No one wants to wake up in the morning and discover bugs in the bed or bites on their body. However, learning how to identify bed bugs and their bites is important and will help you to properly get rid of them if it ever happens to you. Use the guide below to help you recognize them, then get more information about treating bed bugs from American Pest Control.


Bed bugs are small and oval-shaped, with flat bodies about the size of an apple seed, which means they are visible to the naked eye. They are typically a brownish color, but after eating, their bodies swell and become reddish. They do not fly, but can crawl quickly across many surfaces, including walls and ceilings.


There are several small bugs that are often mistaken for bed bugs, and two that look remarkably similar. Fortunately, there are ways to tell them apart.

Bat bugs are nearly identical to bed bugs in appearance but have differences in behavior. For example, bat bugs are usually found near bat nests in attics or abandoned buildings, though they do seek blood to feed on as well and will migrate to a nearby food source. Another difference is that bat bugs will die if they can’t find food, while bed bugs can survive for months.

A cockroach nymph also resembles a bed bug, but they do not bite humans. You will usually find cockroach nymphs in the kitchen or other areas where food is left out or stored.


Identifying bed bug bites can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. Bed bug bites look like flat, red welts and usually form in straight or zig-zag lines or in clusters. Scratching these bites can cause them to bleed or become irritated, but fortunately they do not spread diseases. Being able to distinguish what bed bug bites look like compared to other bites will help you resolve the problem more quickly.


Most likely, the first thing you will notice is a cluster of bug bites on areas of the skin that are exposed when sleeping, such as arms and shoulders. You may also see small, rust-colored spots left behind after feeding. These are usually around the edges or seams of the mattress.


Bed bugs eat only blood from humans and animals, so finding bed bugs is not a sign of uncleanliness. However, they do give off a musty odor, similar to that of a wet towel. They
like to hide in any small space they can find near your bed, and can also cling to clothing.

If you suspect you may have bed bugs, the first thing you should do is strip all the sheets and other bedding from your bed and inspect the mattress. Look for small, reddish-brown spots near the corners and edges of the mattress and keep an eye out for tiny brown exoskeletons, since bed bugs shed their skin multiple times as they grow.

Next, check any tight spaces around the bed, such as around the headboard and footboard, or any other nearby furniture. These are the types of places bed bugs like to hide during the day so they can easily access the bed (and you) at night. You should also check in any cracks or crevices near outlets, baseboards, or where the carpet ends, as well as upholstery and fabric like armchairs and curtains. Finally, check your closet and clothing.


Bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of because they are experts at hiding in tiny spaces and they reproduce quickly. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact a professional exterminator right away.

American Pest Control will thoroughly inspect your home before working with you to create a treatment plan. To ensure the problem is eradicated, we combine multiple treatments and services, such as steam cleaning, vacuuming, pesticides, and traps. We also offer quarterly pest control services to supplement bed bug treatments and keep pests of all kinds out of your home.

Learn more about how you can keep your home pest-free by visiting the American Pest Control blog and reading up on the latest information.

Contact American Pest Control right away with any questions, especially if you suspect you may have bed bugs or other pests living in your Central Illinois home.

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