ma bed bug control technician inspecting a home

Bed Bug Characteristics

If there is one bug in the United States you should know the look of, it is the bed bug. These are hitchhiking bugs, that dwell almost exclusively with humans. They aren't going to crawl across your yard and squeeze in through your exterior walls. The only way you're going to get these pests in your house is if you, or someone else, bring them in. Having an observant and discerning eye when you're outside of your home could prevent you from having a bed bug infestation.

There was a time when it was only necessary to worry about picking up bed bugs at a hotel or motel. Those days are long gone. These blood, eating pests are showing up in libraries, police stations, movie theaters, office buildings, retail stores, and a whole host of other public places. They can be found in schools, daycares, college dormitories, nursing homes, and more. They have even been found infesting public transportation, such as buses, trains, and taxi cabs. You can get them when you go to work. You can get them when you spend the night at the home of a friend or relative. Your kids can get them when they go to school or daycare. You and your family have a chance of getting them every time you step out of your home. Recognizing these bugs and their eggs could save you a ton of frustration.


Bed Bug Eggs

Bed bugs can hitchhike before they even hatch from their eggs. Females lay their eggs in the seams and creases of items that we carry, such as duffle bags, pocketbooks, and luggage. These eggs are the size of the tip on a ballpoint pen and will look like tiny, white globs. Most often, these globs will be shaped like rice and have a transparency to them.

Why is it so important to identify bed bug eggs? The eggs produced by bed bugs don't need the mother to hatch. Therefore, they are all that is required for an infestation to begin in your home.

Nymphs (juvenile bed bugs)

Bed bugs have five developmental stages, called instars. In their first instar, the skin (cuticle) of the bed bug will be mostly transparent, and they will be a mere millimeter in size. This makes them extremely hard to see. Often, they are only noticed after they have had a blood meal, when the color of the blood shows through their skin. Unfortunately, their size helps them to avoid detection, even when they are engorged with red blood.

As bed bugs pass from one instar to the next, they shed their cuticle and they become less transparent. The horizontal creases on their back will also become more noticeable as they grow toward their adult form.

Distinguishing Features

Bed bugs are insects. Therefore they have six legs, like other insects. This will help you to distinguish them from arachnids and full grown ticks. It is important to point out that tick larva only have six legs and are quite small, especially if they are deer ticks. This makes them hard to differentiate from bed bugs. If you are unsure what you have, capture it and have it looked at by a professional.

Adult Bed Bugs

When bed bugs get to their full size, they are still quite small. An adult bed bug will probably be no larger than 4.5 mm. This is smaller than the width of two nickels stacked on top of each other. That is really small!

An unfed bed bug will appear oval and flat, but if it has had a blood meal, it will be more of a pill shape, and bloated.

Besides its rusty, brown coloring, the most distinguishing feature of an adult bed bug is the horizontal creases that go across its abdomen. These creases can be seen from a distance, because of the shininess of this insect.

If bed bugs find their way into your home, call a professional. These resilient and resourceful bugs are extremely hard to get rid of without proper education, experience, and training. If you are in our service areas in Connecticut or Massachusetts, let the bed bug specialists here at American Pest Solutions help you resolve your issue quickly and thoroughly.

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