What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Have you ever had that uncomfortable experience of waking up in the morning with strange, red, itchy dots all over your body?

Did that happen in your bedroom or hotel room, worsening every morning?

If that’s the case, it might have been a sign of a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs can live anywhere, even in five-star hotels, and it’s vital to recognize them and call professionals immediately. Bed bugs can spread quickly and can cause an allergic reaction that usually requires medical attention.

Let’s take a look at what bed bugs are, how to recognize them, and what to do if you find bed bugs in your home or in your belongings.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, tear-like insects that can live in many places (wherever humans reside), and they usually hide in beds, couches, chairs, carpets, dressers, or other household furniture.

They survive by feeding on human blood, often leaving behind blood stains on sheets or pillows. You may also find rust-like stains, which are typically the bugs’ feces.

These pests can also go days or even months without food, so if they have stopped biting you, it doesn’t mean that they’ve disappeared. They also reproduce incredibly fast and are difficult to exterminate, so it is vital to check all cracks and crevices in your furniture since those are the places they commonly choose for shelter.

How Can You Recognize a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs can be as small as 1 mm or 0.04 inches (eggs) and as big as 4.5 mm or 0.18 inches (adult nymphs). They can vary in color, depending on their growth stage and how much they are eating. These tear-shaped, wingless, 6 legged insects can be white (eggs), yellow, orange, red, dark red, or even brown. 

Sometimes, it might be difficult to see them (especially young bed bugs, because they are too small). However, they tend to leave traces, such as bloodstains, feces, unusually tiny eggshells, etc.

Bed bugs usually hide in small cracks during the day and search for food at night. Because of that, you should look under your mattress, in wall cracks, under carpets, between couch cushions, or any other places you think they might be hiding.

Also, if you’re visiting a friend or staying at a hotel, check for bed bugs before sleeping there. Bed bugs can stick to your clothes or hide in your suitcase, so you could bring them back to your home if not careful.

To find bed bugs, you can even use tools like a lint roller to determine whether or not you have bed bugs. Roll it over and under your bed, carpet, and couch to see if things such as eggshells or even bugs stick to it.

The key is if the description matches the one above, you may have an infestation on your hands.

How to tell the Difference Between Lint & Bed bugs

Lint and bed bugs can sometimes be mistaken for each other, but there are key differences between the two. 

Here are some important ways to tell them apart:


Lint: Typically made up of small fibers, hair, or other fine debris. It is usually light in color, such as gray or white.

Bed Bugs: Bed bugs are insects that have a distinct appearance. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, flat, and oval-shaped, with six legs, antennae, and a segmented body. They are about the size of an apple seed and can appear darker or lighter in color depending on when they last fed on blood.

Lint is typically found in clothing, bedding, and other fabrics and tends to accumulate in areas where fabrics are used and laundered.

Bed bugs are primarily found in and around sleeping areas, such as mattresses, box springs, headboards, and nearby cracks and crevices. They are not typically found in clothing or fabric debris.

What do Bed Bug Stains Look Like?

Bed bug stains, commonly referred to as fecal stains or droppings, are indicative of a bed bug infestation. They appear as small, dark spots on various surfaces where bed bugs have been active.

These stains are typically reddish-brown to black in color and are often found in clusters or scattered patterns. 

Bed bug stains are concentrated in areas where bed bugs hide or feed, such as along mattress seams, in the folds of upholstered furniture, and in crevices near their harborage areas. When touched with a damp cloth or paper towel, they can smear and leave behind reddish or brown streaks.

Recognizing bed bug stains is essential when conducting inspections for a looming infestation. These stains are a clear sign of bed bug presence and activity, and they can help you identify problem areas that may require thorough treatment and pest control measures. 

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, it is advisable to consult with a professional pest control expert for a comprehensive inspection and effective treatment.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like on Sheets?

Bed bugs on sheets can be challenging to spot due to their small size and ability to blend in with the fabric. Typically, they will appear as tiny, reddish-brown or dark-colored insects. When you find bed bugs on your sheets, they may be in various life stages, including adult bugs, nymphs, and eggs. Nymphs, otherwise known as baby bed bugs can be more difficult to spot as they’re smaller and lighter in color, often translucent or pale yellow, and they resemble smaller versions of the adults. Bed bug eggs are tiny and white, typically about 1 mm in size, and are often found in clusters or rows. 

Eggs are also challenging to spot without close inspection. When bed bugs are present on sheets, they may leave behind reddish-brown or black fecal stains in the form of small, dark spots, which can help indicate their presence.

What Should You Do If You Find Bed Bugs?

Calling a professional as soon as you notice infestation signs is crucial.

If you notice the signs of bed bugs or find live bugs at a hotel or your rented property, you should also contact us immediately. Bed Bug Injury Law can help you determine if you have a case against the hotel or your landlord that our office can assist with.

Take pictures of bed bug signs and potential bites as evidence. If those bites feel worse than a mosquito bite and come with other symptoms such as fever, vertigo, heavy breathing, and nausea, you should seek medical help.

Get in touch with us if you think someone’s negligence has caused an infestation, and we’ll help you see if you have a case.

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