WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE? OVER 55 BED BUG IMAGES AND PICTURES

WHAT DO BED BUGS LOOK LIKE?

If you’re visiting this page then the chances are you are concerned you might have found bed bugs in your home. Correctly Identifying what you think are bed bugs is vital for treatment purposes as they can be confused with other similar looking bugs.

We’ve put together the very best and most comprehensive set of images you’ll find anywhere on the internet, ranging from bed bug eggs, nymphs, exoskeletons, and adults. You’ll also see what an infestation looks like and the unlikely places you’ll find them.

The bed bug images and pictures below will give you a clearer idea of what they look like, and help you to identify them.

From these images, you’ll see that adult bed bugs are small, long, oval insects similar in shape and size of an apple seed, with six legs and two antennae. If they are unfed they’re a light brown color and flat but once they feed they become a darker brown/reddish color with an engorged and elongated body.

IDENTIFYING FEATURES OF A BED BUG

Head – the bed bug has a short and broad head with distinct eyes that are clearly seen on each side of the head. They have a long proboscis, which is like a beak, that they use similar to how we use a drinking straw, except that it pierces the skin enabling blood to be sucked up for a meal. When not feeding, the proboscis will be tucked back underneath the body. Bed bugs also have two antennae, each having four segments that work together as sensors to locate their blood meal.

Thorax – the thorax is attached to the head and abdomen and enables the body to move. It’s not always easy to distinguish the thorax from the body. The thorax is in three segments and the segment nearest the head is flatter and appears to partly surround the head. The legs and wing pads are also attached to the thorax.

Abdomen – the bed bug has 11 segments on its abdomen which allow the body to expand whilst feeding. After feeding the body will look swollen, elongated and, darker in color. You can also tell if the bed bug is male or female by the shape of this area. The female is larger than the male and has a rounded abdominal tip, whereas the male has a more pointed abdominal tip.

Baby bed bugs, or nymphs, as they are called are semi-translucent and can easily be missed when looking for a potential infestation. However, when they feed their abdomen fills with blood and becomes red in color, making them easier to spot. As they mature they become darker in color. Look at the photos below for an idea of what they look like and what to look for.

Below are over 45 of the best and most comprehensive bed bug images both from the internet and from pictures I’ve taken myself whilst treating infestations.

BED BUG PICTURES CLOSE UP

1. This image is one that I took when treating a bed bug infestation. In this close up you can see the segments on the abdomen and you can also clearly see its six legs as it’s crawling on the bed. In front of the bed bug is a speck of fecal matter and just behind it is an egg. This image is not the actual size of a bed bug, but helps you to identify it if you think you have them.

close up image adult bed bug
close up image adult bed bug

2. This picture is a good example of a bed bug close up. You can see it’s feeding on a person by piercing the skin and sucking up its blood meal through its elongated mouthparts. One particular identifying feature of the bed bug is the eyes, which are situated to the side of the head.

Image of bed bug close up feeding on person and ingesting a blood meal.
Image credit: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack Publicdomainfiles.com

3. Here is another bed bug image from a side view and is feeding on a human. You can see how its body has become engorged and darker in color as it takes in blood.

Picture of adult bed bug close up piercing human skin and feeding.
Image credit: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack, Courtesy: Public Health Image Library publicdomainfiles.com

4. A closer image of number 1 above. Although this picture is a bit blurry, you are still able to see the bed bug’s identifying features.

Photo of adult bed bug crawling on white mattress
close up image bed bug on mattress

5. This frontal view image of the bed bug close up shows it is biting to feed. Notice its body is similar to the shape of an apple seed. In this image, you can clearly see the wing pads which don’t actually develop into wings, so bed bugs cannot fly.

Detailed up close image of bed bug feeding
Image credit: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack

6. A close up photo I took of an infestation where the adults are clustered together. You can see the numerous pearly-white, almost translucent bed bug eggs. The mattress and box spring were heavily infested so allowed me to capture the detailed body of the bed bug.

Close up image of several adult bed bugs surrounded by pearly-white colored bed bug eggs laid on material in box spring
Peststopsolutions.com

7. This is an extremely detailed picture of the head and thorax. Obviously you won’t be able to see this level of detail with the naked eye, but it gives you a good idea of what they look like up close.

Extreme close up photo of bed bug - adult, view of head with eyes to the side and antennae.  Thorax with wing pads visible and adjoining the abdomen.
Image credit: CDC/ CDC-DPDx; Blaine Mathison. Publicdomainfiles.com

 

8. Another close up photo of the dreaded bed bug using its mouthparts to pierce the skin and feed. Notice how the body has become longer as it feeds.


9. This is a great (but rather scary looking) image that was created using a digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM). From this view, you can see the mouthparts of the bed bug which it uses to suck up its blood meal.

