A common mistake in discovering bugs in the home is to assume that they are bed bugs. While you can understand this due to the recent uptick in infestations, it is important to recognize the bugs you see and correctly identify them. This is before taking action or asking for assistance. When you see bugs in your room and suspect an infestation, how can you tell that these are what you think?
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like & Pests They’re Often Confused With
Bed bugs are tiny, the estimated size of an apple seed. They are very flat, allowing them to hide in tiny spaces like mattress seams and cracks in wood floors. Get ready for them to come out at night when you are sleeping or sitting still, which is when they feed on your blood.
See them as reddish-brown after a meal. When not eating, their color can vary from gold to dark red depending on how recently they have been feeding.
Bed bugs do not have wings but they can move fast over floors and through furniture. This is true in recent infestations where you see bed bugs moving in groups or clusters in a zigzag pattern as a result of competing for nesting areas.
Identifying Bed Bugs
In general, young bed bugs are smaller than their adult counterparts. They are translucent or whitish-yellow and when not recently fed, they can become invisible to the eye. Coloring along with its tiny size that most people will never notice on your skin unless there is an infestation. At which point, it may take some serious professional intervention.
Bed bugs are annoying little critters that can ruin your day. These “true bug” characteristics include a beak with three segments; antennae consisting of four parts each (the forepart has one more), wings not used for flying, and short golden hairs all over their body.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are sneaky little bugs that frequently go unnoticed until they turn into an infestation. You might see their exoskeletons after molting or tiny brownish spills of their droppings. These will dry up and appear as tiny black spots on your mattress. They also leave small blood stains when feeding.
When you suspect bed bugs, do not panic because experience counts in identifying what you see. The more experience you have with bugs, the better equipped you are at correctly diagnosing them. When it turns out a minor pest problem, you can tackle it yourself without needing outside assistance from pest control professionals.
Where Bed Bugs Like to Hide
In a typical infestation, bugs crawl into your bed or other furniture around it. They may appear along the edge of carpeting near where you sleep. When they are in an apartment, bugs can travel through ductwork and wall voids to get at you. Your mattress will display most signs of bugs here. That is where they like to feed on blood while you are stationary during sleep hours at night.
Bugs also drop feces as they move across flooring so look for these tiny spots wherever bugs might congregate. Mattress creases, the space between box springs and your mattress itself, under loose wallpaper hanging off walls behind furniture or tack strips, boxes stored underneath beds or elsewhere in closets – bugs can turn up anywhere!
Bed Bug Bites
Unlike other bugs that bite you, bed bugs feed on your blood. They do not inject venom when they bite so there is no swelling or redness around the wound. You may even have a delayed reaction to bed bugs while your skin turns up with tiny bumps hours after biting you. This can occur in some people even when they never knew bugs were at work on them.
Bugs live by sucking your blood and this comes from their beak. It has needle-like tubes inside that cut into the skin to get at the blood underneath. Injects saliva into the wound which can cause itching, irritation, and small welts on the skin where bugs bit you.
Bed Bug Feeding
Adult bugs can survive up to a year without feeding. They will feed as soon as they sense your body heat and/or exhaled carbon dioxide. Mouthparts are like drills that penetrate the skin, inject saliva to stop blood clotting, and suck out the blood underneath. Your bugs may feed for five minutes or longer depending on how hungry they are and how much blood flows into their bodies.
Bed bugs do not carry diseases but something is disconcerting about bugs feeding on your blood while you sleep! Some people never feel them biting due to anesthetic in their saliva and this makes it easier for bugs to keep eating away at you.
Stages of Bed Bugs
Crawling bugs are the first stage. They shed their skin as they grow bigger as other bugs do. You will find their old exoskeletons on or near your bed after they moved on to the next stage. It includes egg-laying and molting. New bugs look like adults except they are smaller, whitish-translucent, and lack fully-developed wings.
The most dangerous bugs are eggs hatching into young bugs because there is no telling where these new bugs will go before they mature. One female can lay up to five eggs per day which develop in about two weeks. When you discover bugs, this means you have an infestation that needs immediate attention from expert pest control professionals.
Favorable Conditions for Bed Bugs
Outdoors bugs thrive in dry climates and die off when it is too cold. Indoor bugs need a water supply as small as a moist paper towel so they can live where you sleep. This helps control bugs as spiders and ants love to feed on them.
Removing bed bugs requires fumigation of your living space including walls, floors, and any wood or plywood surfaces. Move your belongings into storage and keep them there until finished with extermination and your living space is safe again.
Bugs That Look Like Bed Bugs
Familiarize with nine types of bugs that appear similar to bed bugs. Below is a guide:
Cockroaches look like bed bugs until they mature. They are reddish-brown and flattened to fit into small spaces and run fast! You can mistake bed bugs for baby cockroaches when they shed their skin. It looks the same so check bugs carefully before killing them.
