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Bed Bug Identification

Updated on December 9, 2016

Bed Bug Identification -- Here's What You Need to Know

Get the facts about bed bug identification and control. Identifying bed bugs is not that difficult once you get some basic facts.

Bed bugs hide in the crevices of your mattress and bed frame until bed-time. When nights falls and they sense your body heat in the bed they crawl out for a meal. Unfortunately, for a bed bug a meal is your blood. He pierces your skin with his needle-sharp proboscis (feeding tube) and sucks out a little blood, which might not be so bad, but his saliva gets in the wound, and you get a big red welt that itches for days. Another harmful bed bug habit is that it will bite you a number of times in a row, walking a few steps between bites. As it does it actually poops, and tracks the bed bug feces into the bites.

This lens will tell you if the bugs and bites you have are bed bugs, and also some of the best ways to get rid of them. But be forewarned -- it ain't easy. Or pretty. So if you found a bug and are wondering, "is this a bed bug?", this lens can help you find the answer.

Image by Content Providers(s): CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki (http://phil.cdc.gov/phil) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bed Bug Identification -- Here's What Bed Bugs Look Like

This is an excellent image of an adult bed bug. These insects are dark red-brown, wingless, and about the size of a grain of rice. The nymphs, or "baby" bed bugs, look exactly like the adults, but are smaller. If you have a bug and are wondering "Is this a bed bug," then get that bug under a magnifying glass and see if it doesn't look exactly like this one here. It could be that it isn't a bed bug! In that case usher your little guest back outside, where it probably wants to be anyway.

By Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium (Cimex lectularius (bed bug)) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bed Bug Identification -- Bed Bug Versus Spider

Note the main physical differences, indicated by arrows.

By Uploader, CDC (Modified by uploader; originally from CDC) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bed Bug Identification -- A Bed Bug's Beautiful Face

As if it weren't enough to bite you, suck your blood, and then track his own poo all over the place, bed bugs have to be extremely ugly, too. The purple tube is the insect's proboscis, basically a hollow tube through which it draws your blood for its meal. Think of it as a hypodermic syringe -- a really dirty one. A lot of bugs have a bad reputation, but this one is truly deserved.

Bed Bugs Climb Up the Legs of Your Bed

Yes, it's true -- that's often how they get a toe-hold on a nice place to start a colony. Often bed bugs will hang out in corners, cracks in walls, or carpeting during the day, and head up to the dining area (you) at night. These traps get them coming and going.

Why Is This Dog a Bed Bug's Worst Enemy?

Because bed-bug sniffing dogs can locate adults or eggs with amazing accuracy. "Bed Bug Dog" businesses are springing up all over the country -- maybe they can help you find your own buggies!

Bed Bug Dogs

Yes, there are such things! Bed Bug dogs are specially trained to sniff out bed bugs wherever they may occur. Since it can be very hard to see bed bugs, especially if they are concealed in the creases of your mattress, sometimes you need to call in an expert. Bed bug dogs can sniff out bed bugs the same way airport dogs sniff out drugs and explosives.

By MarceloGallo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bed Bug Identification -- What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?

Are These Bed Bug Bites?

Bed bugs bites look like big mosquito bites. You notices them in the morning, and they can occur on any area of your body. The best way to tell if you have bed bug bites is to see if they are arranged more or less in lines. This is because bed bugs like to bite you several times in one night, moving an inch or two between bites.

People who are allergic or otherwise sensitive to bed bug bites may become quite ill.

By MarceloGallo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

ELF Spray Can Keep Bed Bugs at Bay

Depending on the seriousness of your infestation, ELF spray may be a solution. It is a mild substance, but nonetheless It's an insecticide that is death on bed bugs, but could be worrisome if you have pets air small children in the house.

Bed Bug Identification Made Difficult

The good old days -- they lacked detail!

Back in the day, this was pretty much all you had to go on to identify that bug you caught roaming around your sheets. Was it a tick? A flea? A louse? A crab? Without today's high-tech digital photos of bed bugs and microscopic lenses, it's a wonder anyone could tell what they were dealing with. This is a decent effort but let's face it, by the time you decide that what you have is indeed a bed bug, it's probably scampered away to continue defiling your sleeping quarters.

By unidentified illustrator [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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