Bed bugs and knowing what to look for is the first step in identifying and controlling them. 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.
Young bed bugs (also called nymphs), in general, are:
- smaller, translucent or whitish-yellow in color; and
- if not recently fed, can be nearly invisible to the naked eye because of coloring and size.
Adults bed bugs 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 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.
The bed bug will become a mahogany or rusty brown upon reaching maturity. They have 6 legs and a set of underdeveloped, non-functional wings. There are certain pests that can be mistaken for bed bugs, including bat bugs, a newly hatched cockroach, wood ticks (also known as dog ticks), carpet beetles, and spider beetles.
So where do bed bugs live? Bed bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and in furniture crevices. They are also known to survive in temporary or alternative habitats, such as backpacks and under the seats in cars, buses and trains.
Bed bugs likely get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds. They are found in virtually every place people tend to gather, including residences, hotels, schools, offices, retail stores and even public transportation. Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. They do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.
If you do identify bed bugs in your home, contact a pest professional like Milberger Pest Control promptly. They will be able to inspect your home, confirm the species and recommend a course of bed bug treatment.
For more information about Milberger Pest Control, call (816) 761-1313 in Missouri and (913) 384-6760 in Kansas.