What Bedbugs Look Like


If you have never seen one you may well be wondering what bed bugs look like.

Well, to start with and contrary to popular belief, bedbugs can be seen with the naked eye.

They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that swell when they feed on the blood of their hosts. They usually grow to about the size of an apple pip. They have six legs and two antennae that they use to help themselves navigate in the dark. Adults do have the vestiges of wings but evolution has deprived them of flight and these wing pads never develop into fully functional wings. 

At around half-a-centimetre in length, a fully grown adult can be easily spotted but bedbugs are often confused with other small household bugs that are not bloodsucking parasites. Knowing exactly what bed bugs look like gives us a far better understanding of these diminutive pests. 

What bedbugs look like depends firstly on their age. The colour of a bedbug, for example, changes during its lifecycle. Bed bug eggs are a light cream colour and hatchlings are small and translucent, typically no bigger than the head of a pin. This makes them almost invisible to the naked eye. Their colour changes as they grow and start feeding. After a meal, their abdomens become somewhat reddish before turning brown and getting darker and darker as the digestion process kicks in, eventually going black. As they mature, bedbugs grow in size and start to turn a rusty reddish-brown colour that they then retain throughout the rest of their lifecycle.

Due their small size, their reclusive behaviour and their nocturnal feeding habits, it is unlikely that you will see a bedbug even if you have an unpleasant infestation of them. It is far easier to identify the physical signs that they leave behind than the insects themselves. Telltale signs include small dark stains on your sheets for example. These stains are typically from bedbug faeces. 

Despite their name, bedbugs can actually live pretty much anywhere in your household, though you are more likely to find them hiding in the cracks and crevices of your soft furnishings, particularly those in the bedroom and especially the bed itself. As mentioned, they are nocturnal insects so they like to hide out in small dark places during the day. If you are trying to look for them, or for evidence that they have been there perhaps, check along the seams of your mattress, headboard and footboard. Check behind tags and labels on the mattress and check joints and cracks on the bedframe itself. Don’t forget to also check furniture near to the bed such as your bedside tables for example.

You might never have an unpleasant encounter with one but at least now you know what bedbugs look like, you can act quickly and have a bed bug treatment if you do spot one crawling across your bedsheets before their numbers start spiralling!


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