Bed bugs – a pest no one wants living in their mattress or furniture. When you see a bed bug, you can be certain that there are more hiding away or waiting to hatch that will cause an infestation before you know it.
Knowing the enemy – bed bugs in this case – is the key to remedying the problem.
First, let’s discuss what bed bugs look like before going into some interesting questions people just like you have asked about bed bugs.
Table of Contents
- What Does a Bed Bug Look Like?
- 10 Common Questions About Bed Bugs
- 1. How Long Does a Bed Bug Live?
- 2. Are Bed Bugs Asexual?
- 3. How Many Eggs Can a Female Lay?
- 4. How Long is a Bed Bug’s Reproduction Cycle?
- 5. Can You Squish a Bed Bug?
- 6. Are Bed Bugs Contagious?
- 7. Are Bed Bugs Nocturnal?
- 8. What Does a Bed Bug Look Like on A Mattress?
- 9. What Do Bed Bug Bites Feel Like?
- 10. Can Bed Bug’s Spread Disease?
What Does a Bed Bug Look Like?
The first and most important thing to know is what these bugs look like. Identifying your bug before taking appropriate action is essential. If you treat your home for the wrong bug, it can cause more harm than good, which is not something you’ll be aiming for when dealing with bed bugs.
An easy way to learn what a bed bug looks like is to look for a bed bug image.
Google’s image search is a good place to find pictures of these night vampires to properly identify the bug stalking you while you sleep.
But if the picture isn’t enough, you can use the following characteristics as a guideline for what these pests look like:
- Size: Small, 4 – 5 mm
- Speed: Slow
- Thickness: The thickness of a credit card
- Color: Brownish; turn reddish after feeding
- Shape: Oval
A bed bug size is equivalent to an apple seed, so they’re very small. Nymphs are so small that people often need a microscope to see them, but adults can be seen with the naked eye despite their small size.
Newly hatched nymphs can be the size of a needle’s head.
10 Common Questions About Bed Bugs
1. How Long Does a Bed Bug Live?
Unless they meet an untimely death, bed bugs will live for 10 months on average. What’s interesting is that these pests can live 300+ days without food or water, so they’re very resilient despite their shorter lifespan.
Aggressive mating patterns allow these bugs to reproduce faster than a person can kill them using hands-on methods, such as stepping on them.
2. Are Bed Bugs Asexual?
Bed bugs are not asexual. A female and male bed bug engage in sexual activity for the reproduction to occur. The male can hurt the female at this time. The entire process is very taxing on the female, and if the female mates too often, it can lead to injury in some cases.
The increased mating sessions don’t always lead to more bed bug eggs being produced.
What happens is that the continual mating causes the opposite results – eggs aren’t laid as often in many cases. Females have adapted to leave their mates and travel away from their normal location near a food source.
This is the optimal option for a female bed bug, as she’ll have access to food and can lay more eggs without disruption.
3. How Many Eggs Can a Female Lay?
A female can produce groups of eggs that can range from one to fifty. The average female can lay one to seven eggs in a single day. Mating can cause scarring, so if she mates too often, she can reduce the number of eggs she lays.
During her lifetime, she can lay 200 – 250 eggs on average.
These new additions to the population can lead to 5,000 bed bugs infesting a home in just a six-month period. If a single bed bug can cause this extreme of a population boom, imagine what 2 or even 5 can do in a six-month period.
4. How Long is a Bed Bug’s Reproduction Cycle?
When eggs are laid, it will take 6 – 17 days for them to hatch into nymphs. These baby bed bugs will not be able to reproduce until they reach the adult stage, and the temperature plays a role in how fast these bugs will reproduce.
Small in size, a nymph is often only able to be detected using a magnifying glass.
Nymphs can start the feeding process once they’re hatched, but since they’re the size of a pinhead, it’s very difficult to see them.
Temperature plays such a key role in the maturing of the bed bug that it can mean the difference between adulthood being reached in 21 days or 120 days. These pests can feed immediately after being hatched, and they thrive in warmer climates.
5. Can You Squish a Bed Bug?
Yes. It’s very easy to squish these bugs either with your shoe or by slamming something against them. The key most important thing is to be careful not to stain your carpet or bedding in the process.
These bugs are easy to kill, but when they’ve just fed, they’ll often have a red tinge to them thanks to the victim’s blood – usually you.
If you decide to squish them when they’re bloated with blood, the blood will be on the floor or bedding. If you know anything about blood, you know that it can be immensely difficult, if not impossible, to get blood out of your garments or carpet.
What many people don’t realize is that bed bugs will digest the blood as a person digests their food.
When the digestion process is complete, the bug will move toward a brownish color, and it will not look like you smeared blood on the floor. Instead, whatever comes out of the bed will be dark brown or black in color.
Squishing these pests isn’t a treatment, and there will be more to follow.
6. Are Bed Bugs Contagious?
No. Insects can’t be contagious like a cold. These are bugs, and as a result, they’re alive to skitter wherever they see fit. With that said, these bugs can travel from one home to the next.
Hotels and apartments often have infestations that will start in one room and spread to other rooms, floors and so on.
If you visit a friend’s home, there is a chance that the bug can hide away in your socks, purse or other items. If this happens, you may have picked up a female that will populate your home, causing a potential infestation in the future.
So, if you knowingly go into a home or space that has bed bugs, there is a chance you can spread the problem further as an unknowing form of transport.
7. Are Bed Bugs Nocturnal?
Yes. Bed bugs will come out in the middle of the night. These bugs have evolved to be nocturnal because it’s the best time of day for bed bugs to go out and about to eat as they see fit. The worst part is that they often hide within the crevices of your mattress or in your headboard, making you a midnight snack in the process.
Bed bugs will live on your blood, or they’ll live on the blood of animals.
Studies have shown that bed bugs much prefer the taste of human blood versus the taste of animal blood, and as such, they’ll go to great lengths to ignore an animal and suck the blood out of a human.
8. What Does a Bed Bug Look Like on A Mattress?
Bed bugs are small in size, and we covered their description very well earlier in this article. When these bugs are infesting your mattress, there will be a lot to look for, and you’ll find that these unwanted guests don’t clean up after themselves.
A bed bug will leave much behind on the mattress, and you’ll often find more than you expect:
- Bugs: The actual bug may be alive and well, and they’re noticeable by their reddish-brown color and oval shape. Keep in mind just how thin these bugs are, so they can sneak away in small crevices you wouldn’t normally be able to reach.
- Feces: Bed bug feces is small and black. Think of this as a poppy seed.
- Shells: The bed bug will shed its skin often, and this will leave a shell behind.
- Eggs: Small eggs can also be seen in the mattress. The eggs are small in color and will be found near the rest of the remains in most cases.
You can expect the adult bed bugs to try and hide at this point, and they’re very good at blending in and hiding away from the human eye.
In cases where bed bugs are in abundance, you may notice large black patches on the bed, and this is caused by the feces.
9. What Do Bed Bug Bites Feel Like?
A lot of people swear they know when they’re being bit by a bed bug, but this isn’t the case for most people. An anesthetic is injected into your skin with the ability to briefly numb the area prior to getting a bite.
This means you won’t feel anything at all.
What normally happens is a person is fast asleep when they get bit, and when they wake up, they may not exhibit any symptoms right away. It can take days before any bite clusters are seen on the body.
10. Can Bed Bug’s Spread Disease?
As annoying as bed bugs may be, they don’t spread diseases. Instead, these pests will leave a red welt on their victims, and that’s it. The good news is that there is very little risk of a serious infection or allergic reaction caused by a bed bug.
And within a few days, all the symptoms of a bite will disappear.