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Clean Bed Bugs Pictures to Help You Identify Them

Clean Bed Bugs Pictures to Help You Identify Them

Bed bugs are one of the worst pests that can infest a home.

You can usually tell if you have bed bugs by the itchy red bites they leave, but some don’t leave marks at all.

In those cases, you can only tell by seeing bed bugs yourself, and with this guide on bed bug pictures, you’ll be able to do just that.

Distinguishing Features

Sometimes, it can be challenging to identify a bug when you only see it briefly. However, bed bugs have a few distinguishing features that can help you identify them.

Size and Shape

To show what bed bugs look like, such a bug crawls on a piece of carpet in a close-up picture

Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock

Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies, about four or five millimeters in size. Though young bed bugs, called nymphs, are the size of a pin, adults are visible to the naked eye.

You might often see them in the cracks and crevices of walls or the nooks and crannies of furniture.


For a piece on bed bugs pictures, two such bugs crawling away from each other in brown color

7th Son Studio/Shutterstock

Adult bed bugs are brown, though their bodies become red after feeding on human blood.

Newly hatched nymphs, on the other hand, are white or tan before feeding.


Picture of a bed bug feeding on a human hand through hair

Pavel Krasensky/Shutterstock

Bedbugs are primarily nocturnal creatures and feed near dawn, though they can adjust depending on when you’re awake.

They bite into their host’s skin and feed for several minutes, shifting their position if they’re disturbed, which is why bed bug bites tend to appear in rows.

Lifecycle of a Bed Bug

Bed bugs picture of various stages of the life cycle

Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock

After hatching, bed bugs go through five different life stages, during which they grow increasingly large.

The youngest bed bugs are about 1.5 millimeters in size, while the oldest are about 5.5 millimeters.


Close up bed bugs pictures showing eggs and droppings in the corner of a bed frame


Bed bug eggs are very small, being no larger than a pinhead.

However, if you do see one, you can recognize it by its pearly color and possible “eye spot”—a dark spot in the egg that appears if it’s over five days old.


Bed bugs nymphs picture under a microscope on a white fabric surface


After bed bugs hatch, they become nymphs. They start this stage at about 1.5 millimeters in size but go through four larval life stages.

During each life stage, they grow 1 millimeter. By the end of this life phase, nymphs measure around 4.5 millimeters.


Picture of an adult bed bug crawling on a grey and blue sheet

Akos Nagy/Shutterstock

By the time they reach adulthood, bed bugs measure around 5.5 millimeters long.

How to Spot Bed Bugs

People often confuse bed bugs with other pesky bugs.

Check for these telltale signs that the insects in your home are truly bed bugs.


Beg bugs picture of adults crawling on a wooden frame with a fabric overlay

Siman Berenyi/Shutterstock

As their name suggests, bed bugs frequently inhabit mattresses and box springs.

But they are just as common in various other places, including pillows, curtains, and crevices, so be vigilant if you think you have an infestation (more on that in a moment).


For a piece on bed bugs pictures, a close-up image of an adult bug on a linen surface


Unlike many other insects, bed bugs do not fly.

However, they are extremely agile and can move quickly across floors, walls, and ceilings.

How to Search for Bed Bugs

Guy who read our guide on bed bugs pictures looking for these bugs after lifting the sheet on a mattress

Mike Focus/Shutterstock

Because bed bugs are elusive, it’s good to be thorough.

Use a flashlight to increase visibility and run a flat-edged object over things in your bedroom—your mattress, the insides of drawers, curtains, etc.—to detect and sweep away bed bugs.

Be sure to check crevices!

What Are Bed Bugs Commonly Mistaken For?

Bed bugs are fairly similar in appearance to cockroaches and carpet beetles. However, a close examination reveals that they are typically distinguishable by their oblong shape and ruddy color.


Picture of signs of bed bugs on a mattress in the corner with bug droppings


Bed bugs leave several signs to indicate their presence. Most notably, you might find small blood spots on your sheets or pillows from where they’ve bitten you.

However, you also might see rust-colored excrement, milky white eggs, or shed skins on your mattress or the underside of your bed.


Bed bug bites picture showing a number of red spots on the front of someone's body

Bed bug bites are very easily confused with mosquito bites; they are small red welts that might be anywhere on your body.

For that reason, you usually need to be able to see a bedbug to confirm that you’ve been bitten by one. 


Close up bed bug picture of such a bug on a dark blue pillowcase

Matthew R McClure/Shutterstock

Bed bugs have a distinctive smell—they give off a musty or sweet odor produced by glands on the underside of their body.

If your room has an unidentified smell matching that description, you might have a bed bug infestation on your hands.

Getting Help Identifying a Bed Bug

Picture of a bed bug crawling on a piece of wood


If you feel uncertain about whether the bug you’re seeing is a bed bug, try giving a call to the National Pesticide Information Center’s county extension offices.

These offices are connected to resources at state university entomology departments and can help you identify a possible bed bug.

Where Are Bed Bugs Found?

If you’re suspicious of a bed bug infestation, check the following areas for these tiny intruders:.

Where Do Bed Bugs Live?

Picture of a bed bug crawling on a raised piece of fabric

7th Son Studio/Shutterstock

Bedbugs are very adaptable and can make their home in a wide variety of places.

You’ll typically find them in shelters, hotels, and other places where many people travel, and they can hide in books, phones, radios, carpets, or even outlets.

What Places Are Likely to Get Bed Bugs?

For an example of a bed bug picture, such a bug crawls on an uncovered mattress

Simon Berenyi/Shutterstock

You can find bed bugs across the United States, most commonly in major cities throughout the East, West, and Southwest.

While areas of the Midwest and Great Plains do not see bed bugs as commonly, infestations are still possible.

Why Are Bed Bugs So Common?

Professionals exterminated bed bugs for decades following World War II with DDT, a pesticide that is very hazardous to humans.

It was later banned, causing the bed bug population to recover to the level it maintains today.

Things to Consider

Because bed bugs are both persistent and adaptable, it can be challenging to get rid of them. However, here are a few things to consider to help you end your infestation:

  • Bed bug bites are commonly confused with mosquito bites. However, you can often tell the difference by noting whether there’s any pattern to the bites; if there are a line of multiple bites, then you’ve been bitten by bedbugs.
  • After finding bed bugs, clean your linens, curtains, and clothes in hot water and tumble dry them on high. 
  • Vacuum your bed and the surrounding area often, but before you do that, make sure to scrub the mattress with a stiff brush to dislodge the bed bugs.
  • After you vacuum, empty the vacuum into a trash can and immediately put it outside—you don’t want the bed bugs to escape!
  • Wrap your mattress in a tight, zippered cover for at least one year. Since bed bugs can live up to one year without feeding, this will starve out any who remain in your bed.
  • Frequently check your plaster and wallpaper to make sure there are no places where bed bugs can hide.
  • Remove clutter from around your bed.
  • Consider disposing of your mattress and buying a new one entirely, but clean your entire home before purchasing a new one so that you don’t get a new infestation.
  • You often need chemical agents to eliminate bed bug infestations, but make sure you’re using one with a specific label that notes it’s safe for mattresses and linens.
  • If all else fails, hire an exterminator. They’ll be able to take extreme measures to take care of your bedbug infestation.

Final Thoughts

Though bed bugs are pesky pests, identifying them is crucial to removing an infestation from your home. In particular, be on the lookout for tiny, red-brown, oblong bugs and their whitish-yellow spawn.

If you find any of the signs of bed bug infestation that we mentioned previously, be vigilant for the bugs or their eggs around your space, and when in need, always be ready to give a call to a local pest control expert.