What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? (20 Pictures)

What do bed bugs look like? The pictures compiled below should give you an exact idea of how bed bugs look like.

Let’s begin by going through some of the bed bug images I feel best portray the little nocturnal creatures.

By asking random people online to send me picture of the insects if they were struggling with infestations, I was also able to receive some great images.

Towards the end of this article, I will also list bugs that look like bed bugs but are not to help you avoid getting confused.

What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are tiny, flat, oval-shaped and slightly smelly insects about the size of apple seed or 5-7 mm. They are wingless and have relatively tough exoskeleton. The insects are fully develop and nymphs or baby bed bugs often resemble adult bugs. Their bodies redden or darken (brownish) after feeding on blood meal.

bed bug sucking blood from an arm
Bed bug on a person’s arm

Related: Why Do Bed Bugs Smell? (7 Reasons Explained)

And where do these bed bugs come from? We have some great explanations for you.

More questions about where bed bugs hide and how long they live at the bottom of the post.

Read: What Attracts Bed Bugs to Your Home

Bed Bug Pictures

Based on the pictures below, you will notice that mature bed bugs are dark brown and wingless. Their color depends on the amount of blood they have sucked.

A darker color indicates that the insect has had a fair share of human blood meal.

two mature bed bugs resting on a fabric

This image of a pair shows bed bugs looking like someone was toasting them. Do not be deceived about their appearance because these are mature ones.

Scroll down further to see young bed bugs immediately after hatching.

bed bugs hidden on a bed frame

The bed bug family you see here was pictured on a bed frame joint. The insects like to crowd in specific hidden corners of the bed or other pieces of furniture. They don’t hang around in the open like houseflies.

dead bed bugs after spraying with insecticides

By now, you might be scared. We have an army of bed bugs here. They are dead though. The guy who took the picture had just sprayed their hiding joint. One cannot find this many bed bugs in one spot.

Read: Can You Squish Bed Bugs?

a fully engorged bed bug after feeding

A small engorged bed bug resting on a toe. It is just one week old and well-fed. The insects do not require much blood to swell like this. However, when it is time for them to suck, they know how to exploit their victim.

After feeding, bed bugs become engorged and swollen.

What do Bed Bug bites look like?

an image of what bed bug bite looks like
An image of what a bed bug bite looks like

Bed bug bites will be visible as small, red, and itchy swellings with a dark center. The bite is usually marked with a swollen surrounding and is less than an inch across. The most common places bed bugs bite are exposed skin surfaces including the face, neck, arms, hands, and legs.

As if it would get any better, bed bug bites are even scarier. These bites are usually in the back, inner arm, calves, and the back of the neck. Those are usually the most vulnerable body spots.

Some researchers suggest that the reason the bugs bite those regions is because they are lie toward the mattress.

Others think that those areas of the body have thin skin surface making it easy for bed bug’s stylet fascicle to penetrate. The stylet fascicle is the straw-like tube at the mouth that bed bugs use for feeding.

bed bug bites looking like tiny swellings on the back of a person

The image above shows a female victim who has experienced some rough moments with bed bugs. The bites can get quite itchy for those who are allergic to bed bug saliva.

What do Bed bug eggs look like?

Bed bug eggs look like milky white grain about 1 millimeter long. Their size is close to that or a grain of salt, but are covered with a sticky substance for attachment on surfaces. The whitish eggs are tiny and difficult to see without magnification but they are usually visible to the naked eye.

Bed bug eggs are visible to the human eye. They are tiny but quite visible. Other people confuse the eggs with wood dust. But if you examine them carefully, they are closer to white rice grains than wood dust.

bed bug eggs an image of several eggs
An image of what bed bug eggs look like

All these are not some grains bed bugs feed on. The picture above is a true definition of procreating to survive. Bed bugs lay many eggs and their population can multiply in no time.

The infestation can get so big that within a short period that they become almost impossible to eradicate.

more images of transparent bed bug eggs
Transparent white dots that are bed bug eggs

These are just some more images of bed bug eggs. Like I said, if one of these is dropped into a bucket of rice, it would be just so indistinguishable.

several white bed bug eggs on a black fabric

This is how they look like on a fabric. The above picture was sent to my inbox from one guy who complained that he no longer enjoys sitting in his couch. He suspects that one of his visitors might have brought him some because in his bedroom, there were no bed bugs.

Baby bed bugs

young bed bug picture
An image of what baby bed bugs look like

Let’s move away from the bed bug eggs and switch to those that have hatched – the baby bed bugs.

The image above is that of young ones.