The easiest way to tell the difference between baby cockroaches and adults is by looking at their wings. On an infant roach, you will only see a hard shell whereas adults can also show some pretty cool color patterns.
Booklice are tiny bugs that look like bed bugs before they grow. They do not bite you but eat mold, fungi, and algae. You can find them in damp areas of the house, at the corners of your ceilings, window sills, dark spaces behind walls, or under furniture.
They are similar to bed bugs in many ways. But they stand apart from them mainly because of their shape. The long and thin body is more like that of an insect termite with large antennae sticking out behind its head as well. That is when compared side-by-side next to the small wings which booklice do not have at all!
You will find bugs the size of bed bugs but these do not bite you and feed on fabric and natural fibers. They can give your expensive clothes a musty texture that is annoying to people who enjoy wearing their favorite outfits as much as possible.
Carpet beetles are one of those bugs you want around your home since they help kill bugs like cockroaches, moths, and others which destroy your fabrics. Your clothes become covered in fuzz after bugs make a meal out of them! You can tell carpet beetles apart from bed bugs by looking at their antennae and head area. They have three distinct parts: a middle section between two outer sections shaped like handles on a coffee mug.
Spiders beetles are bugs that resemble bed bugs as adults. They become reddish-brown and flatten themselves so they can hide in cracks and crevices. The female bugs lay their white eggs on the surface of fabrics including fibers, wood, paper, and stuffed furniture.
They belong to a family of bugs called dermestids which include larder and carpet beetles. Their larvae develop quickly into active bugs with shiny brown hairs covering their tiny round bodies about one millimeter wide. These bugs feed on dried materials such as dead insects, skins from snakes or lizards, wool clothing, leather boots, or shoes left out to dry flat after washing them inside out before wearing them again.
Bat bugs hatch from eggs that female bugs lay who long ago fed on blood from a bat or another small mammal with fur or feathers. Infestations start indoors when bugs move in after bringing the animal inside to show symptoms of rabies.
Prevention requires inspecting items folks wear outdoors such as shoes, hats, and clothing before bringing them into your home. Bats have symptoms of rabies which they can pass onto people they bite.
Ticks are bugs that you can confuse with bed bugs when you examine their body parts. They have six legs, a head, and a central section where two antennae stick out from behind their head.
They feed on the blood of animals and you which is why they carry dangerous diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Their bodies turn reddish after feeding until they turn brown and fall off to hide in dark spaces.
Fleas are bugs with similarities to bed bugs in many ways. Their adults have a roundish outer section with legs sticking out from underneath. But their babies look more like tiny versions of ticks at the beginning stage of development which you will see when examining them carefully.
The biggest difference between fleas and bed bugs is that baby bugs start feeding on blood immediately after birth. That is instead of waiting until later in life as bugs do after they transform from eggs to nymphs.
Head lice bugs like to live on the human head. They lay their eggs inside the hair where you cannot easily detect them. That is until around three weeks after bugs mate and lay eggs which turn into white nits stuck onto the hair shafts.
These bugs feed on blood sucked from your scalp by female bugs who lack mouthparts for chewing. The bugs cause itching, red bumps, and rashes when they bite you behind your ears or near your temples.
Mites are bugs that compare to bed bugs as adults except for their coloration. They come in many varieties such as red bugs, brown bugs, and yellow bugs.
Adult mites feed on the liquid contents of bugs like bed bugs and ticks after injecting them with saliva containing anesthetic drugs. They lay their eggs inside stuffed animals or clothes made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton which you recycle to make new clothing instead of throwing them out.
Have a Bed Bug Problem
Cimex lectularius bugs feed on blood when they are adults. Their bites cause itchy bumps on your arms, legs, or face after bugs use their saliva-containing anesthetic drugs to numb the spot where they bite you up to two hours later. Some individuals develop allergic reactions in response to bed bugs which show symptoms in red bumps that itch and hurt too much when you scratch them.
Bed bugs can cause infections when their bites get infected with bacteria. You will see bugs and their eggs inside your bedding, mattresses, floors, walls, and ceilings.
When to Call a Professional Bed Bug Exterminator?
Call your local pest control company when bugs continue to infest your home even after you use DIY traps and do-it-yourself sprays for bugs. A professional exterminator knows how to inspect the inside of walls, floors, and ceilings for bugs. They also know which insecticides work best compared to others so they can bring them under control fast! That is without posing risks to you or anyone else living in your household.
With all of these bugs that resemble bed bugs, it is a challenge to identify the real ones. Follow this guide to know the differences between them and recognize bed bugs more accurately.