What Do Bedbugs Look Like

The following Bed Bugs pictures can help identify bugs in your home or apartment as well as any bites or symptoms on your body. Bed bugs at all stages can be seen with the naked eye. When they hatch the insects are small, so a magnifying glass and flashlight can aid in the inspection process.

Bedbugs Slideshow: An Informative Look at Bedbugs

As if you needed something else to worry about, bedbugs, those pests from the old bedtime rhyme are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they’re showing up to suck blood from people in hotels, college dorms, and hospitals. Take an informative look at bedbugs: what they are, where they lurk, and how to spot them before they get you.

Know the Enemy

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Bedbugs are small, flat, wingless insects with six legs that, like mosquitoes, feed on blood from animals or people. They range in color from almost white to brown, but they turn rusty red after feeding. The common bedbug doesn’t grow much longer than 0.2 inches (0.5 centimeters) and can be seen by the naked eye to the astute observer. Bedbugs get their name because they like to hide in bedding and mattresses.

Am I at Risk for Infestation?

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Bedbugs are most often found in hotels, hostels, shelters, and apartment complexes where lots of people come and go. Because bedbugs hide in small crevices, they can hitch a ride into your home on luggage, pets, furniture, clothing, boxes, and other objects. Bedbugs are found worldwide, but are most common in developing countries. Once rare in North America, they may be on the rise due, in part, to increases in international travel.

Feeding Habits

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These nocturnal creatures can hide in beds, floors, furniture, wood, and paper trash during the day. We humans usually become their dinner during the night, with peak biting activity just before dawn.They can obtain their meal in as little as three minutes, after which they are engorged and drop off the host, then crawl into a hiding place to digest their meal. Bedbugs can live for 10 months, and can go weeks without feeding.

Signs and Symptoms of Bedbug Bites

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Amazingly, these sneaky little bloodsuckers dine on you without waking you. You don’t feel their stealthy bite because they inject a numbing agent into your body, along with an anticoagulant to keep your blood flowing as they suck. The first sign of bedbugs may be itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites.

Treating Bites

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Bedbug bites do not usually require treatment. If a secondary infection occurs (usually from scratching), apply a local antiseptic lotion or antibiotic cream or ointment. Creams with corticosteroids and oral antihistamines are used for the primary, unbearable symptom of itch. In these more severe cases, you may need to see your doctor.

Do Bedbugs Transmit Diseases?

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Bedbugs are more of a nuisance than a health hazard. In a recent study, researchers reviewed 53 recent studies on bedbugs and their health and medical effects. The results showed that although bedbugs have been blamed for the spread of up to 40 different human diseases, there is little evidence to suggest they are carriers of human disease.

Bedbug or Imposter?

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Don’t assume your bites are bedbugs. Bites can be hard to identify, even for doctors. Rule out mosquitoes, fleas, mites, and biting gnats by conducting a visual inspection. It’s best to collect and identify bedbugs to confirm bites. Look for the bugs themselves or their bloodstains, especially along the seams of mattresses. Further, look for dark spots of insect waste where bedbugs might crawl into hiding places on furniture, walls, and floors.

Bite Back Against Bedbugs

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Professional exterminators should get involved right off the bat—tell your landlord, super, hospital administrator, hotel owner, or you call a professional right up front. The exterminator will locate the bed bugs (which may be found in more than one location) and exterminate as needed. YOU will have to do a lot of laundry.

Show Sources

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

(1) Getty Images
(2) Nigel Cattlin / Visuals Unlimited
(3) Brand X Pictures
(4) Mark Andersen
(5) © Pulse Picture Library/CMP Images / Phototake — All rights reserved.
(6) Dr. Kenneth Greer / Visuals Unlimited
(7) Darlyne A. Murawski / National Geographic
(8) Courtesy of Orkin, Inc.
(9) Thinkstock

New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene.
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Lancaster County.
Washington Post.

Bed Bugs Pictures

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How big are bed bugs?

Bed bug size changes at each life stage as shown below. A bed bug egg is 1/32″ long. Adult bed bugs size that has not fed will be about 3/16″. After feeding the body swells and grows in length to about 1/5″ to 1/4″.

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Bed Bugs Actual Size at Each Life Stage
Bed Bug Pictures, Actual Size Compared to a Penny

Overview: What bed Bugs look like to the Naked eye

The following Bed Bugs pictures can help identify bugs in your home or apartment as well as any bites or symptoms on your body. Bed bugs at all stages can be seen with the naked eye. When they hatch the insects are small, so a magnifying glass and flashlight can aid in the inspection process.

Bed bugs have a flat, oval-round body shape and have 6 legs.

