Identifying Bedbugs

identifying bedbugs: Bedbug magnified Bedbugs are creatures of the night who lurk in the shadows and shun the light of day. They are so good at keeping out of sight that you can have a full blown infestation and never even spot one. So let us shed some light on these little bedroom monsters, and dispel some of their mystery.

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bedbugs are small, oval-shaped insects, complete with six legs and antennae. As adults, they are normally reddish-brown,5-6mm in length and quite flat.

Bedbug Actual Size: bedbug actual size

However, right after a good meal of blood, they gorge up like a dark red baloon, reaching 10mm in length. You can see this in the video below as a bedbug sucks the blood from my arm!

Bedbug young (known as "nymphs") are smaller, about 1-4mm in length. They are even harder to spot than the adults, not only because they are smaller, but also because they are a whitish, semi-transparent colour... That is until they feed. A nymph after a quick bite also engorges, and turns into a bright blood-red speck on legs.

Bedbug adults and nymphs compared

Above: image of bedbugs, largest bedbugs are adults, small ones are nymphs, top right light coloured debris are bedbug cast skins.

identifying bedbug nymphs: nymph bedbugs are whitish, semi-transparent

Above: image of bedbug nymph magnified

Where To Look For Bedbugs

The closer you are to the bed, the more likely you are to find a bedbug. Start by taking the sheets off the mattress and inspecting the seams of the mattress, under any folds of fabric. Then move on to the nooks and corners of the bedframe. As hard as they are to find, once you get one, it is fairly easy to tell if it is a bedbug or not. While a microscope can help with identifying bedbugs, if you have good eye sight, or a camera with decent macro settings, you can see all you need to know whether you've got a bedbug or a booger. Take a look at the pictures of bedbugs here, or on a quick image search online.

Commonly Mistaken for Bedbugs

Spider Beetle: These can be a bright blood-red colour, which make many people immediately think they are bedbugs. Rest assured, these are not bedbugs, and do not bite.

spider beetles are often mistaken for bedbugs

Larder Beetle Larva: These are common household pests that feed on debris like dead skin or dead animals. They don't bite per se, but their hairs can cause skin irritation and sometimes be mistaken for bites.

larder beetles are often mistaken for bedbugs

Lint, Hair, Dried skin, Boogers, Rocks, Seeds and other debris: it is not uncommon for people to suspect that these are bedbugs. When trying to identify a bedbug, look for symmetry, legs, segmented body parts, etc. 

lintbooger mistaken for bedbugseedrock and debris


Finding bedbugs is difficult, so you should also consider looking for signs & symptoms of a bedbug infestation, and look into how to identify bites. But keep in mind, no other sign or symptom is a definitive as identifying the actual bug.


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Bedbug Survival Guide:Identifying Bedbugs | GoodKnight self-sterilizing bed


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