Image of bed bug under SEM showing beak like mouthparts
Image credit: Janice Harney Carr, Center for Disease Control [Public domain]

10. This picture is taken from a slide that shows the insect’s body structure.

bed bug close up microscope
bed bug close up microscope Image credit: Adam Cuerden https://commons.wikimedia.org

11. Can you tell the difference between male and female bed bugs? This picture shows a male (left) and a female (right) as well as bed bug eggs. The male’s body is more pointed as this is where the sex organ is, and the female’s body is more of an oval shape and is larger than the male.

 

Picture of male and female bed bugs and two bed bug eggs
Image credit: T Myers/NPMA

12. This photo (magnified picture at the top), although not very clear, shows both a male and female bed bug, as well as bed bug eggs. You can see the fecal matter from the female, which is digested blood.

Male and female bed bugs with eggs and fecal matter from female
Image credit; Flickr.com Lou bugs pics CC Licenses

ACTUAL SIZE OF BED BUGS PICTURES

13. How big is a bed bug? This photo of a bed bug close up shows its size in millimeters. This is an adult and as you can see they are very small so they are excellent at hiding in the smallest of spaces in areas where people are found, such as the bedroom, hotel room, workplaces, etc.

Image showing actual size of bed bug measurement in millimeters.
Image credit: CDC/ CDC-DPDx; Blaine Mathison, Courtesy: Public Health Image Library publicdomainfiles.com

14. This image indicates the size of a bed bug by the scale at the bottom of the picture. Again this is an adult and you can clearly see the segmented parts of the body.

Actual size of bed bug adult with measurement
Flickr.com CC Licenses 2.0 BPCA

15. This is a picture of a bed bug baby, or nymph as they are called. Baby bed bugs can be hard to see as they are semi-translucent and as the measurement scale on the image shows, they are tiny. This baby bed bug has had a blood meal which is the dark area in the abdomen.

Image showing size of baby bed bug after a blood meal against a 1 mm scale measurement
Image showing how small a baby bed bug is. Image credit: CDC Blaine Mathison Publicdomainfiles.com

 

16. This picture shows the size of bed bugs in comparison to the coin. The adult bed bug on the left has an elongated body meaning it has recently fed. If you think you’ve got bed bugs, then just remember this image to see how small they are when searching for them.

Picture of three different sized bed bugs on a dime for actual size comparison
Bed bugs image compared to dime size. Image credit: Patrick Porter, Texas Cooperative Extension, Bugwood.org

 

17. If you look closely at the picture below you’ll see an adult bed bug crawling where the seam of the label joins the box spring. Bed bugs can be found anywhere near the bed, and this shows just how carefully you need to inspect everything as they are so small and can easily be missed.

Image of adult bed bug between the seam and label attached to box spring shows how small they are
Peststopsolutions.com

IMAGES OF BED BUGS FEEDING

18. The image below shows an adult getting its blood meal from a person.

Picture of a bed bug close up feeding on a person
Image credit: CDC/ Donated by the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland publicdomainfiles.com.

19. Another picture of a bed bug crawling on a person’s hand and feeding. It pierces the skin with its elongated beak and injects an anesthetic so you can’t feel the bite, and also an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting so it can feed easily.

Picture of adult bed bug crawling on a person's hand to feed.
Adult bed bug image crawling on hand to feed. Image credit: Flickr.com/ BPCA

20. This is a great bed bug poop photo! Not only is it defecating but it’s also feeding on a human at the same time. The fecal matter is digested blood taken from a person. This image also shows how the bed bug’s body has become engored as it feeds.

Image of bed bug adult feeding on person and expelling digested blood as fecal matter at same time
Image credit: Flickr.com CC licenses/by/2.0/ BPCA

 

21. Another good image of a bed bug feeding and taking a blood meal from a person. You can also see the abdomen has become longer as it fills with blood.

Bed bug close up image of adult bed bug feeding
Creator: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack publicdomainfiles.com.

BABY BED BUG PICTURES

22. Apologies for the blurry image, but sometimes it’s quite difficult to get into spaces and get good photos. This close up image of an infestation shows nymphs in different life stages as their exoskeletons are visible. You can also see two adult bed bugs that have had a blood meal as their abdomen is a darker color.

Close up image of a bed bug infestation in a box spring seam with adults, nymphs, exoskeletons and fecal matter
Peststopsolutions.com

23. If this baby bed bug (nymph) wasn’t feeding and filled with blood, it would be hard to see it due to its level of transparency. Notice the prominent eyes at the side of the head.

Bed bug baby picture bed bug feeding filled with blood
Image credit: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki – http://phil.cdc.gov/phil

24. This baby bed bug has fed as you can see by the dark color in the abdomen.

After each feed, the nymph will molt and leave behind its exoskeleton, which you can see in the top right of this photo. Immature bed bugs will molt five times, each time moving into the next stage of growth (called instars) before reaching adulthood.