Bed Bug on Person’s Thumb

When looking for bed bugs in the home, first realize that they follow a lifecycle. The insects start as an egg, move through infancy (called being an Instar or nymph), followed by adulthood (see life cycle chart below and National Geographic video).

Pictures of Baby Bed Bugs

In terms of skin reactions, it varies by person. Some people are not allergic to bed bug bites and will show no skin reaction. Others are highly allergic and will experience red skin bumps, irritation, and rash. Severe cases result in rashes. See pictures below for examples.

Bed bugs live for approximately 10 months and move through a life cycle from egg to adult. Infestations usually start with a female bed bug who would bite the host for blood upon arrival in the bed, and then for another “meal 2 weeks later.

At that point, she would lay eggs in the home at a rate of 3 per day. It takes 2 weeks for an egg to hatch. The just born nymph looks for food right away and becomes an adult bed bug in 4 months. The speed of reproduction and total life span is affected by room temperature and what is described assumes a room at 68F (20C).

The adult bed bug lives for approximately 10-months, but can live without feeding up to a year if you decide to move to another room. A typical infestation has between 4 and 500 bed bugs.

Female (left) and Male (right) Adult Bed Bugs. Males are oval shaped. Females have a more pronounced oval shape. After a blood meal appearance differences disappear.

Physical Appearance for Identification

Bed Bugs Lifecycle

Types of Bed Bugs Pictures

Bed Bug Lifecycle. Note how each bed bugs image changes as they move from stage to stage.

Bed bugs move through 5 developmental stages before they become an adult. They must eat a blood meal before they move from stage to stage. The insects shed their exoskeleton between each stage. It takes 37 days for a bed bug to move from egg to adult in ideal temperatures which is greater than 72 degrees Fahrenheit.. An adult will live for about 1 year and for only 70 days if living without food. They can live longer in colder temperatures without a meal.

Bed bugs images at each lifestage. To lay eggs and grow, bedbugs need a blood meal. They hatch in 10 days and become adults in 2 to 4 months. (Texas A&M)

How do you get rid of bed bugs?

There are two ways to get rid of bed bugs, do it yourself, or our recommended method, which is to call an exterminator.

Why an exterminator? Bed bugs are the hardest insect to eliminate, even for a pro. They require up to 3 treatments to eliminate an infestation. A good place to start is with a call to a national network such as Home Advisor that can certify the skills of a local exterminator (or call 866-214-8380).

If you are going to “do it yourself”, the best way to remove an infestation is to buy a kit which contains a collection of products and zippered covers needed to

  1. kill the bugs that you can see
  2. kill the bugs you can’t
  3. protect against eggs you miss.

Good reasonably prices choices and kits are offered by Bed Bug Supply. More than one type of spray is needed to kill bedbugs, which is why a kit is essential.

If your mattress is over eight years old and showing signs of wear you may consider replacing it. See our guide for detailed instructions on pest control for eliminating bed bugs.

Bedbug Video

National Geographic Bed Bugs Video

An army of bed bugs can attack a person 500 times in one night! See these insects in action.

Adult bed Bugs Pictures

As this picture of a bed bug shows, adult bed bugs are approximately 1/4 inch to 3/8 inches long. After feeding on blood, the bug becomes a color that is a dull dark red. When the bugs are just born they have no color or look like a straw color.

Magnified View of Bed Bug

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed bug photo – Flat view

The Flat Profile Enables Bedbugs to Hide in Narrow Cracks

Side View

Bed Bug Side View
University of Florida

Picture of Bed Bug on Skin

A bed bug only feeds on the skin for up to 10 minutes. One bug may make multiple bites. Each bed bug will feed every few days and then move back to their hiding place until they need to feed again as this picture of bed bugs shows.

Bed Bugs Images – Engorged and not Engorged

In this picture, the bed bug on the left hasn’t fed on a host yet. The bedbug on the right is engorged with blood.

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Engorged with Blood After Feeding on Host (left-A) and Not Engorged (Right-B) Bed Bugs Pictures

bed bugs furniture photos

Bed bugs tend to hide near the bed, with 80% – 85% of any infestation found near the mattress. However, they can also hide in nearby furniture, particularly if they were dropped in the area.

Couch

Bed Bugs on Surface of Couch
University of Kentucky

Furniture Fabric

Bed Bugs Picture Showing Eggs, and Insects Hidden on Couch

Chair

Bed Bugs on Chair Fabric

Bed bugs mattress pictures

Bed bugs usually climb up bed legs or a headboard. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans when breathing. Hiding spaces such as mattress seams are convenient ways to stay close to a human source for their next blood meal.

