However because people haven't really come into contact with them, most people have no idea what to look for in a bed bug. If you are concerned about a bug that you found and wondering if you have a bed bug problem then now is the time to find out.
Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. They actually look a lot like an apple seed with most of them being a brownish color. Some are a bit lighter, but most adults carry a pretty dark color that only gets darker and redder after they feed. They are flatter than the apple seed that they look like and if you look very closely you will see ridges along their shell.
If the bug was interrupted after it had started a meal, but it hadn't had the chance to finish the meal then it will have a reddish brown looking center and may be paler around the edges.
If the bug hasn't had a meal yet at all then it will be lighter in color, but all adults will be tan to brown in color. Before a feeding they tend to be wider than they are long, but after a feeding they may very well be longer and skinnier in appearance.
The best way for you to compare your bug to pictures on the Internet or to get a really close look at it is to place the bug in a zipper seal bag and put it in the freezer for a short while. This will slow it down and make it very easy to look at.
Like many insects the bed bug has several stages before it gets to adult hood. You will find that there are smaller versions of the adults. These are nymphs. They have the same rounded, but flat shape just smaller. Often they are a very light color and can be described as being white, ivory, or golden in color. This does change to the reddish brown after a feeding. Nymphs can be the size of a pin head and because of this small size and this light color they are often very difficult to see.
Bed Bug Eggs.
Bed bugs often lay their eggs in the seams of the mattress and if you are trying to identify a bed bug this is often a great way to add up evidence against the bug at hand. You should take a magnifying glass and a flash light and look at the seams in your mattress. Bed bug eggs are about the size of the head of a pin. They are very white and just a bit oblong to look at. They are also "glued" to the mattress because they are moist and sticky when they are put there by the female.
It is important that you look at the location of the bug. Many bed bugs are found in or around the bed. They can be on the headboard, in the window frames (if they are near the bed), and around the base board.
Bed bugs are nasty little creatures. Here are the things to look for.
- Color. Adults will be a tan or brown color, except after a meal in which they will be reddish brown. Nymphs will be white, clear, gold, or darker. As they get larger they darken up and after a meal they will look reddish brown. Eggs are white in color.
- Size. Adults get to be about 1/4 of an inch. After a feeding they can as much as 30% larger. Nymphs will range in size from a pin head on up. Eggs are also about the size of a pinhead.
- Location. Often location has a lot to do with people who aren't specialists being able to diagnose bed bugs. Bed bugs are usually found on or around the bed.
Looking For Other Signs.
There are a huge number of signs of bed bugs. These can be used to help you identify if the bug you have is a bed bug. You will want to look for signs on your mattress. Many times there are "scraps" in the creases of the bed that are left behind from the bed bugs when they grow and shed their exoskeleton. There are also often black or brownish spots left in the creases and in some cases even along the mattress. These spots are from wastes of the bugs. A good look at your mattress is likely to show whether or not you have bed bugs. If you need more information on what to look for check out the article Bed Bugs: How To Know For Sure Whether or Not You Have Bed Bugs.
Hire a Professional.
While it is never fun to hire a professional, you may want to to make sure that you have bed bugs. There are several types of bugs that are "bed" bugs in relation. They tend to live on other animals and they will suck your blood if you are the only available source of food. While this doesn't happen often, but it can happen.
Bed bugs are appearing in more and more homes, hotels, and other locations across the world. With that more and more people find themselves wondering if they have bed bugs. The first step is to identify any bugs that are found and to look for any other signs. Bites can also go far in helping you identify your problem.
Image Credit: Image was provided by the CDC and is available through public domain on Wikipedia.