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Bed bugs: information and resources

Bed bugs are everywhere. In fact, Antarctica is the only continent on the planet where you can’t find these parasitic pests. Insects of the Cimicidae family, bed bugs are small, brown-colored creatures that feast on blood. Warm-blooded mammals and humans are their absolute favorites.

The problem with bed bugs isn't that they can live for an extraordinarily long time, but that they are prolific breeders. Bed bugs lay eggs daily, and a single female bed bug will lay upwards of 500 eggs in her lifetime. It won't take long for an infestation to become severe once a bed bug population has infested a room.

If you think that you have a bed bug problem, contact the bed bug control and prevention experts at Ehrlich by calling 800-837-5520 or filling in our online form to schedule a FREE initial bed bug inspection.

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What do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs look different depending on their stage of life, but no matter what life stage the bed bug is in, they are tiny and difficult to spot. During their egg and early nymph stages, they are whitish or even translucent. When a bed bug has not eaten in a while it is flat and about the same size, shape, and even color as an apple seed.

Bed bugs at a glance

  • Size: ⅛” - 3/16” in length as adults
  • Color: Brown or reddish-brown
  • Body: Flat, round bodies divided into three segments, six legs, and two antennae
Bed Bug on Material

Bed bug life cycle

A bed bug starts out as an egg that hatches into a nymph. Before each life stage the bed bug molts, leaving shed skins behind. Discarded bed bug skins are often one of the first signs of an infestation. Once the bed bug hatches, it seeks out a host to get a blood meal.

A bed bug goes through several nymph stages before reaching adulthood. When they are in the nymph stages, they are very small and hard to see. When the reach adulthood, they are about the size of an apple seed.

Bed Bug Life Cycle

Bed bug eggs

Female bed bugs will lay up to five or six batches of 10-15 eggs per day. Bed bug eggs are roughly 1mm long and are pearly white in color. Eggs can often be found near where the adult and young bed bugs hide during the day.

Bed bug nymphs

After hatching, a bed bug goes through five nymph stages before reaching adulthood. They are very small and difficult to see during this time. During their first cycle, these nymphs are white-colored, but they get darker as they grow and consume blood meals. Before each life stage, the bed bug molts and leaves shed skins behind. Discarded bed bug skins are often one of the first signs of an infestation.

Adult bed bugs

An adult bed bug is brown and flat in appearance (unless it is engorged with a blood meal) with a wide head and segmented body. They are about the size of an apple seed, 1/4 inch in width, and are typically reddish-brown in color, especially after feeding. Bed bugs do not fly, but they do crawl quickly and often latch onto suitcases or clothes. An adult bed bug can last as long as one year without a meal.

Bed bug behavior

Bed bugs want two things: to hide and to feed on blood. Below are some facts and characteristics about a bed bug's living environment and its feeding habits.


Bed bugs prefer to find hiding places and hate being out in the open. They want to be undisturbed as they digest their blood meal. Bed bugs cannot jump and they do not fly, but they are very good at crawling and getting into small spaces. If you have even a tiny crack in the wood around your bed, such as in your headboard, it could be harboring bed bugs.


A bed bug’s mouth parts are complicated. They have a part for sawing through the skin into a blood vessel and another for injecting an anesthetic so the victim does not feel the bite. They also inject an anticoagulant so the wound won’t clog, allowing blood to flow into the bed bug.

Bed bugs do not have to feed every night and can go several days, even months, between feedings. However, they require a blood meal every time they advance into a new lifecycle and shed their skins.


Frequently asked questions

What are the first signs of bed bugs?

Since these pests are so tiny the chances of you actually finding the bug are small, but there are a few telltale signs of these biting pests. Bites on your body can be an initial sign of bed bugs. The bites will appear as small, raised red bumps.

Discarded bed bug shed skins are usually one of the first signs of an infestation. Before each life stage, bed bugs molt and leave these shed skins behind. Shed skins are nearly translucent shells and are usually found in clutter.

How does a person get bed bugs?

Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. They can easily travel from place to place via your belongings. If you find bed bugs in your home, they were most likely brought in on something you carried in, like your luggage after a trip. You can also get bed bugs in your home by bringing in a piece of furniture that was already infested.

Where do bed bugs hide on your body?

Though they will hide anywhere on your body; bed bugs love exposed skin. Often bites are found in a straight line on the face, neck, arms, ankles, and feet.

How do I completely get rid of bed bugs?

The best way to get control of a bed bug infestation is to work with a professional pest control provider. The Technicians at Ehrlich are trained to find bed bugs in every life stage and know the best treatment methods to get rid of them. DIY remedies are not recommended as they can cause the infestation to grow.

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