Think you might have bed bugs and wonder what they look like? These photos are the easiest way to know for sure.
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These photos show just what bedbugs look like. They are rusty-brown in color and extremely flat when when unfed.
Note the difference in shape between the male (left) and the female (right) bed bugs in the picture below.
Adult bed bugs are typically about 5 mm or 1/4 inch long.
Here are some photos of them with other common objects to give you a better idea of their actual size.
The picture below is a magnified view of a female bedbug and her eggs on the fabric of a mattress. More pictures of bed bugs on furniture and other hiding places...
The photo below shows the actual size of an adult bed bug in comparison to a dime.
The image below is a 3rd or 4th instar bedbug nymph (baby bed bug) compared with a penny.
As you can see, the nymph is smaller and lighter in color than the adult. Learn more about bed bug eggs, baby bed bugs and adults on the bed bug life cycle page.
The next photos are close-ups of bed bugs on human skin. As you can see in the first picture, nymphs are much smaller that the adults and almost look like little seeds.
The photo below shows a closer look at them starting to engorge as they feed...
The picture to below shows an adult bed bug on a human piercing the skin and preparing to feed.
They have a beak-like mouth with two tubes in it. Through one tube they inject saliva that acts as a numbing agent and keeps your blood from clotting. Then they suck the blood through the other tube like a straw. The whole process takes about 5-10 minutes.
As their bodies fill with blood they become engorged - swelling up like a blood-filled balloon. They even become longer. Their color changes from a rusty brown to a darker purplish-red color and have a more shiny appearance.
This set of bed bug pictures shows the transformation quite well. In the picture on the left, the bed bug is just preparing to feed - see how flat its body is?
The photo below shows the bedbug in the middle of feeding - just starting to swell and becoming a little shinier and darker in color.
The picture below demonstrates how a bed bug looks after a complete blood meal. Like a balloon of blood almost ready to burst!
When bed bugs get crushed by a person moving unexpectedly, they leave a blood stain behind - one of the 9 tell-tale symptoms of bed bug infestation.
These pictures show a number of bed bugs feeding on the hand of Lou Sorkin, Entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.
Notice in the picture above how they can actually hang while they are feeding!
As they feed their bodies swell and become elongated - making them look like a different bug altogether.
Here's a picture of a number of bed bugs feeding from a vial where they are kept in the laboratory. Lou makes an interesting comment that often they stay on the paper in the vial and just stretch out to feed rather than venturing all the way out onto his skin.
He notes this is one explanation for why bed bug bites sometimes appear in a line. A number of them could be lined up on your sheets while you sleep, feeding on exposed skin much like farm animals at a feeding trough.
Bed bugs can be easily confused with a variety of other insects. Even their bites mimic the symptoms of other bug bites and allergic reactions to other irritants.
These photos of other insects in comparison to a bed bug should help clear up any confusion. For more help, see the how to identify bed bugs page.
The photo below shows the obvious difference between bed bugs and spider beetles in side-by-side comparison. The beetles have a definite bulb-like shape while the bedbugs are extremely flat.
Here are pictures of two other types of beetles that people sometimes mistake for bed bugs.
I hope these bed bug pictures will help you determine what you're dealing with. Check out this page to find out how you can also get a professional opinion on what you've found for free.
If you've ruled out bed bugs, check out this site for good information about other household pests and how to identify them.
Bed bugs are annoying, but not dangerous. Head on over to the Bed Bug Pest Control section now to learn your options.
You CAN get rid of them - if you take the time to get educated and don't do things that will make your situation worse. (You'd be surprised how many things that seem logical are exactly the wrong things to do.)
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