“Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Unfortunately, in many cases, that is easier said than done. Once a few bed bugs make their way into your home, they can quickly spread and take over. Recognizing what bed bugs look like and how they can enter your home is crucial to keeping your home free of these uninvited parasitic guests.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are flat, oval-shaped insects with a reddish-brown color. Typically an adult bed bug can measure between 3/16 – 1/4 inch long. However, size can vary, depending on if a bed bug has recently eaten. Much like mosquitos, the abdomens of bed bugs that have just gorged themselves on blood will take on a swollen, elongated appearance.
Bed bugs come from the order of Hemiptera or “true bugs” as they have segmented mouthparts designed for sucking, four-part antennas, wings unusable for flight, and a body covered in tiny hairs.
To properly identify bed bugs, It’s essential to understand their appearance in each phase of life. These tiny insects can live between six months to a year, during which they undergo a three-part transformation process.
Egg Phase – Bed bugs hatch from white, pearl-shaped eggs that are small enough to fit on a pinhead. As the eggs develop, eye spots begin to appear, giving groups a similar appearance to crushed black pepper.
Nymph Phase – Newly hatched bed bugs are called nymphs. These juvenile insects have a translucent yellowish color and can be just as hard to spot as the eggs that they hatched from. During this phase of life, the bugs resemble thinner, paler versions of their adult counterparts.
Adult Phase– Bed bugs reach their adult form in about five weeks. At this point in life, they reach their full-size reddish-brown coloration.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Much like other parasitic insects, like fleas and ticks, bed bugs are hitchhikers, and your luggage is their favorite mode of transportation. Anytime a purse, suitcase, or backpack comes in contact with an unfamiliar upholstered surface such as a bed or couch, you are at risk for bringing bed bugs home with you.
While bed bugs do have tiny wings, they can’t fly. Even so, they can travel from room to room quite quickly. If an infestation isn’t addressed early, it can quickly spread through an entire home.
Are There Bed Bugs in Your Home?
Since bed bugs are nocturnal and only emerge to feed at night, your chances of spotting one during waking hours are slim.
More often than not, the first indicators of an infestation will come from various other signs rather than the bed bugs themselves. Here are a few things to look out for.
- Bites: Bed bugs feed on human blood, so you may notice small, red, itchy bumps on your skin when you wake up in the morning.
- Cast skins: As they grow, bed bugs shed their “skin,” leaving behind a translucent exoskeleton that resembles the insect itself.
- Stains: As Bed bugs feed and digest blood, they defecate and leave behind small red, brown or black stains on your sheets or mattress.
- Smell: Bed bugs have scent glands on the underside of their bodies that release a musty odor into the air when they are disturbed.
Eliminating the Infestation
The EPA suggests that the most efficient way of eliminating bed bugs from a home is to hire an “experienced, responsible pest control professional.” For the average homeowner, trying to handle the issue alone may be futile or even dangerous.
At Yes Pest Control, we’re dedicated to keeping homeowners in the Bloomington and Columbus areas informed and up to date about the hazards of pest infestations, including bed bugs. If you suspect that you have a bed bug problem, please don’t hesitate to contact us right away. With our state of the art, environmentally-friendly heat treatment, we can usually eradicate any bed bug infestation from a home in just one day. Contact us today to schedule a free inspection.