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What do bed bugs look like?

A bed bug is actually fairly easy to spot – they look like:

  • Oval, red/brown
  • 5-7mm long
  • Looks like an apple pip

A Picture Of Bedbug Isolated On White Background

Are bedbugs visible to the human eye?

Yes, by the time they reach adulthood, bedbugs will be visible to the naked eye. They are oval, red-brown coloured insects, that are about 5 to 7 millimetres long. As a useful comparison, that’s about the size of an apple seed. This means that you should be able to see them, but of course, they are very adept at hiding – so it won’t necessarily be easy to spot!

They don’t fly – but can scurry, very quickly. If you’ve got a bad infestation you may occasionally see them moving over walls, floors and even on your ceiling. They have very flat bodies, which helps them to crawl around on the underside of mattresses, and protects them if their hosts role on top of them during the night.

Common Bedbug - Vector Illustratiion

When are they most likely to be spotted?

Because they are bloodsuckers, they emerge at night and find a host to feed on. After they’ve fed, bedbugs bodies will swell and turn a reddish colour from their latest meal. During the day they are most likely to hide in cracks and crevices of the bedframe, or on the underside of the mattress.

Spotting the eggs

Part of the reason that bedbugs can become such a problem so quickly is that female bedbugs can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. They reproduce rapidly, meaning that up to three generations can grow up and reproduce in a year.

However, each egg is tiny – only about the size of a fleck of dust, so it’s hard to spot them in isolation. Instead, you’re more likely to see small dots of your own blood on sheets, where you’re been bitten in the night.

Other tell tale signs of a nasty bedbug infestation

After they hatch from their eggs, bedbugs are in an immature stage when they are known as nymphs. Under the right conditions, and with a plentiful supply of hosts (us!) to feed on, these little nymphs grow really quickly. They shed their skin five times, leaving each skin behind them. These are white or clear and can look like dandruff as they start to build up on your mattress.

Another obvious sign that you might have some unwelcome guests in your furniture is the telltale trails of faeces that these nasty critters leave behind them. They look a little like smudged lines drawn by a marker pen. If you are buying second-hand sofa or chair, pay close attention to the surfaces, including the underside of sofa cushions – to make sure that you aren’t bringing more than just a new piece of furniture into your home!

What do bed bug bites look like?

Most bed bug bites will be red and itchy, but there are some other obvious signs that can help differentiate them from other insect bites like those from fleas or mosquitos;

  • A raised red bump
  • A clear spot in the middle of the bite, or a dark red centre
  • A zigzag pattern of bites
  • Pain and itching at the site of the bite

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