ed bugs can be hard to find given their small size and their habit to only come out at night. It also helps to know what they look like, since the various life stages have different forms.
There are many bugs that look like bed bugs so an accurate identification is a critical first step to avoid costly treatment for the wrong bug.
The first place to look is in the corner of your mattress and between the mattress and the bed spring. If you have an infestation then you will find clear evidence in these locations.
Because the stages of the bed bug make them look very different, please see the images here or in our gallery to compare to any bugs you might find.
Adult bed bugs, in general, are:
about the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 – 1/4 inch long);
long and brown, with a flat, oval-shaped body (if not fed recently);
- balloon-like, reddish-brown, and more elongated (if fed recently);
a “true bug” (characteristics of true bugs include a beak with three segments; antenna that have four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs); and
smelly, with a “musty-sweetish” odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body.
Bed Bug Life Cycle
The life cycle of a bed bug is shown in the photograph below. During its lifetime, a bed bug will go through the following stages (Starting from the top left, moving counterclockwise):
1st stage nymph (1.5 mm).
2nd stage nymph (2 mm).
3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm).
4th stage nymph (3 mm).
5th stage nymph (4.5 mm).
Unfed adult female.
Unfed adult male.
Young bed bugs (also called nymphs), in general, are:
Bed bug eggs, in general, are:
- tiny, the size of a pinhead;
- pearl-white in color; and
- marked by an eye spot if more than five days old.