What Do Bed Bugs Look Like to the Human Eye

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The appearance of Bed bugs will vary in different stages of their development. It makes them easily mistaken for other insects. If you have discovered an insect on your bed, do not panic just yet. Please continue reading this page to learn how to recognize those creatures.

What Do Bed Bugs Appear Like to the Human Eye?

To the naked human eye, bed bugs are going to appear as follows:

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like to the Human Eye


The common adult bed bug will look like a baby cockroach. It is the size of an apple seed, up to 5mm in size. They are light to reddish-brown in colour and have an oval, flat body when not fed. Bed bugs are wingless insects. They have two antennae and six legs which are not longer than their bodies. Each leg is about 1/2 of the total body length. Both adult bed bugs and nymphs’ bodies bulge, just like mosquitoes do when they have had a blood meal. Their size is going to increase 1-2 times, depending on the bug. Bed bugs require blood to survive, and moult which is why they settle near people in the first place. Easily, you are able to find adult bugs around the mattress, the headboard and the box spring.


The tiny baby bed bugs, also recognized as nymphs. They are translucent tan in colour but turn opaque with maturity, after each moult. They moult a total of 5 times before reaching adulthood. tiny baby bed bugs or Nymphs are no larger than a sesame seed. When fed, they turn bright red due to all of the digested blood, this makes them easy to identify when found. But their tiny size is the most likely reason why an infestation remains unrecognized for some weeks, allowing the bugs to grow and multiply.

Bed bug eggs

The bed bug eggs are whitish, the size of a poppy seed. They have the form of an elongated capsule. In theory, you are able to see the bed bug eggs with a naked eye. But, because of their miniature size, it is difficult to recognize them if you are not a professional. If you are inspecting a room, ensure to use a flashlight and a magnifying glass. Bed bug eggs usually stick to the surface they were laid on. Removal techniques such as vacuuming are not a great choice if you were to remove them from a surface. Instead, you have to try some of the other ways that work.

Are Bed Bugs Visible in All Stages of Their Development?

Technically, yes. But, they do a good job at hiding. This makes it difficult to find the insects, particularly during the day when they are not that active. By the way, why are not they active? Because bed bugs try to stay out of sight in order not to be squashed by you. Instead of looking for a specimen, just focus your efforts on showing correctly the different tell-tale signs of an infestation. Discovering any of those is a sure sign of an advanced bed bug issue.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like on Your Mattress?

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like on Your Mattress

The first place to check for signs of the bed bugs is your bed and mattress. Those areas are the closest to their host. Usually, bed bugs come out to feed when you are sleeping. Then, it is that they leave evidence of their presence. Please check your mattress and bedding for:

  • Reddish spots caused by crushed bed bugs.
  • Little dark spots the size of a pen mark that may bleed to the fabric. Those are bed bug excrements.

Also, you are able to inspect the crevices and fabric folds of the mattress for:

  • Bed Bug eggs, eggshells, and cast skins that nymphs leave behind when moulting.
  • Adult bed bugs and nymphs.

It is very rare to discover bed bugs roaming around on their own. If you discover only one bed bug, it is like a colony is nearby.

The colony consist of the below types of bed bugs:

  • Mature adults
  • Larvae
  • Nymphs (regularly shed their skin)
  • And unhatched eggs

Bed Bug Bites Are Not a Sure Sign of Infestation – Why?

Although bites are one sign of bed bug presence, they sure are not a conclusive one. This is due to some reasons. Based on the research, some people do not experience any reaction to the bites. Thus, you are able to decide that you do not have bed bugs if you see no sign of the bites.

Here is a good strategy to rule for a bug infestation:

  • At the first step, you have to ensure that there are bites.
  • Then, you have to discover a bed bug.
  • After that, you are able to check if it is actually a bed bug.

You are going to start panicking if you have ticked “yes” on all three above.

The Insects That Look Like Bed Bugs

There are some insects that appear similar to the bed bugs, so ensure to check for lookalikes before considering a treatment.

Here are some insects that look like bed bugs:

  • Booklouse
    Booklouse looks similar to the baby bed bugs. Several wingless species are often mistaken for bed bugs and vice versa. But, these scavenging insects are not parasites and do not feed on human blood.
  • Fleas
    The reason why people mistake fleas for bed bugs is their shared appetite for blood, visually they are actually nothing alike. If you see a tiny insect stuck to your arm at night, you may think at first that it is a bed bug. Unlike bed bugs, fleas are not parasitic to humans, they may bite you several times, however their long-term hosts are animals.
  • Bat Bag
    Bat bugs are almost identical to bed bugs. The only way to identify the two insects is to observe them under a microscope. Bat bug’s prime host is the bat. But, they are going to feed on other warm-blooded animals, humans included if they wander away too far or their host is not available.

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