What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are small insects without wings. They are very flat and have round bodies divided into three segments. The first, at the top, is the head. Right behind that is a small segment known as the pronotum. The largest part of the bed bug’s body is the abdomen, which is wide and round. A bed bug has six legs total, plus two antenna at the top of their head.
Bed bugs are very small, which works to their advantage as it allows them to easily hide when they are between feedings. Their flat bodies allow them to wriggle into tiny cracks and the folds of a mattress. They are between 4 – 5 mm in length, as adults. The nymphs are even smaller, making them nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.
Bed bugs as nymphs, are usually white or tan in color. The full grown adults are a reddish-brown. When they have had a full blood meal, they appear bloated and red, just like mosquitoes and ticks often do after they have fed.
What are the signs of bed bugs?
Often, you will not know that you have a bed bug infestation until they start to bite and feed upon you. Bed bugs require a blood meal, in order to lay eggs and reproduce. However, you might see a few other signs before you see the bites, including:
- Excrement – bed bugs, upon completing their feeding, will excrete waste. These will appear as small brown spots on bed sheets, mattresses and other areas.
- Shed skins – during the growth process, bed bugs shed their skins several times. This shed skins appear as nearly translucent shells left behind in a clutter.
- Blood spots – once the bed bugs start to feed, they will inject an anticoagulant into you which allows you to bleed freely so they can feed. The tiny bites may bleed for a bit after they have finished feeding, leaving spots of blood on your bed clothes. Bed bugs which end up crushed due to the movement of the person being fed upon can also leave blood stains.
What do bed bug bites look like?
The reactions people have to bed bug bites can vary. For some, the bites appear flat and more like a red rash than an actual bite. However, some people may have a more severe reaction to the bites and they will appear as red welts on the skin and greatly resemble mosquito bites.
Bed bugs tend to feed in the same areas and may feed multiple times in one night. What this leads to is a cluster of bites on arms, legs, neck, and the torso.
Bed bugs bites may itch for some people. The swelling and itching is a reaction to the anticoagulant and anesthetic the bed bug injects into the body through its saliva when feeding. A human body reacts to the sudden influx of a foreign substance by releasing histamines to fight them and this can create bumps and itchiness.