View pictures: Baby Bed Bugs

What do baby bed bugs look like?

Baby bed bugs, also called nymphs, are glassy in appearance about 2-4 millimeters long. These young bed bugs are entirely white or whitish-yellow. They are transparent until they start sucking blood and grow thicker shells. They have six legs, three body parts, and two antennae just like adult ones.

The video below shows what baby bed bugs look like.

Aren’t they cute at this stage? But wait until they smell carbon dioxide and human blood.

They are translucent and almost colorless, but look exactly like mature bugs.

Bed bug shells

an image of what young bed bug shells look like

Bed bugs shed their exoskeleton as they molt to the next stage. You will find these “leftovers” in cracks, under furniture, or anywhere they may be nesting.

Read also: What to do if you find bed bugs

Dead ones leave shells that look like the picture above. The shells easily live ones. Sometimes, people get scared when they see shells. However, shells can be a sign that many of them have died.

Bed bug feeding cycle

a photo of bed bug cycle

A transparent bed bug with no blood gradually fills up to become darker as it suck more.

Bed bug poop

an image of bed bug poop

Do bed bugs get messy? If you’ve been wondering then you now know that those little babies drop their waste everywhere without mercy. They can stain your mattress, bed sheets, duvet covers, pillows and all bedding.

Bed bug smell

When bed bug release their droppings, shells, and the chemicals they produce mix after heavy infestation, they create a strong unpleasant smell. The smell is often compared with coriander while others say it is like spoilt berries.

Read more: Bed bug Smell – How to Tell the Odor and How to Get rid of It

more bed bug poop on a mattress

After sucking blood, it is time to excrete. The image above shows bed bug poop on the edge of a mattress. The darks spots are the actual droppings.

They are usually mixed with live bed bugs and eggs. If you look closely, there are white eggs on the dark edge and young bed bugs around there too. The black spots are the actual poop.

bed bug poop stains

If you notice stains like these on pillows or bed sheet or duvet covers, you could be looking at clues about bed bug. The hints usually become visible when the infestation gets bigger. At this stage, it might be important to find a professional pest control service immediately.

Don’t bed bug poop stains look just so annoying? You might have gone to sleep a white spotless pillow but you wake up with something like this in the middle of the night. If you do not have any physical bruise or cut, then you can be certain it is feces dropped by bed bugs.

image of what adult bed bugs look like

An extremely up close image of bed bugs. If nothing about the insects has scared you so far, this image should. This image shows four large bed bugs.

I would not want to find bugs this size in my bed any time. Those little ‘vampires’ might turn your bedroom into a small hell.

what does a fed bed bug look like? This is its image

This engorged guy has probably fed for 15 minutes. Bed bugs feed for roughly 3-15 minutes. If you catch them in the middle of feeding, they will quickly vanish into their hiding places. Then they will come back again once you try to sleep. They just never stop until they are full.

Are bed bugs visible to the Human Eye?

Young bed bugs, adult bed bugs and even bed bug eggs are visible to the human eye. It is possible to identify them with their distinct features to ensure that you when you begin treating for pests, you’re sure about not mistaking any of them. Since bed bugs hide during the day, it may be difficult to spot them until night time.

How long does it take for bed bug eggs to hatch?

Bed bug eggs hatch after 6-10 days. After mating, the eggs, mostly found laid in cracks and crevices, hatch in less than two weeks. Did you know that an individual bed bug lays about 200-250 eggs during its entire lifetime?

an illustration of life cycle of bed bugs

Just before proceeding to the next images, the picture above illustrates the life cycle of bed bugs from eggs to hatching all the way to adult ones.

Related: Why Bed Bugs are Only Biting You

Where do Bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs could come from wild animals, newly adopted pets, infested hotel rooms, used furniture, used bedding, and in public transport such as buses. A colleague in the workplace could also spread bed bugs. Other sources of bed bugs include guest recently hosted at your house, a neighboring apartment, and intentional infestation.

Read more; Where Do Bed Bugs Come From (9 Possible Places)

Where do bed bugs hide?

Assuming that you’re already unlucky and is currently dealing with bedbugs, here are the 15 places to look for if you suspect your bedroom has bed bugs.

  1. Corners of blanket
  2. Storage bin placed beneath the bed.
  3. Box springs
  4. Mattresses and box springs
  5. Crack and crevices in bed frames (hot spots)
  6. Headboard and footboard
  7. Pillow cases
  8. Comforters
  9. Bedroom rugs and carpet
  10. Couches and all upholstered furniture
  11. Luggage
  12. Wall décor  (a loose wallpaper and other hangings)
  13. Night stands
  14. Bedroom electronics such as alarm clocks or gaming consoles
  15. Drawer joints

How long do bed bugs live?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates that bed bugs live for 6-12 months or even longer if not terminated during pest management.

