|Color||Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color. When they haven’t fed, they are more of a brown color. After feeding, they are more red in color.|
|Size||They range in size depending on their age, from 2.5 mm to 4.5 mm.|
|Appearance||With a flat, circular body, bed bugs are no bigger than the size of an apple seed. They tend to change in color and size after having a blood meal.|
Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed off of blood from their hosts. All species feed on blood, but different types prefer different types of blood. Human blood is of course preferable, but bed bugs will not be picky about their preferred host. Bed bugs can live for a year or longer without a blood meal.
As their name implies, bed bugs are frequently found in mattresses, on mattress tags, and even in headboards. Bed bugs gain access to people through used furniture and bedding, luggage or other objects that move from place to place, or through pipes shared by neighboring apartments or hotel rooms. They are also found in power outlets, wall voids, upholstered furniture, pet beds, baseboards, and more.
Bed bug eggs are minuscule—no larger than a couple of grains of salt—and white in color. Within her lifetime, a female bed bug could lay up to 500 eggs but typically only lays one to five eggs a day, usually in clusters.
After two weeks, the eggs will hatch. Nymph bed bugs appear to have a slightly yellow tint and are smaller than adults. They will go through five molts before reaching sexual maturity.
Adult carpet beetles remain in the last larval skin for a brief period before reaching full sexual maturity. Some species begin to mate within a day of completing the entire life cycle.
Bed bugs typically live from four to six months.
Signs of Infestation
Look for rusty or reddish stains, which result from bed bugs being crushed.
You may be able to spot bed bug eggs or eggshells, which are typically pale yellow in color.
Perhaps the most obvious sign of an infestation are bed bug bites, which appear in zigzag lines on parts of the body that are exposed during the nighttime.
Bed bug excrement will look like tiny dark spots no bigger than the size of a period.
Bed Bug Bites
At first glance, bed bug bites appear like any other bug bite, making it important to know how to tell the difference:
- If you notice bites appearing overnight, it could be bed bugs.
- Their bites will appear as reddish bumps that could cause itching, swelling, and mild rashes.
- Bites tend to appear in straight or zigzag lines on areas of the body that are exposed overnight, such as your arms and legs.
Prevention & Control
The best way to prevent bed bugs from infesting is to practice dedicated and good housekeeping including:
- Keep a clean, tidy home and launder your bed linens on a regular basis.
- Be cautious when traveling by inspecting your luggage for bed bugs.
- Inspect hotel rooms for bed bugs before making yourself at home.
- Be careful of bringing used furniture or other items in the home without an inspection.
Treating bed bugs is notoriously difficult. Bed bugs can survive both low and high temperatures, are known to hide in small spaces, and they can live almost anywhere their hosts (humans) live. Eliminating bed bugs can be complex, and also requires the use of high heat or chemicals.
If a bed bug infestation occurs, count on a professional pest management service to take care of the problem knowledgeably and successfully.