Knowing what bed bugs look like is the first step in identifying and controlling them. There are a variety of bugs that look similar to bed bugs (cockroaches, carpet beetles, etc.), so knowing how to differentiate them is important.
Adult bed bugs, in general, are:
- About the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 – 1/4 inch long).
- Long and brown, with a flat, oval-shaped body (if not fed recently).
- Balloon-like, reddish-brown, and more elongated (if fed recently).
- A “true bug” (characteristics of true bugs include a beak with three .segments; antenna that have four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs).
- Smelly, with a “musty-sweetish” odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body.
Nymphs (young bed bugs), in general, are:
- Smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow in color.
- If not recently fed, can be nearly invisible to the naked eye because of coloring and size.
Bed bug eggs, in general, are:
- Tiny, the size of a pinhead.
- Pearl-white in color.
- Marked by an eye spot if more than five days old.
Sources & additional references:
- Bed Bugs Appearance and Life Cycle
- Identifying bed bugs
- What Bed Bugs Look Like and Helpful Advice
- What Do Bedbug Bites Look Like?
- What Do Bed Bugs Look Like? Can You See Them?
- Bed Bugs Entomology
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