Pictures of bed bugs and bedbug video can be found throughout the Bed Bugs Handbook. It is important to be able to recognize the insects through all growth stages; from egg to nymph to adult. All are represented below.
An adult bed bug is brown until it feeds on a human or animal host. After feeding the adult changes color into a dull red/dark brown. Bedbugs are 3/16 of an inch in length (longer after a blood meal as depicted below).
They have what are called Vestigial wings (not fully developed), but can't fly. The bugs are covered by thin golden hair. Male bed bugs have a pointed abdomen while females have a rounded abdomen. An adult female bed bug can live as long as 277 days without feeding. If you are not sure the insect you are viewing is a bed bug you can send a sample bug to the Harvard School of Public Health for evaluation.
Pictures of Bed Bugs Before and After Feeding
Up Close Dorsal View of Bed Bug
National Geographic has created the bedbug video below which shows the insects in action:
National Geographic Bedbug Video
Bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide we give off when sleeping. A typical bug will feed for 10 minutes every 3 to 4 days. After feeding they will crawl back into a crack or crevice that is nearby. Most bugs will live in are near a mattress. When infestations get large they will spread to the headboard, cracks in the bed frame and then in places around the bed. There small body and thin profile make it easy to hide. Favorite hiding places include the headboard, box spring, bed frame, and under any mattress tags.
Picture of Bed Bugs Mattress
Bed bugs leave behind stains on a mattress or nearby linen. This is one of the best ways to determine if you may have a bed bug problem.
Bed bugs are not known to spread disease. Reactions on the arm from a bed bug bite are due to an allergic reaction. Not everyone reacts to the bed bug bites. Cutaneous or skin reactions range from a small raised red area to blistering of the skin.
Typical Bed Bug Bites
Eggs are white in color and slightly round and are 1mm long. Over their 10 month life span a female will lay 200 - 500 eggs in groups of 1 to 5 eggs per day. Eggs cannot be picked up with a vacuum cleaner. The best way to kill them is either by heating a room to over 120 degrees or by using a steamer that can get hot steam into contact with the egg's surface.
Pictures of Bed Bugs: Bed Bug Hatching from Egg
(Source: UNL Dept of Entomology)
Hiding in used furniture is a common way for bed bugs to enter the home. Often, when bed bugs furniture problems occur, a home owner will leave it on the street unmarked. Unsuspecting individuals will bring the furniture home along with the bed bugs. Furniture rental companies are also aware of the problem and are supposed to inspect furniture before renting it out to a new individual.
There is even a problem with new furniture if the same truck is being used to cart away old furniture or a mattress. Bed bugs can jump from the old to the new.
Bedbugs are flat and can cling to surfaces on any angle. A homeowner needs to check behind every crack and crevice and in seams to make sure all the bugs are disposed of.
Be sure to inspect all furniture. Be sure to empty and bag
the contents of drawers so that you can turn them over during the
inspection process. Only move contents into sealed bags.
Every item should be inspected for bugs.
Bed Bugs Furniture Picture
(Source: University of Kentucky College of Agriculture)
See our guide on bed bugs getting rid of them. Our best advice is that if you want to try it yourself, purchase a kit that contains an instruction book, spray, powder, steamer and zippered mattress covers. A kit that contains everything you need is available from Dermisil for Bed Bugs. Every inch of a room being treated needs to be inspected and treatedTo ensure that you actually have bed bugs you can send a sample bug to Identify with this form (PDF download) They charge $20 for the service. You can also check with a local university, board of health or cooperative extension.
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