Bed bugs are around 5-7mm long, oval-shaped and flat (although after feeding, they’re a bit bigger), brown/red in color (depending on diet), with tiny hairs all over their bodies (which enable them to fit into tight places).
They live by sucking blood for 3-10 minutes at a time, making sure they get a full meal about every ten days or so. To get blood, they pierce the skin with two hollow tubes which close off while they’re sucking and reopen upon withdrawal.
Adult females lay one-five eggs per day and can lay 200 during a lifetime. They also have an interesting survival tactic where they release a small drop of liquid that makes it look like there’s blood near them when another bed bug tries to feed on them!
How Bed Bugs Infest?
Bed bugs are hitchhikers; they travel from place to place accidentally or via people (clothes, luggage, etc.). They come out mostly at night when you’re sleeping, and if hungry enough will go for your exposed skin. You can also get them by staying in infested places (motels, hotels, etc.) since they travel on people’s clothing.
If you’re reading this before you go to bed and have bed bugs, check your sheets for blood stains or tiny black dots (their poop).
What do bed bugs look like to the human eye?
Can you see bed bugs with the naked eye? The short answer to this question is yes, but they are tiny and not easy to spot with the naked eye.
First of all, there are 500,000 types of bugs globally, 25 of which are classified as bed bugs. Adults range from 1 mm to 7 mm long (1/32-1/4″), depending on their feeding status.
Have you ever seen an ant farm? If so, think about how big the ants look next to their tunnels or that magnifying glass that kids sometimes play with. They look huge, right! Well, that’s because your eyes are used to seeing things up close. If you were to see those ants from afar, they would look tiny, like little specs crawling around.
Bed bugs are the same way. Think of them as tiny specks moving along during activities such as eating and mating (yikes!) But it gets better! Their actual size is even smaller than what you may expect. They are about the same size as a pinhead or – wait for it – a freckle!
Don’t believe me? Here’s an example using two everyday items: a pen and a post-it note. The pen represents a bed bug, and the post-it note represents your skin (both in scale). Or think of this: if you wanted to fill up one of those 2 oz travel shampoo bottles, it would take nearly 500-bed bugs to do so. So the next time you think about how much space 500 bed bugs will take up, remember that they are just tiny specks!
So what does that mean for spotting bed bugs with your naked eye? It means you can’t. You still need a trusty magnifying glass or a microscope to positively ID them.
What Do Bed Bugs Bite Look Like?
Before feeding, bed bugs are flat with soft bodies. But after about three minutes of feeding, their bodies swell and become harder (a sign that it’s time to move on to another meal). Unfortunately for us humans, that swelling is what leaves the telltale signs of a bite; small welts that itch like crazy! Not everyone reacts to bed bug bites, though; if you don’t notice them right away, take a closer look at your skin after you’ve woken up.
Since bed bugs are hardly visible to the human eye, most people don’t notice them until it’s too late! Using a magnifying glass will help you see them, but if all else fails, place white sheets over infested areas and check back in the morning for little brown or red dots (their poop) that they leave behind.
If you have pets, check their beds since bed bugs are known to go wherever they can find food. Bed bug bites usually appear in zigzag lines across the skin, so knowing how to get rid of bedbugs by seeing where this happens can be helpful.
How do You Know if You Have Bed Bugs?
There are a few telltale signs to look out for when you suspect you have bed bugs:
- Ensure there are no other signs of infestation (i.e., bloodstains on your sheets or black dots in the seams).
- Check your sheets each morning after you wake up for swells in the fabric caused by bed bug bites as well as dark brown/red spots that are their poop. You can also use a magnifying glass to see if there are any visible bed bugs or eggs before moving furniture around and checking the seams since this is where they usually hide.
- Take all clothes out of closets and drawers so you can check them thoroughly!
How Do You Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
Getting rid of bed bugs is difficult since they are good at hiding. The best way to get rid of them is to wash your sheets, clothing, etc., in hot water and dry on high heat.
You could also get a mattress encasement, and it has helped me out. Make sure you get a waterproof one, or the bugs might escape through the zippered seams! Considering how pricey these things are (and considering my success with them), they’re well worth it.
If you’re feeling brave, the next step would be to clean your room with a mixture of Borax powder mixed with warm water (this should be done outside). Since bed bugs usually stay near where you sleep, it’s unlikely that this will kill all of them, but it’ll cut back their numbers!
After this, vacuum or steam mop your mattress and box spring before putting everything back together again. It’s also important to remember that you’ve brought bedbugs home, so don’t bring infested clothes/bags into your house again!