What is a Bed Bug and How can I ID one?

If you’re like most people, your bed is a place where you feel safe. It helps you rest, unwind, and decompress after a long day.

But what if there was something that could threaten the serenity and security of your bedroom?

Bed bugs are so terrifying because they do just that—they invade a space that’s meant to be personal and safe. A bed bug infestation can therefore cause severe psychological trauma on anyone who has one.

But what is a bed bug, and how do you prevent them from being a problem?

Keep reading to learn how to identify bed bugs and what you can do to get rid of them.

What Is a Bed Bug? 

Bed bugs are one of the more terrifying forms of pests, and they’ve been around for a long time. Archaeologists have dug up fossilized remains of bed bugs from thousands of years ago, and Ancient Egyptian literature even mentions them.

Their name comes from one of their preferred habitats—the beds of humans. However, they’re not exclusive to beds, and people have observed them feeding on birds and other animals as well.

Bed bugs are notorious for being adept at moving around, which is one reason why they’ve been so effective at surviving despite the best efforts of people (and animals).

People have found bed bugs nearly everywhere, from their bedrooms and workplaces to hotels and seats on public transportation.

Where Do They Come From?

As bed bugs are seasoned travelers, people need to always be on the lookout for them. If you’re not careful, you’ll bring them into your home, where they will then quickly spread.

Bed bugs prefer to be around spaces where people congregate. Often, this includes places like libraries, public transportation, and hotel rooms. Be cautious of the places where you sit or sleep outside of your home.

Before you get into a hotel bed, check the bedding for signs of bed bugs (more on that later). It doesn’t matter if it’s a four-star hotel or a cheap motel—they can be in the room with you, and if they are, you’ll spread them.

You should also be careful whenever you buy second-hand furniture. Inspect it before putting it in your home.

What Do They Look Like?

What is a bed bug, and what do they look like? Bed bugs are small, and because of that can be hard to find or see. Adults are about the size of an apple seed, or around 1/4th of an inch.

Bed bugs are distinct mahogany or red-brown color and have flat, oval-shaped bodies. They don’t have wings and have six legs. Their babies (or nymphs) can be colorless when they’re firstborn.

One of the difficult parts of bed bugs is that they resemble many other types of insects. This can make it challenging to know whether or not you truly have a bed bug problem.

Their behavior is what separates them from other, similar-looking insects.

Why They’re Problematic

Like any pest, bed bugs get by at the expense of others. In most cases, this means living and feeding off of humans.

Bed bugs don’t carry diseases, and their bites don’t often cause pain to most people. Because of that, they probably won’t cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.

However, they leave behind red welts all over your body. These can be itchy, and above all, disturbing to wake up to.

Bed bugs are also problematic because they breed extremely quickly. Female bed bugs lay hundreds of eggs and these hatch in a matter of days. All it takes is a couple of bed bugs, and before you know it, you have an infestation.

How to Identify Bed Bugs

As mentioned, bed bugs resemble many other small insects. If you spot a bug crawling around your bed, you might not be able to tell whether or not it’s a bed bug.

Checking your bedding is a good way to turn up results. Look for reddish-brown spots of fecal matter in places like box springs and mattress seams. You can also look for eggshells, molted skin, and of course, the bugs themselves.

If you do suspect that you have bed bugs, don’t think that it’s because your home has a dirt problem. Bed bugs don’t discriminate, and they probably found their way into your home in a way that you would never guess.

How to Get Rid of Them

So if you do identify bed bugs, how do you get rid of them?

Unfortunately, as with other bugs like cockroaches, once you see a bed bug, there’s a good chance that there are many more nearby. This makes them difficult for people to get rid of, especially since they spread so quickly.

Your best bet is to call a pest control expert. They’ll be able to get rid of the bugs using non-toxic methods, but in a way that ensures that they never come back.

Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation at All Costs

What is a bed bug? They might not seem bad, but once they get into your home or apartment, they can wreak havoc.

Use this guide as a resource to understand bed bugs and how you can prevent them from coming in the first place. If you suspect that you have a bed bug problem, make a point to call a pest control expert as soon as possible.

Are you looking for more info on how to combat pests? If so, make sure to check out the rest of our site for more helpful guides, tips, and explanations.