Bed Bug Appearance
Unfed adult bed bugs are flattened, oval-shaped wingless insects. They are tan or brown in color and are sometimes mistaken for young cockroaches, ticks or carpet beetles. Adult bed bugs are about one-fourth of an inch long and about one-eighth of an inch wide. The upper body surface appears crinkly.
After a bed bug feeds, its appearance may change somewhat, appearing longer, more like a small wingless cockroach, or swollen. Its color darkens to reddish-brown.
Younger Bed Bugs
Younger (immature) bed bugs — called nymphs — are smaller and lighter-colored than adult bed bugs. Unfed nymphs are yellowish-tan in color, but they turn a bright, crimson red after feeding.
Nymphs go through five stages of growth. As they grow, they shed their skins (molt). People sometimes find the light brown molted skins near bed bug hiding spots.
Not much larger than a speck of dust (1/32 of an inch), bed bug eggs are a whitish color and sticky. Newly hatched bugs are the color of wheat straw.
Figure 3 - Bed bug life cycle (CDC Image Library)
How Bed Bugs Move Around
Bed bugs do not fly, but they can crawl pretty rapidly. Active mainly at night and in low light, they can move through a house by crawling in between walls and across electrical lines and pipes. Rooms that share a wall, ceiling, or floor with an infested area can also become infested.
How They Get Inside
Bed bugs often make their way from one location to another by hitchhiking on a person's body, clothing or belongings. They can be carried inside homes and businesses on:
- Clothing, shoes, luggage, handbags, laptop cases, and backpacks
- Furniture and bedding (including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames)
- Rented furniture and electronics
- Used furniture, carpet, fabrics, fixtures, and electrical devices from thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets
- Clean laundry transported in infested vehicles or laundry/housekeeping carts
- Your hair
- The clothes you are wearing.
Because bed bugs can survive up to about a year and a half without a blood meal, they can even infest warehouses, storage units, moving and delivery vans and vehicles. Learn where bed bugs typically hide.
For more information contact: (803) 896-0655 Fax (803) 896-0645