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What do bed bugs look like?

One of the pests Western Exterminator gets the most calls about is bed bugs. Although bed bugs are not known to be vectors for diseases, the fact bed bugs feed on people while they sleep is disturbing enough most people contact us very quickly upon finding the bites or signs of bed bugs around their home. People are so afraid of bed bugs that they often confuse other insects as bed bugs, causing an unnecessary panic and maybe even causing residents to throw out or destroy furniture or clothing when they don't need to.

Western Exterminator bed bug specialists know the difference between bed bugs and other pests often confused with these insects. Western Exterminator can help track down the bed bug hiding places and help you get rid of them and prevent a return infestation If you think you have bed bugs, contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

Bed bug identification

Bed bugs are small insects without wings. They are very flat and have round bodies divided into three segments. The first, at the top, is the head. Right behind that is a small segment known as the pronotum. The largest part of the bed bug's body is the abdomen, which is wide and round. A bed bug has six legs total, plus two antenna at the top of their head.

Bed bugs are very small, which works to their advantage as it allows them to easily hide when they are between feedings. Their flat bodies allow them to wriggle into tiny cracks and the folds of a mattress. They are between 4 - 5 mm in length, as adults. The nymphs are even smaller, making them nearly impossible to see with the naked eye.

Bed bugs as nymphs, are usually white or tan in color. The full grown adults are a reddish-brown. When they have had a full blood meal, they appear bloated and red, just like mosquitoes and ticks often do after they have fed.

What are the signs of bed bugs?

Often, you will not know that you have a bed bug infestation until they start to bite and feed upon you. Bed bugs require a blood meal, in order to lay eggs and reproduce. However, you might see a few other signs before you see the bites, including:

  • Excrement - bed bugs, upon completing their feeding, will excrete waste. These will appear as small brown spots on bed sheets, mattresses and other areas.
  • Shed skins - during the growth process, bed bugs shed their skins several times. This shed skins appear as nearly translucent shells left behind in a clutter.
  • Blood spots - once the bed bugs start to feed, they will inject an anticoagulant into you which allows you to bleed freely so they can feed. The tiny bites may bleed for a bit after they have finished feeding, leaving spots of blood on your bed clothes. Bed bugs which end up crushed due to the movement of the person being fed upon can also leave blood stains.

How to look for bed bugs

Fully inspect the bed

Bed bugs earned their name for their fondness for infesting beds, however, they can infest other areas, too.. The small, brownish insects prefer to hide in close proximity to their hosts so they can sneak out at night and draw a bloodmeal without being noticed.

Carefully inspect your bed for bed bugs by examining:

  • The mattress - Whether you're sleeping in your bedroom or hotel room, the first thing you should check is the mattress. In addition to live insects, you may notice red marks from where bed bugs have been accidentally crushed. Bed bugs can often be found along the seam of the mattress. Also, check around the mattress tags. Remember, they are very small, so you have to look closely and carefully.
  • The bed frame - Bed bugs are found of finding little crevices in between bed frames and mattresses to hide. Be on the lookout for small cracks in the frame that bed bugs could live in.
  • The bedding - You should also closely check the bedding for signs of bed bugs, including pillows, sheets, duvets, etc.

Check areas around the bed

After you've full inspected the bed, it is important to closely examine the area surrounding the bed. Bed bugs are extremely resourceful and will infest just about anything, given the opportunity. The more intense the infestation is, the more likely it is for areas besides the bed to be infested. They can hide behind or underneath almost anything, so a thorough inspection of all of the surrounding furniture and the room itself is important.

Take the time to check the following areas in your room:

  • Bedside Cabinets - The items closest to the bed will be the most likely to be infested.
  • Wardrobes & dressers - Bed bugs are known to hitch a ride on clothes.
  • Pictures - Bed bugs haven even been found on picture frames and other wall adornments.
  • Furniture - All furniture in the room should be inspected, including the seams and cushions of couches, sofas and chairs. When inspecting, remove any furniture covers.

Be sure to check luggage

Your luggage is a bed bug's one way ticket to a new home, full of potential human hosts. Be sure to store luggage safely when in a hotel, such as a bathroom, but then be sure to inspect it when you get home. Bed bugs are most commonly transported into new places via luggage. Follow the below tips to properly check your bags for bed bugs.

  • Closely examine the webbing and seams on the exterior of your bags
  • If you're storing your bags on luggage stands, inspect the joints of the stand for bed bugs.
  • If bed bugs are discovered on your luggage, it is important to cover them in a plastic bag until they can be properly laundered.

Western Exterminator bed bug control specialists know how to find bed bugs around your home and property. We use the latest effective and advanced methods of location and prevention. Get rid of bed bugs today by contacting us and setting up our free property inspection.

Western Exterminator removes bed bug infestations

Western Exterminator specialists are highly trained experts in the field of pest control and bed bug control. They can spot the hard-to-see signs of a bed bug infestation. Our specialists know where bed bugs can hide and they may hide in places you may not expect. We also know the difference between bed bugs, roaches, carpet beetles and other insects often confused with bed bugs.

Western Exterminator has the latest treatment methods to get rid of a bed bug infestation by removing the insects during all life stages. Contact your local Western Exterminator office for a property inspection and to discuss bed bug treatments.


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