Image of bed bug with blood meal in abdomen and shedded exoskeleton nearby.
Image of bed bug and its shedded exoskeleton. Image credit: Verslinykas under Wikipedia: GNU Free Documentation License

25. This image below shows a cluster of bed bug eggs, nymphs, and casings that has been magnified many times.

A newly emerged female nymph will take a blood meal then mate and lay eggs around 3-6 days later. A female bed bug can lay up to 5 eggs a day and hundreds throughout her lifetime.

The eggs are extremely small like a speck of dust (1mm) and are a translucent white color so they are hard to see with the naked eye.

The female uses a clear and sticky substance to attach the eggs to cracks and other surfaces like wood.

Close up image of cluster of bed bug eggs and nymphs.
Close up image of a cluster of bed bug eggs and nymphs. Image credit: Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org

26. The image below shows bed bugs in various life stages from nymphs to adults.  You can see there are bed bug exoskeletons which are the shells left behind after they molt.  

Notice how they look almost exactly the same as the nymph due to their color.

Picture of adult bed bugs with lots of nymphs at various stages of lifecycle and exoskeletons
image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

27. The picture below is a close up of a baby bed bug crawling on a label attached to a mattress. This nymph has recently fed as you can see the undigested blood in the abdomen of its nearly translucent body. A nymph this size and hiding near the seam would be difficult to spot unless you looked very closely. In situations where the infestation is growing, it is advisable to contact an exterminator.

Image of baby bed bug close up that has recently fed crawling of label on box spring
Peststopsolutions.com

28. A picture of baby bed bugs clustered underneath a box spring. Notice lots of fecal matter everywhere, so they’ve had a few good blood meals.

Image of baby bed bugs and lots of digested blood meal feces
Peststopsolutions.com

29. Another image showing baby bed bugs at various days old, along with an adult and lots of eggs and feces that have infested a mattress.

Image of every lifestage of bed bugs from eggs, nymphs of various ages, and adult all surrounded by fecal matter
Peststopsolutions.com

IMAGES OF BED BUG MATTRESS INFESTATIONS

The bed is the main place you’ll find bed bugs as they like to hide in the mattress, box spring and all other areas close by and wait for their blood meal.  As soon as you discover you have bed bugs, it’s really important you decide if you want to get rid of them yourself, or have an exterminator come in and treat the infestation.

30. Bed bugs are hiding under the mattress piping in this picture. When checking your mattress, this is one area where you are likely to find them. The dark spots are bed bug fecal matter, which is digested blood!

Picture of bed bugs in mattress up close under piping
Image credit: Flickr.com/photos/lou bugs pix CC Licenses/by-nd/2.0/

31. The image below shows a bed bug infestation that has been left for some time. The tell-tale signs are the dark blood spots on the mattress.

Picture of bed bugs on mattress infestation with lots of fecal matter
Image credit: Flickr.com Lou bugs pixCC Licenses/by-nd/2.0/

32. This is a photo I took while treating an infestation. This mattress was heavily infested which is evident by the number of blood spots and smears on it.

If your mattress has got to this stage, then the infestation needs treating by a pest control company. You might want to buy a new mattress, but check out these guidelines so you know how to dispose of the mattress and box spring properly.

Image of heavily bed bug infested mattress with smeared blood and fecal matter evident on piping
Peststopsolutions.com

33. This is an up-close version of the photo I took above. You can see the smeared blood spots from the fecal matter.

Photo of bed bug infestation on mattress close up with smeared blood on piping
Peststopsolutions.com

34. The picture below shows a heavily infested bed and how bed bugs can hide anywhere in it, like the lining under the box spring and in the corners of the bed frame.

Picture of heavy bed bug infestation in box spring
Picture of a box spring that is heavily infested with bed bugs Image Credit: Flickr.com/BPCA CC Licenses/by/2.0/

35. This is another photo I took of a bed bug infestation. This image shows a heavily infested box spring that can be seen by the level of bed bug feces.

 

Picture of bedbug infestation on box spring lots of fecal droppings and smeared blood
Peststopsolutions.com

36. The picture below was taken by a colleague of mine and it shows bed bugs and smeared blood spots along the piping of the mattress.

When staying in a hotel or moving to college, the piping of the mattress is one of the areas of the bed that you should check for bed bugs.

Image of bed bugs on mattress piping with smeared blood
Peststopsolutions.com

37. Below is a photo I took of an adult bed bug on a box spring while treating the bedroom.

Picture of adult bed bug crawling along box spring
Adult bed bug image crawling on boxspring

38. A colleague’s photo, you can see live bed bugs and fecal matter on the box spring. If you look closely, you can see they are also behind the material/lining.

