The world is filled with bugs. It's a little bit of an unpleasant reality, but it's true. And, not only are there a variety of individual species of bugs, there is also a variety within the species, such as caterpillars turning into moths. So, it isn't surprising that some residents in Greensboro have a hard time identifying bed bugs when they see them. If you're wondering if you have bed bugs in your Greensboro home, here are a few things you should know.

bed bug crawling on an arm
bed bug up close

Visual Identification

A bed bug has six legs, two antennae, and three body parts—though you might think it has two body parts as the head and thorax can look like one big head. These are the only visual traits that are consistent through all life cycles. Here are ways bed bugs can look different depending on age and other factors.

Red or Black?

If you do a search on the internet for images of bed bugs, the first thing you'll notice is that adult bed bugs are a rusty brown color. But the bed bugs you find in your home may not be easily distinguished as being rusty brown. If you lift a mattress or a cushion and see a bed bug, it might look black. Why? Well, there are two reasons for this.

A bed bug has a thin skin that is somewhat transparent, which means you're going to see what's on the inside of the bug. This might be red coloration from blood inside the abdomen, or it might be black feces. If a bed bug has a lot of feces in it, it will look more black than red. But this is actually good. A strong red coloration means the bug has recently fed.

A bed bug will look darker when you find it in poor lighting conditions. Most of the images on the internet are of brightly lit bed bugs.

Pale, Tan, or Red?

When a bed bug hatches, it is pale in coloration. As it grows, it takes on a tan color. Eventually, it reaches its adult stage and is a rusty brown color, like most of the images you see on the internet.

Is It Small or Big?

Some people think bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye. This is not the case. You can see them, even when they first hatch. But they're small insects. A newly hatched nymph will only be 1mm long. At full size, a bed bug is still pretty small at about 4.5mm in length. 

Is It a Pale Bug With a Red Abdomen?

Bed bugs don't like to be seen. If you see a bed bug, it isn't likely to be an adult. That means it isn't likely to be rusty brown. The stage of development that tends to show itself is the immature nymph stage. If you find a bed bug clinging to your skin in the morning, evening, or during the day, it is probably an immature nymph. As we mentioned, nymphs are pale. But a nymph may not be entirely pale. It could have a bright red abdomen during, and just after, feeding. Keep this in mind if you see a pale and red, six-legged bug feeding on you.

Is It Flat?

After looking at images of bed bugs on the internet, you're likely to know that bed bugs are flat. But they aren't always flat. During and after a blood meal, a bed bug can be bloated. This will make it more of a pill-shape rather than a flat, oval shape.

Warning Signs

Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Often, you won't actually see the bugs. You're only going to see the warning signs that these insects have invaded your home. If you have bed bugs in your home, you may see:

  • Black stains on linen, bedding, or furniture.

  • Black streaks on furniture, baseboards, wall outlets, or electronics.

  • Shed insect skins in compressed spaces, such as between your mattress and box spring or under the cushions of your couch.

  • The scent of something foul. If you have enough bed bugs in one area, it might smell like a musty, musky towel. This is what the chemical pheromones of a bed bug are described as smelling like.

  • If you run a debit card along a mattress seam, you may dislodge tiny white eggs, or shed skins. In some cases, you might even bring the bed bugs themselves to the surface.

You Have Bed Bugs, Now What?

If you find bed bugs in your Greensboro property, we don't recommend attempting to get rid of them on your own. These bugs are notoriously difficult to exterminate. Reach out to Go-Forth Pest Control for advanced bed bug remediation. Connect with us today to schedule service. We can help!


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