How to identify bed bugs
Red and itchy bumps on your body in the morning are an indicator that bed bugs are possibly present in your home, but is not conclusive. Prior to calling a professional exterminator, it is necessary to visually identify bed bugs. This will prevent you from spending money on services from exterminators when in fact you don’t really need them.
For those with good eyesight, you can easily see bed bugs with the naked eye. Finding and identifying them is more difficult when they are still in their early stages, but it is possible to find them with a thorough examination.
Indicators Bed Bugs are Present in Your Home
Five indicators that clearly show the presence of bed bugs are:
- Bed Bug Skins
Similar to snakes, bed bugs shed layers of their skin, or moult, as they go through every stage of their life cycle. When inspecting, search around your bedroom for old skin and other signs of bed bug activities.
- Fecal Matter
Since they feed, bed bugs will also excrete what they have digested. Their excrements are most likely blood. These are black stains or dots that you will see on your bed sheets. When examining your bed linens, look for stains of bed bug poop.
- Blood Stains
- Bed Bug Bites
We’ve mentioned in our bed bug bites section that not everyone has the same reaction after being bitten by bed bugs. One way to differentiate bed bug bites from other insects is the pattern they create when biting. They bite in groups and the marks last longer than mosquito bites.
- Live Bed Bugs
There is no better indicator that you have bed bugs at home than seeing live ones. You should know where and what bed bugs look like to make it easier for you to differenciate them from other insects. Being nocturnal pests, they will usually come out between one to five am. If ever you wake up during this time interval, you can get a flashlight and look around your bed.
Since bed bugs are nocturnal, you may have a hard time finding them during the daytime. When exposed to light, they will quickly go back to their hiding spots.
The size of bed bug eggs is approximately 1mm while nymphs in stages 1 to 5 range from 1.5 to 4.5mm. Adult bed bugs are around the size of an apple seed or approximately 5.5mm. With good eyesight and sufficient light, you can easily find bed bugs. Others could use a magnifying glass and a flashlight to make the job easier.
To better identify bed bugs, get to know how they look at every stage by looking at their full bed bug life cycle. You can rely on pictures alone or use our identification checklist for a more thorough inspection.
Images courtesy of: Armed Forces Pest Management, AFPMB,