What Do Bed Bugs Look Like To The Human Eye

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like To The Human Eye?

If you want to exterminate bed bugs, you must know the answer to this question.  What do bed bugs look like to the human eye?

Bed bugs are tiny bugs, belonging to the Cimex family of insects.  They receive their name because they usually prefer to occupy the bed or the bedroom in a house and that is where they are predominantly found.

Bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat, oval-shaped insects that can crawl quite fast and hide in the tiniest of crevices.

By the time you come to the end of this article, you will have a fair idea of the appearance of bed bugs, and some of their traits.

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The Physical Appearance Of Bed Bugs

This is what you should notice when you are on the lookout for mature bed bugs.  The appearance of nymphs (baby bed bugs) would be slightly different.

  • In addition to their distinctive rust color, the 6 hairy legs of a bed bug are its characteristic feature.
  • Their eyes are small and protruding out of the head.
  • They also have 2 antennae right above their head.
  • They range from 5-10 mm in length.
  • Their bodies are also covered with scales that you will notice when you see them.
  • Bed bugs have a characteristic musty, sweet odor that they give off through sweat glands. The smell turns more pungent when the bed bug is in danger.

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What Do Baby Bed Bugs Look Like?

Baby bed bugs are also called nymphs.  Listed below are some of their characteristic features:

  • Nymphs may range from about 1.5 mm – 4.5 mm.
  • They are smaller than mature bed bugs.
  • They can be yellowish-white in color and are almost transparent.
  • Their epidermis is so thin that you can see through their skin once they have had their blood meal.
  • Each time a nymph feeds, he will shed his skin (epidermis) and a new, stronger more opaque covering covers his body.
  • A nymph must go through 5 feedings before he can finally attain full maturity.
  • If the conditions are right, a nymph will mutate from a baby to a full-grown bug in a mere 21 days.

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Difference Between A Male And Female Bed Bug

The male bed bugs are longer and have a more pointed end than their female counterparts.  This is because the sex glands are located at the rear end of the bed bug, giving it a more pointy appearance.

The female bed bugs on the other hand are more rounded and oval-shaped.  They are also broader than males.  This is because they need to carry the eggs.  A female bed bug can typically lay around 5 eggs per day and around 400 through her lifespan.

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Bugs That Look Similar To Bed Bugs

Here is a list of other bugs that might appear similar to bed bugs:

  • Baby Cockroaches:

Baby cockroaches lack wings.  That is the reason they can be easily confused with bed bugs.  Baby cockroaches are, however, darker.  They range from reddish-brown to dark brown or black.

  • Booklice:

These might also be mistaken for bed bugs.  Here too, the color is of importance.  Booklice are translucent white or grey in color.  They are mostly found in old books or moldy wallpaper.

  • Carpet Beetles:

Though they look like bed bugs, carpet beetles are longer and darker in color.  These insects are perfectly oval-shaped while bed bugs tend to be rounded ovals.

  • Bat Bugs:

Differentiating between a bat bug and a bed bug is not something everyone can manage.  The major difference between them is that bed bugs tend to have longer hair on their thorax.

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Final Thoughts

Bed bugs do have a characteristic appearance, but there are many bugs that also look similar to them.  One of the best ways to decide if what you are looking at is an actual bed bug is to take note of the place that you have spotted it in.  

Bed bugs typically like warm, dark places with plenty of exposure to a host. They are also attracted to carbon dioxide, so they are more likely to be found around the places humans inhabit the most.  Areas around the bed are good places to search for them.

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