We have a lot of bugs in Baltimore. While only a small percentage find their way into our homes, there are still too many for most people to be able to identify them all. So, it isn't surprising if you're wondering whether or not you've found bed bugs in your home. Let's take a few minutes to talk about bed bug identification.
The Problem With Identifying Bed Bugs
In this modern age of technology, it is pretty simple to go to the internet to find a picture of a bed bug. But there are a few issues with doing an image search.
Bed bugs are between 1mm and 4.5mm. If you find a bed bug in your home, it is going to be smaller than an apple seed. You're not going to easily be able to see the crease lines on the abdomen, or other visual characteristics that are easy to see in a magnified picture of a bed bug on the internet.
Bed bugs look different, depending on their age, or whether or not they've had a blood meal. A photo from the internet could mislead you or confuse you.
Stage One: Bed Bug Eggs
Bed bugs eggs are white specks. It is rare to find them because bed bugs tend to lay their eggs in tight spaces or compressed areas. If you find eggs, you're likely to find bed bugs with them. One way to reveal bed bug eggs is to drag a debit card along the seam of a mattress or box spring.
Stage Two: Baby Bed Bugs
When a bed bug first hatches, it is a nymph. These immature nymphs are only 1mm long, and they are pale in color. If you find tiny, pale-colored insects, you may have a very hard time determining that they are bed bugs if you're not aware of this stage of development. This is true with many pest species. Larvae and nymphs look different than the adults. Here are a few quick things you should know about immature bed bug nymphs:
You probably won't see one unless it is feeding on you. Its small size and transparent skin make discovery difficult. The reason you may see it while feeding on you is that its abdomen will be red with your blood.
Bed bug nymphs are the only six-legged, pale and red insect you'll find attached to your skin.
Immature nymphs are likely to wait till there is dim light in a room before they come out to feed. This is another reason why discovery is difficult.
Stage Three: Developing Bed Bugs
A bed bug will pass through five instars. In its second and third instars, it is likely to be a tan color. This is because it has had a blood meal. It is also likely to have black feces visible inside its body. You might have to use magnification to distinguish these visual characteristics clearly because of its small size.
Stage Four: Adult Bed Bugs
At 4.5mm, an adult bed bug is still pretty small but, with good eyesight, you should be able to clearly identify one.
It will be oval-shaped and have a low profile if it has not had a blood meal.
It will be pill-shaped and bloated if it has had a blood meal.
It will have more of a red coloration if it has just fed.
You are likely to see the black feces in its abdomen if it has not recently fed.
When you uncover bed bugs, you probably won't uncover one adult bug. These bugs live together in a tight group. You'll see them all huddled together. You're probably going to see them in several stages of development. But, what you'll notice first is probably not going to be the bugs themselves. These insects make a mess. You'll find insect skins, black stains and brown stains in the area where these bugs are living.
Sometimes You Won't See Bed Bugs
If you haven't actually seen bed bugs, but you're finding bites on your skin, this can be even more of a mystery. Bed bugs bites can look like bites from other insects. They can also look like a rash from an allergic reaction for food, fabrics, and other things. This is because the anticoagulant in bed bug saliva causes an allergic reaction. The more allergic you are, the greater the rash. Here are a few ways to tell that bed bugs are biting you:
One bed bug will usually leave three bites. These bites will be in a line or zig-zag.
Bed bugs stay in a group when they bite. If you find lots of three bite patterns on your skin, they will almost look like a pathway across your skin.
You're likely to find bites on skin that is not covered during sleep.
At The First Sign Of Bed Bugs
If you find bed bugs in your Baltimore property, contact Pest Czar for immediate assistance. We use advanced bioremediation to provide ecofriendly bed bug control. We can help you find the right solution to your bed bug problem.