How Big Are Bed Bugs? How To Identify And Get Rid Of Them | Kidadl

FOR AGES 3 YEARS TO 18 YEARS

How Big Are Bed Bugs? How To Identify And Get Rid Of Them

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

Bed bugs may be the size of an apple seed but can be a nuisance at night when you retire for bed after a long day.

Bed bugs are insects belonging to the Cimex genus and primarily depend on bloodmeals as their source of food. They can be found occupying not only beds as their name suggests, but also various furniture around homes and typically feed at night. 

Bed bug bites have been known to result in several health issues, psychological effects, as well as allergic reactions. Bed bug infestations are common all around the globe and they are known to be human parasites. However, the increase of this bed bug nuisance has been observed since the 1990s and the exact cause behind this is unclear.

The name of these pests has been derived from their habit of inhabiting beds and feasting on human blood while humans sleep. Bed bugs are oval-shaped and their diet typically consists of blood and they require a regular blood meal to thrive. Humans are not the only ones targeted by bed bugs, they also tend to attack various warm-blooded animals, which includes birds and poultry. 

 Bed bugs are great travelers and have been known to hitchhike for long distances. Adult bed bugs, latch onto travel gear like clothes, and suitcases and stay in hiding until they reach a proper place to lay eggs, and then raise their young and feed on a blood meal. This is the primary reason why there is a rapid spread of bed bugs. A bed bug egg is the size of a pinhead and is hard to spot because of this. Furthermore, it is difficult to identify bed bug bites, as they are often mistaken for being bitten by different pests. This allows the bed bug populations to often go unnoticed making them grow and thrive even more.  

In this article, you will find a detailed description of bed bugs, bed bug eggs and what they are shaped like, adult bed bugs, stages of a bed bug life cycle, the actual size of a bed bug to the naked eye, identification of a bed bug, bed bug infestation and the early signs of bed bugs infestations. We will also cover what bed bugs and bed bug bites typically look like, their shape, bed bugs size, bed bugs' bite-size, and how to get rid of the bed bug nuisance with the pest control services of professionals. We’ll cover each stage of the life cycle of these insects and the ideal temperatures where a bed bug egg typically tends to hatch and grow into nymphs and adult bed bugs, what these pests keep feeding on, how to bring a bed bug infestation under control, and many more interesting facts about an adult bed bug.

If you liked our article on bed bugs and how to control a bed bug infestation? You can check out other similarly interesting articles like how do amphibians breathe? And how do animals hibernate?

How big are bed bugs compared to other insects?

The size of bed bugs depends from insect to insect.

Bed bugs often get overlooked due to their bites being confused with several insects. Fleas happen to be the most common insect that people confuse with bed bugs. Bed bugs and flea infestations are hard to distinguish because both of these pests bite.

Bed bugs and flea infestations can be a challenging feat to bring under control because both bed bugs and fleas will multiply and thrive on a regular blood meal from humans and animals. These parasites use their tiny size as well as their ability to infest homes by using hitchhiking to their full advantage.

Both the flea and the bed bug have reddish-brown coloring and despite being tiny, they can be spotted easily. The main difference between these two is their shape. Bed bugs are oval-shaped and flat whereas fleas have narrow and long bodies, which look flattened.

Both bed bugs and fleas rely on their regular blood meal, which they get from animals. Bed bugs prefer human blood over animals, whereas, fleas prefer the blood of animals like pet cats or dogs.

Another major difference between these insects is their method of travel. Bed bugs are known to crawl slowly and cannot jump or fly. They rely greatly on their hitchhiking ability to infest an area. Fleas on the other hand can jump and fly due to their naturally strong legs and usually travel by leaping long distances.

It is important to note that only finding bites is not adequate to identify as the indication of bed bugs or fleas because it cannot be identified with the appearance of the bite.

How to identify bed bugs?

Bed bugs are oval-shaped and have a reddish-brown color and an average bed bug size reaches from 3 mm as nymphs to 0.25 in (.63 cm) long in adults. 

A bed bug nymph is brown and flat before feeding and becomes more swollen, elongated, and a redder color after a blood meal. Bed bugs possess two antennae and six legs and do not have wings to fly.

Adult bed bugs can be spotted by the naked human eye and can be detected in furnishings, box springs, and mattress seams. However, a bed bug nymph is harder to spot because of its small size and pale color.

The first signs of these insects are people complaining about bed bug bites that occur during their sleep. If the bites continue over time, it is wise to examine the rooms to check if bed bugs have infested them. Adult bed bug families and nymphs are likely to hide in a bed mattress or linens where the eggs of the bed bug are laid. The eggs of bed bugs are tiny and look like pale poppy seeds. If insects like bed bugs have infested your home, keep a lookout for rust-colored bedbug droppings that you will find staining clothes and mattresses and is most likely to produce an odor that smells like coriander.

