No one wants to wake up in the morning and discover bugs in the bed or bites on their body. When this happens, your first thought may be bed bugs. Bed bugs are tiny creatures that can cause a lot of trouble. They reproduce at a fast rate, so if you notice them in your home, you need to act quickly.

Learning how to identify bed bugs and their bites is important and will help you to properly get rid of them if they ever take over your home. Use the guide below to help you recognize them, then get more information about treating bed bugs from American Pest Control.

Close up image of a bed bug


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. When full-grown, they are just 4-5 mm long. However, babies are smaller and more difficult to see. They are white or tan and the size of a pinhead.

Once they hatch from their eggs, bed bugs go through five stages of growth:

  • 1st stage nymph (1.5 mm)
  • 2nd stage nymph (2 mm)
  • 3rd stage nymph (2.5 mm)
  • 4th stage nymph (3 mm)
  • 5th stage nymph (4.5 mm)

Adult bed bugs 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. They also hide in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs can sometimes be identified by their smell, which is often described as musty but sweet.

Bed bug eggs are small, white, and pearly in appearance. They are approximately 1 mm long, with a small black spot in the center. Bed bugs tend to lay eggs in mattresses and furniture cushions.


Now that you know what bed bugs look like, it’s easy to mistake bed bugs for other brown bugs. Here are several other bugs that look similar to bed bugs:

  • Bat bugs. Bat bugs almost look exactly like bed bugs, except they have longer hairs on their head. They are found where bats live and will bite humans if there are no bats around. Bed bugs, however, are much hardier and can survive for many months without food.
  • Fleas. Like bed bugs, fleas can also be reddish-brown and flat. They are approximately ⅛ inch long and have hairy bodies and long hair. Fleas are often found on pets such as dogs and cats.
  • Cockroaches. Baby cockroaches are often confused with bed bugs due to their coloring, which can range from reddish-brown to dark brown to black. They do not have wings yet, which adds to the confusion. However, they do not bite humans, unlike bed bugs.
  • Spider beetles. These bugs can also be reddish-brown in color. However, they can easily be identified by their long, thin legs. They can be found near wooden structures and do not bite.


You know what bed bugs look like, but what do their bites look like? They are red bites that are usually found on the shoulders or arms. They usually form in straight or zig-zag lines or in clusters. They can be swollen and feel itchy. 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.


Anyone can get bed bugs—even the cleanest homes! That’s because bed bugs thrive on blood, not dirt. How do you get bed bugs? Bed bugs act as hitchhikers. They can come into your home from other homes and hotels by hitching a ride on luggage, bedding, clothing, and furniture.

Some signs of bed bugs include:

  • A musty odor
  • Reddish stains on your bedsheets
  • Rust-colored spots on your bedding (this is bed bug poop)
  • Molted skeletons
  • Eggshells


Removing bed bugs from your home is not an easy task. It can take many weeks or even months to fully eradicate all these pesky critters from your home. You can start by doing the following:

  • Wash clothing, bedding, and linens in hot water. You should also place them, as well as stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed, in the dryer on the highest setting for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently.
  • Place a zippered cover on your mattress to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

However, bed bugs can hide in tiny spaces and reproduce quickly—in fact, one female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact American Pest Control 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.


Now that you know how you get bed bugs, you should know how to prevent them. Here are some tips to help:

  • Keep clutter off the floor.
  • Don’t store anything under your bed,
  • Keep items in a plastic container or bag.
  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Inspect hotels before unpacking.
  • Wash clothes after traveling.
  • Avoid bringing used furniture into your home.


Now that you know what bed bugs look like, call American Pest Control if you see them or other pests living in your Central Illinois home. Learn more about how you can keep your home pest-free with the help of our Residential Services.

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Stop letting pests run your home and take control of your property. Call American Pest Control for all your pest control and exterminator needs in Central Illinois! We will be sure to eradicate the pests living in your home while maintaining a safe environment for your family.