Remember, when you were younger, when your parents would tuck you into bed at night, and they would say “don’t let the bed bugs bite”? That was actually really good advice!
In recent years, bed bugs have become increasingly more popular infesting both homes and businesses, thanks to the rise in global travel and secondhand furniture sales.
Much like how Nicolas Cage seems to be in almost every film ever made, bed bugs are becoming almost omnipresent. Understanding exactly what bed bugs look like can save yourself both time and money and help to keep your home or business safe.
Like all insects, bed bugs go through a life-cycle which consists of several stages. Their appearance can differ at each stage, so knowing exactly what a bed bug looks like at each stage can go a long way in identifying a bed bug problem.
Bed bug life cycle
It usually takes around 40 days for a bed bug to complete its life cycle. This can, however, take longer if the food source is limited.
The bed bug’s life cycle consists of three main stages which are:
Bed bug eggs
Like other insects, bed bug eggs mark the first stage of their life cycle. The eggs are often laid singly or in clusters and are placed within crevices and tight cracks.
Did you know if a female bed bug has access to a supply of blood it will continuously lay eggs and can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime!?
What do bed bug eggs look like?
Bed bug eggs are the size of a pinhead and are milky white in colour. They are oval in shape, resembling a grain of rice. Bed bug eggs can be marked with an eye spot when they are more than 5 days old.
Bed bug nymphs
Bed bug nymphs go through five instars (stages) during their growth into adulthood. At each stage they moult, shedding their exoskeleton in order to grow.
Bed bug nymphs need to feed at least once before each moult and process to the next instar and each instar lasts between 4-8 days before moulting into their adult stage.
What do bed bug nymphs look like?
Bed bug nymphs start their life with a yellowish white colour and slowly turn into the reddish-brown colour that you would usually associate with bed bugs.
Besides their colouring, bed bug nymphs broadly resemble adult bed bugs. However, they do have thinner cuticles.
Due to their light colouring their gut is visible as a dark region on their abdomen. However this can only be seen if the bed bug nymph has recently eaten. If this isn’t the case than bed bug nymphs can be difficult to spot being nearly invisible to the human eye.
Bed bug adults
After 5 weeks, bed bug nymphs develop into adults. Once they reach adulthood bed bugs are finally ready to start to reproduce. But this can’t be done on an empty stomach, so feeding always takes place before hand.
What do adult bed bugs look like?
Adult bed bugs can easily be identified by their appearance. Compared to other small biting insects, bed bugs differ in colour, shape, and anatomy.
Bed bugs are:
- around 4-5mm long;
- oval and flattened in shape;
- thick, well-developed legs;
- vestiges of wings called wing pads;
- red to brown in colour;
- a beak with three segments;
- a set of antenna with four parts.
If you think you might have a bed bug problem in your home or business then get in contact with the experts at Rentokil today.