It is important to give you a clue how long you might have to put up with bed bugs if you decide to not consult pest management experts.

Read also: Are Bed Bugs Demonic?

To grow from one stage to another, a bed bug would need at least a single blood meal. During the six stages of growth, it will need a minimum of six feeding sessions.

Each female bed bug lays 1-3 eggs per day.

Since they are active at temperature range of 7°C (46°F) – 45°C (113°F), applying extreme temperatures may contain some of them temporarily.

Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs?

1. Baby Cockroaches

baby cockroach

Because of their similar colour, baby cockroaches (cockroach nymphs) are frequently confused with bed bugs.

German cockroaches, American cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches are among the young kinds of the most common cockroaches. Cockroaches have long bristly legs, a flattened oval shape, and lengthy antennae.

Colors range from reddish-brown to dark brown, and from tan to black, according on the species. Because they’re nymphs, they haven’t developed their cockroach wings, which causes them to be mistaken for bed bugs.

Cockroach nymphs can be found in the following places: Cockroaches flourish in damp environments such as kitchens and storage facilities. Restaurants, grocery stores, commercial kitchens, sewers, and steam tunnels are all excellent breeding sites. Cockroaches might even be hidden in your crawl area, bathroom, or basement.

The presence of cockroach nymphs in your home could indicate an infestation.

Health concerns: Cockroaches can transfer infections like salmonella and gastroenteritis to people because bacteria adheres to their bodies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people allergic to cockroaches may develop asthma episodes.

2. Baby Boxelder Bug

baby boxelder bug

Boxelder bugs are named after the fact that they are frequently seen on and around boxelder trees.

This species is native to the western states, although it can be found in the eastern United States, as well as west to eastern Nevada, where boxelder trees grow in large numbers.

Boxelder bugs are mostly a nuisance pest because they overwinter in structures such as homes and sheds.

3. Booklice

booklice

Booklice, which come in a variety of colors ranging from translucent white to gray or brown, are readily confused with adult and infant bed bugs.

Where booklice hide: Booklice eat the moldy paste of old book bindings and wallpaper as a food. If you find booklice in your pantry, it’s a warning that mold is forming on your food.

These pests are a nuisance, but they do not represent a health danger. The damage they cause is usually small.

Booklice, also known as psocids, are not actually lice. Despite their resemblance to lice, these tiny insects feed on mold and fungi rather than blood.

4. Carpet Beetles

carpet beetle

Adult carpet beetles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and sometimes resemble bed bugs. Carpet beetles come in a variety of colors and patterns, including black, common, furniture, and diverse carpet bugs.

These tiny parasites devour animal-derived materials such as furs, wools, feathers, and leather. Despite their name, they aren’t fond of devouring today’s carpet’s synthetic components.

Carpet beetles can be found in the following places: Carpet beetles are most commonly found at the borders of rugs and carpets, beneath upholstered furniture, and beneath baseboards.

Carpet beetle larvae do not represent a health concern to humans, but they can cause severe damage to your carpet or favorite wool sweater. Rather than multiple scattered holes, the damage usually appears as a single destroyed patch. Molted shells are also left behind by carpet beetles.

5. Swallow Bugs

swallow bug

Swallow bugs and bed bugs have very similar physical characteristics, but the swallow bug is recognized by its antenna. It also has a grayish-brown tint instead of the reddish-brown color of a human bed bug.

These critters are typically found in barn and cliff swallow nests, so you’re unlikely to come across them. However, they can easily infiltrate human structures and bite individuals in some circumstances.

Swallow bugs are known to breed during the summer and early fall, when the birds have flown away.

Their bites can produce modest to severe reactions in humans, which distinguishes them. These bugs also have the unique ability to go three years without eating.

6. Spider Beetles

Spider beetles also look like bed bugs that have recently consumed blood.

A spider beetle is a type of beetle that lives in the ground. Because of their lengthy legs and big, rounded abdomens, they resemble miniature spiders. The American spider beetle has pale yellow legs, head, thorax, and antennae, as well as a reddish-brown to black, lustrous, globe-shaped abdomen.

Spider beetles can be found in the following places: Spider beetles forage on bird, rodent, and bat droppings in grain mills, pantries, warehouses, and attics.

These bugs can bite and infest your food, posing a health risk.

