San Antonio's Bed Bug Identification Guide

2/7/2020

When you find a bug in your home, it may be difficult to figure out what it is. An insect that is often seen and brushed off, quite literally, is the bed bug. The reason for this is that most people think they know what a bed bug looks like. Or they think bed bugs are too small to see. Let's take a look at these two misconceptions and talk about what we all should know about bed bug identification.

a bed bug crawling along the guest sheets

What does a bed bug look like?

You've probably seen the pictures. Bed bugs are oval insects with crease lines across their abdomens. They are a rusty brown color. They have six legs, three body parts, and two antennae. They have transparent skins that allow you to see the black feces coating their internals. And they're a bit shiny. That is what you are likely to think if you've seen bed bugs on a news report. But those are adult bed bugs and most adult bed bugs only come out to feed at night when carbon dioxide levels rise. The bed bugs you're likely to see are newly hatched, baby bugs. Not adults.

Is it a bed bug?

When a bed bug first hatches, it is called an immature nymph. These nymphs have six legs, two antennae, and three body parts, just like adult bed bugs. They also have transparent skins, just like adult bed bugs. But an immature nymph looks quite a bit different. A newly hatched bed bugs is a pale color. As it develops, it becomes tan, orange and eventually the rusty brown color you expect to see. If an immature nymph has had a blood meal (or is having a blood meal on your skin while you're looking at it) it will have a bright red abdomen. Therefore, what you're looking for isn't a rusty brown-colored insect, you're looking for a pale or tan insect with a bright red abdomen.  

Are bed bugs too small to see?

It is commonly believed that bed bugs are too small to see. While they are certainly small and hard to see, they aren't invisible to the naked eye. A newly hatched nymph is about 1mm long. That is super small, but you can still see it. As it develops through its 5 instars, a bed bug will grow. Eventually, it will be around 4.5 mm in length. Again, that's pretty small, but you won't have any trouble seeing one unless you have vision issues. If you do have trouble with your vision, be sure to teach your children or grandchildren to detect bed bugs for you. Detection is vital for the early elimination of bed bugs.

Other Ways to Detect Bed Bugs

When bed bugs get into a home, the insects aren't usually the first sign of an infestation. Even immature nymphs don't prefer to feed during the day. Most of the time, bed bugs stay in hiding. What you will see first are the signs of bed bug activity.

  • As bed bugs pass from one instar to the next, they shed their skins. These skins are an indication that you have bed bugs in your home.
  • Bed bugs leave their black excrement in many places.
  • Bed bugs often push a little blood out with their excrement. This will create tan stains near the black stains. You may sometimes just see tan (dried blood) stains.
  • Bed bugs lay tiny white eggs in batches. If you find a small batch of eggs, you may have a bed bug problem.
  • Bed bugs bite. At first, bite wounds are slight. Over time, they turn from small red marks to large red, itchy welts. A single bed bug will bite multiple times in a row. This creates bites that look like they follow a path across the skin.

Bed Bug Control

If you're seeing bed bugs or noticing signs of bed bug activity, it is time to call a licensed professional. Bed bugs are very difficult to exterminate without training and experience. If you need assistance with this in San Antonio, reach out to us. We can help with your bed bug control needs.

Tags: bed bugs | bed bug control | home pest control |

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