What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

What do bed bugs look like?

Identifying bed bugs may not be as easy as one might think. Bed bugs are such small insects that often get confused and mistaken for other insects. For example, you might think that bed bugs in your home, or found on your pet is a case of fleas, cockroach, ticks, or carpet beetles as many of these share the same appearance and behaviour of a bed bug. So, if you’re looking to understand how to recognise bed bugs, then you have come to the right place!

Are bed bugs visible to the naked eye?

Yes! Even though they are incredibly small, they can be seen with the naked eye in all their stages of development. Bed bug appearance may change depending on their stage of development. This is also another factor why they commonly mistaken for other insects. The three main stages of development are: 

  1. Bed Bug Eggs
  2. Young Bed Bugs (also known as ‘Nymphs’) 
  3. Adult Bed Bugs

Bed bug eggs

At around 1mm, bed bugs are incredible small- the size of poppy seed or just two grains of salt! Now, even though they can be seen by the naked eye, they are immensely hard to detect if you do not have a trained eye. But it is possible too visibly see if the eggs are at least five days old.

Bed bug eggs are also barrel-shaped. These eggs easily camouflage and strongly attach to strong, light-coloured fabrics which makes them extremely hard to see and dislodge out.

Bed bug eggs are also pearl-white in colour to camouflage in light coloured fabrics, they appear as white dots and hide in mattresses, furniture cushions and anywhere that is hidden away from human sight, but close to their host so that they are ready to feed once hatched in 6-10 days.

Young adult bed bugs (nymphs)

Nymphs will vary in size as they mature, so can be anywhere between 1.5mm to 5mm.

They are translucent in colour, with a slight tan or can be whitish/yellow. These young bed bugs also will change colour when they feed on blood, turning bright red. Young bed bugs will also get slightly bigger or elongate once fed too. This means that if they feed, they are more easily recognisable, as they are more colour-visible and bigger. But, because they are generally more translucent, incredibly small, and hidden they are prone to slipping away from human notice.

Adult bed bugs

Adult bed bugs can grow up to 5-7mm, where this can be the size of a sesame seed to an apple seed. Adult bed bugs are also commonly mistaken by cockroaches, with their appearance.

Adult bed bugs if they haven’t fed, are brown in colour, smaller, oval-shaped, and flat. If adult bed bugs have fed recently, they are brownish reddish, larger, and balloon shaped.

Adult bed bugs ae wingless insects, having 6 legs to crawl, 2 antennae, head, thorax, abdomen, and wing pads (not used for flying).

These insects also can be found in mattresses, box spring, bed frame, furniture, headboard, bedding, upholstery, clothing and in small, dark, hidden crevices in the home.

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