7. Bat Bugs 

bat bug looks quite similar to bed bug

Bat bugs have an oval body with a short, broad head linked to the prothorax, similar to bed bugs. The key distinction between these two apes is that bat bugs have longer (and more) hairs on their thorax than apes.

Bat bugs feed on bat blood and will only attack people if their bat host isn’t accessible. 

Bat bugs mainly begin in roosting bat colonies, which are most commonly found in attics, somewhere on the walls or in cold chimneys.

Although bat bugs never really transmit diseases to humans, their presence in some persons can cause anxiety and insomnia.

8. Ticks 

image of a tick

Ticks, just like their fellow bed bugs, are blood-sucking parasites that can look similar until you look closely. What’s the key distinction? The number of legs they have. Ticks, which are arachnids, have eight legs, while bed bugs, which are insects, have six.

Humans, pets, livestock, and wild animals are all susceptible to tick bites. Ticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of physical characteristics. When unfed, most ticks are small, dark in color, and flat.

Ticks hide in the following places: Ticks are usually found adhering to their hosts or in moist, gloomy locations with thick grass or overgrown vegetation.

After being brought inside, a tick may occasionally be discovered. Indoor tick infestations are uncommon, but they can happen if a female tick lays her eggs in your home.

Main risks:  Ticks can transmit a variety of infections to humans, pets, and other animals, including Lyme disease. Many of these disorders can become life-threatening if left untreated. It’s critical to understand how to identify a tick and how to remove one.

9. Fleas

Another insect that could be bed bug imposter is fleas. Due to their small bodies, spiny legs, and their bristles point backwards, fleas can move fast through fur, woven materials, and hair.

Their rear legs enable them to jump really well. Cats, dogs, mice, birds, people, and a variety of other warm-blooded animals are all prey for these blood-suckers.

Fleas can be found in the following places: Fleas love dogs and cats, and pets are the most common method fleas enter households. Flea larvae can be found in floor cracks, carpets, mattresses, and pet beds. Fleas like areas where they can feed on food, animal excrement, and adult flea feces in particular.

Fleas are capable of transmitting diseases (such as typhus and plague) to humans, despite their rarity. The saliva of a flea can cause serious allergic responses in some people and dogs. Anemia may develop in your pet as a result of blood loss.

10. Head Lice

Is it a bed bug or lice infestation? These two pests are frequently confused with one another.

Because lice are host specific, they can’t spread from infested dogs to you, and you can’t pass the parasite on to your dog.

Only people are affected by head lice, which are usually gray but can take on the color of their hosts’ hair. The female is around 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and has a flat form, whilst the male is slightly smaller. Head lice are unable to jump or fly.

If you don’t get treated for head lice, the lice will keep feeding on your blood and may excrete dark crimson excrement on your scalp.

Head lice hide in the following places: The bottom back of the head and behind the ears are the most common places for head lice to congregate.

Head lice can cause extreme irritation in the scalp and a lack of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scratching too much can increase your chances of getting a secondary skin infection. Knowing how to remove lice in a safe and effective manner can help you manage these dangers.

11. Stink Bugs

Because it was imported to the United States from Eastern Asia in the 1990s, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is classified an invasive species. It does not have its origin in the United States.

The bug was initially discovered in the United States in the fall of 1996 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but it wasn’t recognized or named until September 2001.

By 2004, it had successfully moved east to New Jersey, and other states including Virginia, and now south to the North Carolina border. Brown marmorated stink bugs are currently most common in the mid-Atlanta area, but they have been found in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

The stink insect got its name from its proclivity for emitting an odor when disturbed or squashed.

These features are shared by a variety of insects, including ants, beetles, and other bugs.

Continue reading to learn how to get rid of stink bugs and stink bug eggs.

12. Mites

For some people, mites and bed bugs can appear to be the same thing.

Thousands of different mite species exist, many of which dwell on mammals. Mites are extremely small and can be seen with the naked eye in many cases. They have eight legs, are 2 mm long (or less), and have little to no segmentation.

Mites can be found in the following places: Mites live in a free-range environment.

Others eat insects and other mites, while others eat decaying organic materials. Some mite species, especially in domestic animals, live in the ear canals, lungs, intestine, and bladder of their hosts.

Health hazard: Some mites, according to the World Health Organization, are vectors of rickettsial and viral infections, including typhus fever. Scabies is a contagious, extremely irritating skin disorder caused by microscopic mites burrowing into the skin.

Conclusion

With all those many remarks, I hope you are now familiar with what bed bugs look like.

  • Leave a Comment