals (including pets) for their blood, so the right host must be available as a regular food source. Once bed bugs find it, they move in forever.

Cimex lectularius lives in moderate climates, mainly in the northern areas. Bed bugs infestations are growing in North America, Europe, and Central Asia.



What do bed bug look like? Lots of bugs

Many bed bugs

What do bed bug look like? Adults and nymphs

Bed bugs – adults and nymphs

What do bed bug look like from different views?

Bed bugs from different views

What do bed bug look like when they are fed?

Fed mature bed bugs

What do bed bug look like on different life stages?

Different life stages of bed bugs

What do bed bug look like on furniture?

Bed bugs on furniture



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