It is important to learn how to identify a bed bug infestation on bedding and room furniture.

How to get rid of bed bugs?

To get rid of bed bug infestations, the identification of the pest that infested your home is important and so is clearing out the areas they have infested.

These bloodsucking insects rely on their blood meal from humans and other warm-blooded mammals. Indicators of bed bugs are not a sign of dirtiness because bed bugs can travel from anywhere to infest your home. You will find this bed pest hiding in several places around your home including your bed, and since a bed bug infestation is not easy to deal with yourself, it is best to contact professional help from pest control services.

The eggs of a bed bug look like poppy seeds and their droppings usually leave a dark red stain on cloth material. Other insects, like fleas and carpet beetles, are often mistaken for bed bugs. Misidentification of bed bugs will lead to the wrong treatment of the wrong pest infestation and can lead to worse nightmares.

Remove excess clutter accumulated in your house, as this will give the bed bug population fewwer places to hide. Some pest control services require you to pull your furniture away from your walls before they can investigate the actual area where the bed bugs have infested while other companies will ask you to leave everything wherever it is to do the routine check themselves.

It has been discovered by Ohio State University scientists that combining chemical signals of a bed bug with any common agent for insect control is capable of turning it into an effective treatment for clearing your home out of bugs.

What do bed bugs look like?

A bed bug is a small, wingless insect that is brown in color and can be easily identified by the naked eye.

They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals and humans are their favorite hosts. An average bed bug size is tiny and is usually a reddish-brown color. A bed bug may be tiny but is visible to the naked human eye. Bed bug nymphs are usually paler than the dark reddish-brown body of the adults and the eggs look akin to poppy seeds.

Two of these insect species feed on human blood and are called Cimex hemipterus and Cimex lectularius. They have also been reportedly found in ancient Egyptian tombs, as old as 3,500 years ago. A newborn bed bug is called a nymph or a hatchling, which is tinier in size and shape than the adults but can be well spotted. These insects grow up to be about 0.3 in (0.6 cm) long with a flattened oval shape when they are not feeding. After they feed themselves, they can grow double in size and their color can change from light tan to deep brown or orange. After they are fed, a black blob can be seen appearing inside their body. All stages of the bed bugs that is, eggs, nymphs, and adults are quite tiny in size but are easily visible to the naked eye.

Bed bugs' preferred choice of habitat is in the homes of humans especially in soft places with good hiding spaces like the bed, sofas, clothes, and other furnishings. They also thrive in the dark because they generally feed when there is no light to avoid being spotted and also to seek shelter when they are disturbed.

Effects Of Bed Bug Bites

Normally, bed bug bites look like reddish bumps on the skin are quite itchy, and can even lead to an allergic reaction or a severe skin reaction.

The bed bug species prefer the dark and hence are mainly active during the night when they feed on blood by biting the arms, legs, and other body parts of unsuspecting sleeping people. The most common signs of skin issues caused by bed bugs are lesions which can be about 2–5 mm in length and can be as large as two centimeters in diameter. The bite area can be observed on exposed areas of skin, especially which are not typically covered by blankets. This includes the legs, arms, face, feet, or neck. The reaction to these bites depends from person to person and can range from being a small spot that is flat in shape around the bite area, to prominent blisters of a big size called the wheals and bullae that might lead to intense itching for several days. The lesions or bites can also be secondarily infected because of scratching and a central spot of bleeding may result because of the blood-thinning substances present in the saliva of the bug and might need professional medical treatment.

Numerous bed bug bites may cause red rashes or even hives and may even lead to chronic psychological problems like stress and anxiety attacks due to sleep difficulties. Several other symptoms may occur from either the bite of the bed bugs or from their exposure. For some individuals, it can also lead to severe allergic reactions, which further include anaphylaxis. Infestation over a long period of time may also lead to severe anemia because the bed bugs' sting draws blood from its host. A bite can also cause various types of skin infection and numerous bites may lead to systemic poisoning, and may in very rare cases trigger an asthma attack as well. Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases and infections despite being physically able to carry pathogens. Their bite may cause pain and poor work performance as a result of bad sleep and also lead to anxiety.

Bed bugs also feed on other mammals, which include pets. When it comes to your pets, the bed bug signs can be determined by the bites that are left by them and can result in identical symptoms to that of humans. Bed bugs are also known to thrive in poultry sheds and may cause anemia causing a reduction in egg production by hens.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how big are bed bugs? Then why not take a look at how do birds find worms, or how do dolphins sleep?

Rajnandini is an art lover and enthusiastically likes to spread her knowledge. With a Master of Arts in English, she has worked as a private tutor and, in the past few years, has moved into content writing for companies such as Writer's Zone. Trilingual Rajnandini has also published work in a supplement for 'The Telegraph', and had her poetry shortlisted in Poems4Peace, an international project. Outside work, her interests include music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading. She is fond of classic British literature.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?