Pictures of Bed Bugs On Mattress (Actual Size)
Picture of Bed Bug Fecal Smears and Blood Stains on Mattress

Pics of bed bugs molted skins on the mattress surface. One way to confirm an active bed bug infestation is to identify actual bed bugs on a mattress

Picture of Bed Bug eggs on furniture including adult bed bugs and just born bedbug (nymph). Each bed bug (females) will lay approximately 3 to 8 eggs and up to 500 eggs over their 10-month life. Each egg is 1/25 inch and is curved. The bed bug will lay eggs in a sticky cluster. A bug will feed 24 hours after being hatched. Eggs will hatch between 4 and 12 days.

Bed Bug Hatching from Egg (UNL)

Egg Shells

Bed Bug Eggs and Shells

Bed Bug Bite Pictures

This Picture of Bed Bug Bites Results in a Skin Rash 30 Mintutes After Bite. Skin Reactions Can Appear Up to 24 Hours After Being Bitten Usually Lasts for 1 to 2 Days.

While bed bugs will bite anyone, they only leave red, irritated skin reactions on people that are allergic to the bites. This is why two people sleeping in the same bed can experience no symptoms, or only one of the two people will see symptoms.

Picture of Bed Bug Bite

Not sure if you have a bed bug problem?

Not sure you have a bed bug infestation? Trouble evaluating your problem based on these bed bugs pictures. One good way to evaluate a bed bug is to complete this form and send to the Cornell Diagnostic Lab, with a sample bug for evaluation. See this page for more bed bug photos or here for more bed bug pictures.

Remember that each bed bugs picture will be different from being a baby bed bug or nymph through adulthood.

Call a bed bug exterminator

Bed bugs are difficult to exterminate. It’s preferable to call in an expert who can confirm the presence of bed bugs, knows how to conduct a proper inspection, and who uses specialized equipment to treat the problem. The bugs multiply quickly so be sure to act as soon as you think you have a problem.

Start by either getting a free quote from a reputable company like Home Advisor (call 877-673-2704 or check our list for a local bed bug exterminator near you. Only use companies and representatives of those companies that have specific expertise in treating bed bugs.

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What Other Visitors Have Said About Bed Bugs

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Eliminating Bed Bugs Yourself
Reader Question: I am on disability with VERY limited resources. Is it possible for me to eliminate a bed bug problem myself?

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I received a brand new Sunbeam electric blanket for Christmas. When I laid it on my bed I found a dead adult bed bug in the center of it. I immediately …

Bed bugs can and DO cause mental stress as well as physical!
I’ve been living in an “extended living” building for two and a half years now. Bed bugs have been a part of our lives the whole time. I suffer from …

Do I have bed bugs?
Well a few days ago I had these strange red marks on my arm. Just this morning I had a couple more bumps. I’ve checked the bed, but I haven’t found anything. even …

Heat Kills Bed Bugs!
I’m a US service member stationed in Germany. I’ve lived here several years without problems. My wife and two children started getting bites all over, …

Bed Bugs are without any doubt the worst kind of home invasion that.
Bed Bugs are without any doubt the worst kind of home invasion that is possible. I woke up last Sunday thinking I had hives from strawberries, then I remembered …

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When my husband and I first moved into our appartment we were sleeping on two twins beds. Now I am 4’10” and my husband is 6’2″. And this bed was not working …

Bedbugs Have Taken Over! Please HELP. Not rated yet
OMG! I have bedbugs now it’s terrible. I have a low-income and am struggling. I have destroyed my bed and I have bombed and sprayed these little suckers. …

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I stayed at a hotel last night. the banff trail hotel, cheap place but I woke to a feeling on my feet. Here I had a bite on each foot and on my wrist. …

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I GOT BITTEN ALL OVER BY BED BUGS WHILE STAYING @ BELMONT INN IN METROPOLIS, IL FOR WEDDING. I BROUGHT THEM HOME IN ALL MY LUGGAGE AND CLOTHING. I HAVE …

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I have had a previous infestation and i think they are back for more.. i found one today and it has some long hairs attached to the end of there blood …

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How Do they find a particular place on your body to feed on? Mine only got me behind my arms, nowhere else. Editor Response to Where Do Bed Bugs Bite …

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I live in Egypt and have resided in the same apartment for 35 years. We are used to mosquitoes and the dreaded cockroaches and have the flat professionally …

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I just traveled to Vietnam and I discovered I stayed in a hotel with bed bugs. I’ve had the worst itching and hurtful bites ever, I have them all over …

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These things were a living nightmare. This one was really big. Like a bedbug on steroids. No one believed me when I told them how big it was. This was …

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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