Image of bed bug infestation on corner of box spring
Peststopsolutions.com

39. This is a close up of the above photo where you get a clearer view of the live bed bugs and the dark blood spots on and behind the box spring’s material.

Pic of bed bug adults on box spring and hiding behind material
Picture of adult bed bugs on infested box spring

40. An even closer view of the infested box spring. As mentioned above, look at how they can be seen behind the lining. These are just one of the areas that should always be checked when looking for bed bugs.

Bed bugs close up photo of adults on box spring also lots of digested blood spots
Peststopsolutions.com

41. Again, the same box spring but showing the internal area where they are hiding. Bed bugs like to lay their eggs on rough surfaces like wood.

Image of bed bug fecal matter smeared on wooden bed frame
Peststopsolutions.com

IMAGES OF OTHER BED BUG INFESTATION AREAS

42. Bed bug infestations aren’t just found on the bed as this picture shows a heavily infested slipper. If you suspect you have bed bugs, then everywhere has to be checked.

Picture of bed bug infestation on slipper
Image credit: Flickr.com/pixlouento.pix under CC license

43. Below is a cluster of bed bugs that have set up their harborage area in the folds underneath a bed.

image of semi-translucent nymphs, eggs and adult bed bugs in crease in box spring material
Peststopsolutions.com

44. I found the bed bugs in the image below in the rivets of a bed frame. You probably wouldn’t think to look here, so knowing where to look is really important!

Image of adult bed bugs hiding in small rivet in box frame
Peststopsolutions.com

45. A heavily infested couch where bed bugs are often found hiding between cushions, in seams and folds.

Picture of bed bugs and casings on couch infestation
Image credit: Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org

46. A picture of bed bug eggs that have been laid on a wooden surface.

Photo of Bed bug infestation with various stages of lifecycle from eggs to adults on piece of wood.
Image credit: Mohammed El Damir, Bugwood.org

47. The picture below shows the unusual places you probably wouldn’t think to look in for bed bugs. It also shows just how small they are as there are several in this screw head.

Image of bed bugs in screw head showing size of bed bugs
Image credit: Flickr.com Lou bugs pix

48. I took the photo below to show other areas of the room where bed bugs can be found. This is the area where the wall adjoins the ceiling.

Photo of Infestation of bed bugs between the wall and ceiling
Peststopsolutions.com

49. Another picture of bed bugs that I took. This time they were found behind a strip of wallpaper.

Picture of bed bugs hiding on wall where a piece of wallpaper had been.
Peststopsolutions.com

50. A close up of bed bug eggs hidden away in cardboard.

Image of bed bug eggs close up hidden on cardboard
Cluster of hidden bed bug eggs
Image credit: Dr. Harold Harlan/AFPMB (CC)

 

PICTURES OF BED BUG BITES

Bed bug bites are not easy to diagnose as they look very similar to bites from other biting insects. Bites from bed bugs often occur in a row or cluster on a small area of your body that is usually not covered when in bed. The bite is not actually felt as an anesthetic and anticoagulant is injected into your skin. It’s only later when the skin reacts that you realize you’ve been bitten.

51. The following image shows bed bug bites to the face. Bed bugs will bite mainly exposed areas of the body and not everyone has a reaction.

Bed bug images bites on the jawline of the face
Image credit: The original uploader was Andybrookestar at English Wikipedia. [Public domain]

52. The bed bug bites picture below shows large welts on a person’s back.

Picture of bed bug bites on a person's back
Image credit: James Heilman MD, own work CC BY-SA 3.0

53. This image shows bed bug bites on the arm. This is a common area to be bitten as the arms are often outside the duvet when in bed.

Image of bed bug bites on person's arm
Image credit: By James Heilman, MD – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

54. This picture shows the effects of the bites. Bed bugs crawl down the hair to get to the skin to feed. This image was taken several hours after being bitten leaving small red marks. The appearance of bites will differ from person to person due to their reaction if any.

Image of red marks several hours after bed bugs feeding on hand
Image credit: Flickr.com louento.pix CC Licenses/by-nd/2.0/

55. The picture below was taken in a controlled environment where bed bugs were allowed to feed on the person through a screen. This image shows inflammation developing 3 hours after feeding.

Image of inflammation effect three hours after bed bugs fed on human
Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

56. This image is the same as the one above but is showing the inflammation effect of the bites two days after feeding. Some people experience reactions other than just itchiness and inflammation, such as blisters, hives, and a painful burning sensation.

Image of bed bug inflammation on skin mark two days after feeding
Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Hopefully, these images have helped you get a better idea of what bed bugs look like. If you think you might have these critters in your home and the infestation is in the early stages, then there are options to get rid of them and do it yourself. Alternatively, instruct a bed bug exterminator, but do your research and make sure you hire a company that has experience in treating bed bug infestations.