Homeowners are feeling the impact of their presence, and unhappily report a rise in infestation rates. With all of this bed bug paranoia floating around, it is understandable to be cautious, but do you even know what a bed bug looks like? Before you go throwing out your furniture, follow this guide to correctly identifying bed bugs, and if all else fails, bringing in the professionals.
Bed Bugs or Other Bugs?“Good night, sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite!”-
This old bedtime rhyme would be more helpful if you knew what the heck you were looking for. There are all sorts of nasty critters that want to take a bite out of you while you are sleeping. It is common to mistake bed bug bites for bites from small spiders, fleas, or mosquitoes, since any one of these bugs leave a characteristic red welt on the skin of their victims.
Bed bugs themselves are commonly mistaken for other insects, and vice versa. They are said to resemble roaches, and many people often mistake them for tiny roaches. Sometimes they are even mistaken for ticks. There are many other bugs that they can be confused with, so a proper identification is essential.
Bed Bug Characteristics – What You Should Know about Bed BugsThere are several identifying factors that can help you weed out other bugs as the culprit for your bites:
- Unlike other biting insects, bed bugs will take advantage of all your fleshy bits. That means that whatever skin is exposed-whether it be your neck, arms, face, legs, etc. - the bed bug will bite it. If you wake up with bites in odd places, it may be bed bugs.
- Bed bugs do not stay attached to their host after feeding, so you will not find bed bugs on you or near you. They scurry to a safe hiding spot to digest their meals, namely under your bed frame or behind your headboard.
- Rusty brown or red flecks of dried blood will show up on or around your mattress if there are bed bugs. These flecks are bed bug droppings. Bed bugs also shed skin, and leave papery thin, light tan skins around the bed.
- Bed bugs are about ¼ of an inch long as adults, and have oval, flattened bodies.
- Bed bugs range in color from light tan or whitish in their early stages, to brown or burnt orange in their adult years.
- Bed bugs do not have wings, and they cannot fly.
- The blood of a bed bug’s victim appears in their bodies as a deep red or black upon feeding, and their once flattened bodies take on a much rounder shape.
Tips for Identifying Bed BugsIt is important to be entirely sure that you have live bed bugs in your home before going through with extermination procedures. Just because evidence of bed bugs are present doesn’t mean that the bugs themselves are still inhabiting your home, so make sure you correctly identify a living bed bug before taking any further steps.
Once you find a bug and you want to make certain that it is a bed bug, sending the specimen to an entomologist will provide you with accurate results so that you will know what needs to be done next. You can locate an expert at your local University, or you may send it off to a national research facility.