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How to Identify a Bed Bug

The nightmare begins when a bed bug finds its way into your clothing. It can happen anywhere. Finding bed bugs in your house is not a sign of poor hygiene. It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride in your clothing, suitcase or furniture to infect your house. They can hide in clothing, towels, pillows, blankets etc. Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects that live on human blood. They suck blood from their human hosts with their piercing mouthparts. They do not, however, transmit blood-related diseases. Bed bugs are difficult to detect, since they only leave their hiding places at night, when they come out to feed. Bed bugs can go for a few days without feeding, so don't think that just because you haven't been bitten one night, they're gone. You'll know that you have bed bugs when you see red bug bites on your body. The bites can vary from small puncture marks to large red bumps. You may also notice red blood spots on your sheet or mattress. Below you will find a list of facts about bed bugs and some ways to identify them.

  • Bed bugs are flat, brown, wingless insects that are about ¼ inch (.64 centimeters) long.
  • Bed bugs have six shiny reddish-brown legs. After they have fed, their legs will appear swollen and dark brown in color.
  • Bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye.
  • Bed bugs feed on human blood, mainly when you're sleeping.
  • Bed bugs don't carry diseases.


Bed bugs may hide in the following places, besides in your bed and bedding:

  • In sofa seams
  • In cracks in the bed frame or head board
  • Under chairs and beds
  • Under rugs, drawers, baseboards and curtains
  • Behind light switches and electrical outlet plates
  • In televisions, clocks and telephones
  • In backpacks and sleeping bags
  • Behind torn wallpaper [sources: Bed Bugs, Living with Bugs]