Here you'll find pictures of signs of bed bugs like eggs, fecal stains and cast skins on mattresses, different types of furniture and other hiding places. Whether you think you might have bed bugs or want to make sure you avoid bringing them home, these photos give you a good idea of what to look for and where to look.
Looking for something in particular? This page is pretty long, so these links will take you straight to the sections you most want to see.
Smears of blood on sheets are one of the early warning signs that bed bugs might be sharing your bed. Stains like the ones in the picture below happen when recently fed bugs get squashed in the bed by a person moving unexpectedly. But, many other things could cause stains like this. For this reason, blood stains alone are not evidence of a bed bug infestation.
If you are being bitten by bed bugs, you will also see fecal stains.
Fecal stains on sheets look like the marks of a felt tip pen and tend to bleed into the fabric. The picture below is a great example of what bed bug fecal stains look like. Note the live bed bugs in the photo and how flat they are.
The photo below shows evidence of bed bug infestation on the side of a mattress. In this view mostly just spots and a few adult bugs are visible.
The picture below is a closeup of the same mattress. Here it's apparent that there are live adults and nymphs (bed bug babies) as well as fecal stains - but can you pick out the eggs?
Now look at this magnified view. See how closely the eggs resemble the shiny white fibers of the mattress fabric?
This set of pictures is a great example of how bed bugs easily "hide in plain sight". Take a close look at the picture in the upper right corner of the collage. See any bed bugs? If you found a couple - that's not bad.
Now look at the at the picture to the upper left. See all the beige colored spots especially around the open grommet hole? Those are baby bed bugs (nymphs) and there are a lot of them!
Even more surprising is the lower-right magnified view of a grommet hole (above) that is completely filled with nymphs and their cast skins. That same hole is located on the right edge of the upper-right image you looked at first.
As the pictures below demonstrate, you'll typically find more signs of bed bugs at the head of the bed (left image) than at the foot (right image).
Headboards and bed frames are also favorite hangouts for bed bugs. The photo below shows signs of bed bugs living in the decorative groove of a wood headboard.
Bed bugs are freakishly flat and can squeeze themselves into the most unlikely places. Notice how a bunch of them have piled into this gouge in a bed frame.
Special thanks to Lou Sorkin, entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History for such a large selection of helpful pics. All of the images of bed bugs on furniture in this block as well as many of the photos throughout the site are Lou's, and are used with permission via Creative Commons licenses, unless otherwise noted.
These two pictures show multiple signs and symptoms of bed bug infestation on an upholstered chair. Note how the nymphs and eggs are clustered right in the seam area in the photo below. In fact, at first glance the eggs might be mistaken for dust or other fibers.
This photo on the right shows signs of much heavier infestation, including cast skins, fecal droppings and many eggs on the underside of the chair upholstery - something to keep in mind when you are checking for bed bugs.
Bed Bugs can also be found on and inside wood furniture like night stands, dressers and book shelves. They like the cracks and crevices of joints between pieces of wood and can even be found in screw holes. The two pictures below show evidence of bed bugs on a wooden shelving unit. The little white spots on the side of the shelf are eggs, the beige spots are bedbug nymphs and the black dots are fecal matter. The bigger bug in the picture on the right is a German cockroach.
Bed bugs can also hide on almost any other type of surface including metal and plastic. The photo on the right below shows how a number of bed bugs found harborage together inside a the head of screw.
All of the photos of bugs above are also from Lou Sorkin's vast collection of bed bug photos.
As bed bugs grow from birth to adulthood, they molt, or shed their exoskeletons. The cast skins (bedbug shells) they leave behind can be found in and around their harborages (hideouts) and are definite signs of a growing bed bug population.
The photo above shows two cast skins in the upper left corner along with a live bed bug and fecal stain.
The image below is a bowl full of shed skins or exoskeletons. Yuck!
Here are some close-up pics of bed bug excrement and bed bug eggs. While the fecal stains on sheets at the top of the page look like back marker stains, the droppings themselves look like little black blobs.
Note how the the hatched eggs in the picture on the above look dull, dried out and flattened compared to the unhatched eggs.
Bedbug eggs are often found on wood, cardboard and fabric. They are covered in a sticky glue-like substance which helps them stick to the surfaces and gives them a shiny appearance.
Credit (all 3 photos above): Dr. Harold Harlan of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (CC).
Typically, bed bugs hide out close to their source of food (see top 8 hiding spots). But, as infestations grow, bed bugs tend to spread out from the immediate vicinity of their feeding area. While they are not feeding, they will hide out in a wide variety of places. They're super flat, so they can squeeze themselves in to very tight spots like picture frames, electrical outlets, carpet edges and behind window/door moldings and baseboards.
Photos credit for collection of photos above: Lou Sorkin (CC)
Hopefully, these pictures of signs of bed bugs help you have a better idea of what to look when checking for a bed bug infestation.
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