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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like To The Human Eye

What do bed bugs look like: History shows that colonists may have brought these pesky creatures, called bed bugs, on ships to America as early as the 17th century. Records also suggest that bed bugs were found in the caves where our prehistoric ancestors lived, and they fed on their blood. Bed bugs appear to be tiny, wingless organisms that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, and they prefer humans as their main host.

People who haven’t seen bed bugs may not know that these are generally nocturnal insects and do not go out of their hiding places during the day. They love to hide in moist and dark places away from humans. These areas consist of dark holes and crevices, inside the mattresses, our beds, behind wall switches, inside our lamps, or cabinets. Any dark and quiet place they can hide is a perfect breeding place for these bugs.

Whenever they attack, bed bugs would inject an anaesthetic substance while they extract blood from unsuspecting prey so one might detect bites immediately. You might ask, what do bed bugs look like to the human eye since they seem hard to find? Many believe that they are probably invisible to the naked eyes. The truth is, although tiny, these bed bugs are big enough to be detected and seen by the human eye. Take note though that bed bugs can appear differently from depending on the stage in their life cycle (age).

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What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Adult bed bugs are typically the same size, colour, and looks almost like an apple seed. They are, therefore, visible to the human eye. Upon closer inspection, they appear to be visually complex. The bodies of these bugs are very flat, about as thick as cardboard, which enables them to squeeze into tiny crevices and cracks in furniture, mattresses, baseboards, walls, and floorboards. They can even crawl behind loose wallpaper in your room.

These bugs are nocturnal and are often out at night when it is dark. Night time is when they are active with little chance of being seen. They feed on the blood of unsuspecting hosts, mostly cats, dogs and humans. Bed bugs can sense movement, and they like to feed on animals that are still and not moving around. This is another reason why bed bugs feed during night time when humans and other prey are fast asleep.

Bed bugs are seldom active during the day. During the day or while digesting their meal, these bloodsucking pests spend time hiding away from view. So, what do bed bugs look like to the human eye? Bed bugs can appear as:


Adult Bed Bugs

The typical bed bug appears like a tiny cockroach. As mentioned above, it is about the size of an apple seed or approximately 5mm in size. Bed bugs have a reddish brown colour, oval-shape, with a flat body. They are wingless, have two antennae, and six legs. A bed bug’s leg is around one half of their entire body length.

Adult bed bugs and nymph’s bodies tend to bulge, much like mosquitoes after they have had their fill. Their bodies, once engorged, can expand up to two times their actual size after they have fed. They need blood to survive and moult.


Bed Bug Nymphs

Nymphs are the small baby bed bugs. They appear translucent brown or tan, in colour, and as they mature they turn an opaque hue after they moult.

They would often moult (shed skin) five times before they become adult bugs. The nymphs are not longer than the size of a sesame seed. When they feed, bed bug nymphs will turn bright red as evidence of the digested blood from their prey. But, their sheer size is the main reason why a bed bug infestation can remain unspotted for a long time, which can enable bed bugs to grow, reproduce, and then multiply in number.


Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bug eggs appear white, in colour, and they are the same size as a poppy seed and appear elongated like capsules. Theoretically, bed bug eggs can be seen by the human eye, but since they are very tiny, it is quite hard to identify them if you are not a pest control expert. If you are inspecting your bedroom, use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to spot the bed bug eggs.

So, what do bed bugs look like to the human eye? An apt description is they appear like lentils or apple seeds. Bed bugs have beaks that they use to suck blood from their prey. A bed bug egg is white and averages 1 mm in length. Bugs hide in several places in your room and can even be found in your bed, pillows, sheets, or mattresses. You will find traces of bed bugs by their blood stains. They can often leave traces of blood residue on your sheets, bed, pillows, linens, mattresses, and even the walls of your bedroom. In their hiding places, you can find their shedded skins, egg shells, and faecal matter

Telltale Signs Of Bed Bug Infestations At Home

Bed bugs may be living in your bed, or other parts of your bedroom without you knowing it. Here are some signs that they may be already infesting your home:

  • Check for small, black stains which look like ground black pepper. This may be the stool stains of bed bugs. These stains may appear on your beddings, bed sheets, or mattresses, and are indications that bed bugs may be infesting your home.
  • The shedding skins of bed bugs. Bed bugs are like many other insects and will shed skin as they moult. They leave behind pale brown, almost transparent skins, after moulting.
  • If you see some stains consisting of a dark red brownish hue on the bed, pillows, sheets, or mattresses; these can be dried blood of dead bed bugs.
  • A definite sign of a bed bug infestation is the bed bug themselves. You can find small, dark reddish-brown, oval-shaped, and wingless insects that are flat, with six legs, and two antennae, if you look carefully. You can spot bugs in a cluster or alone throughout the mattress seams, box springs, walls, or the cracks on the floor, and even on the inside cabinet drawers or other home furniture.
  • Lastly, check for bed bugs when you see small eggs or larvae. These are signs that these bugs are laying eggs and infesting your household.

Signs Of Bed Bug Activity At Home

Coriander Like Odour

Oftentimes, a bed bug infestation leaves a coriander-like smell in a room, cabinet, or any of their hiding places. A large number of bed bugs can yield a coriander-like odour.



People complain of bites that they often experience while asleep. This is an obvious telltale sign of bed bug activity and infestation in a home. When this happens, make sure you examine all the bedrooms for any sign of bed bug activity and infestation. Also, check your body for small bites.



Check the bed linen, sheets, and seams or tufts of the bed mattress and also the box spring for any bed bug eggs. These eggs look whitish, are tiny, and look like pale poppy seeds.


Dark Places

Bed bug activity can also be found in some areas around the house like in the corner of the desk, cracks in cabinets and dressers, behind a loose section of the wallpaper, crevices in the walls, drawers, and even the laundry area.


Brown Droppings Or Stains

Keep tabs for the dark brown coloured bed bug droppings that often stain bed sheets, linens, pillows, and mattresses. The bug’s excrement appears in a liquid form and is light brown or almost black, and can bead up or be absorbed by the wood, wallpaper, or clothing found around the home.


Bed Bug Bite Treatment

Bed bug bite treatment includes the following:

  • Use of emollients and topical creams like cortisone that help relieve itch.
  • Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed if the person is suffering from a severe allergy attack.
  • Use of antihistamines may be beneficial in relieving any allergic reactions.
  • Oral antibiotics may be prescribed when the bed bug bite causes infection and skin irritations.

Bed bug bites can heal anywhere from one to two weeks from the time of occurrence. Some of the medications and treatments are available over the counter. Ask your doctor or pharmacists for further assistance if you suspect a bed bug bite.


Bed Bugs Removal

Bed bugs can hide in several places in your home, and they are not easy to get rid of. It is strongly recommended to ask the help of an expert pest control company in the case of an infestation.

Get rid of the excess clutter in your home as these areas are perfect breeding places for bed bugs. When they have fewer places to hide, it makes breeding and reproduction more challenging for these creatures.

Pest control providers may request the removal of furniture away from the walls, including mattresses, and box springs prior to entering a home, to be treated, infested with bed bugs. This is to ensure that items are cleaned and sanitized properly before they are put back inside your home. Armed with the right information and knowledge about bed bugs, how they look like, and what to do to get them removed entirely from your home, a bed bug infestation can be tackled successfully.

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