How to Identify Bed Bugs

Being able to identify bed bugs quickly is the first step toward ending your infestation.

What do bed bugs look like?

bed bugs at all stages of developmentIn the nymph first and second stages, you won’t be able to easily identify bed bugs without a lighted magnifier. 1st stage bed bugs can also resemble baby cockroaches since they both have long antenna and six legs. However they are different and with the help of a lighted magnifier you can tell the difference between them. Older stages of bed bugs are easy to see with your eye and look just like in the photos. 

If your infestation is just beginning it will be even harder to find one or two bugs, even if you inspect very carefully. That is why I suggest using the traps to capture them/it when it comes to feed on you. If you have thoroughly inspected your mattress and bed frame as instructed here and found nothing, putting traps on the bed frame legs will help you immensely in finding out if you have bed bugs. If you have bed bugs and they are not in your bed they will come for you.

Can you see bed bugs with your naked eye?

When you have traps on the bed legs you will capture them before they can bite you and continue to reproduce. Doing this alone can help you to get an infestation under control before it grows into a nightmare.

If it’s not already on or in your bed they will come, and with the traps you will know quickly if you have bed bugs.

Do bed bugs have wings?

bed bug wing pads

Bed bugs do not have wings, although they have “wing pads” from when they did thousands of years ago. Before they evolved they did have wings and bat bugs, a related insect still do have wings. 

It is believed that bed bugs split off from bat bugs when humans started sleeping in caves for shelter. There are multiple 

Can bed bugs fly?

No, bed bugs cannot fly without wings. They also cannot jump or hop. They can only crawl. They can crawl slow or fast.

How many legs do bed bugs have?

  • Bed bugs have six legs.
  • Ticks have eight legs.
  • Spiders have eight legs.
  • Cockroaches have six legs.
  • Beetles have six legs (as in carpet beetle).
  • Crickets have six legs.

How big do bed bugs get?

An adult female pregnant bed bug can “stretch” to approximately 3/4″ long.

They will not appear apple seed shaped at this stage. The photos above show you two examples of pregnant female bed bugs in their elongated shape.

A pregnant adult female lays 1-5 eggs every single day. Assume all adult females are laying eggs.

See more bed bug photos here. If you want to submit your bed bug photo or insect photo for identification click here.

You’ll know if you have bed bugs fast by trapping them!

Use this information to your advantage. ClimbUp traps have been university research tested and used successfully for over a decade. They are a critical part of not only identifying if you have bed bugs, but confirming you no longer do after treatment.

Order Traps Today and you’ll know fast if you have bed bugs! Set traps under your bed legs because you know they will come. You can count on bed bugs for one thing, they want to eat and will go to the food source (you) until they are either dead, or trapped. 

With bed bug traps, bed bugs trying to get on the bed will be trapped in the smooth plastic traps, unable to climb out. The slick plastic combined with a light dusting of talc powder will keep them contained in the traps. The Climb-Up brand has been tested in university laboratories and that is the reason we recommend Climb-Up Monitor Traps.

You can check daily for bugs, and this can answer the question “Do I have bed bugs?” very fast, within days. If you have them, they are coming for you! They will not stop trying to feed. 

identify bed bugs or cockroach

Understanding the bed bug life cycle

bed bug trapsThe sooner you identify bed bugs are in your home, the faster you can eliminate them. If you do have bed bugs, consider it a race to eliminate them before a few bugs become hundreds, and then thousands.

If you are already at a full-blown infestation already you need to act fast! Infestations grow fast because it takes so long to know you have bed bugs. Many people never see even one insect, or only see one after the infestation has grown very large. Bed bugs lay eggs every day so getting ahead of their reproduction cycle is critical. You can learn more about bed bug reproduction here.

Get help identifying bed bugs at your county public health vector control office

Your county pest or vector control may have an entomologist on hand to identity your insect (if you’ve captured or killed one) and determine if you have bed bugs or not. In Multnomah County call the Bed Bug Hotline at 503-988-BUGS (2847) if you think you may have an infestation. They can identify your insect for you.

You will find with a lighted magnifier, there are many crawly things that don’t bite you in your home you never knew were there. This can be a comfort, or not, however knowing whether some little tiny creature is not a bed bug may help relieve some anxiety if you are experiencing some. Bed bug identification should be primary on your mind if you are getting unexplained bites on more than one occasion and mostly when you are asleep.


bed bug products dyown-pest-control

How do I know I have bed bugs?

What if I think i have bed bugs but i can’t find them? You can stop looking for them, get traps under your bed legs and wait for them to come to you, because they always do, just like vampires.

Want to go to the next level of defense?

I’ve got a comprehensive step-by-step plan you can start right now! I’ll show you how to get your bed isolated so you can sleep without bed bugs being able to reach and bite you! Even if you don’t know if you have bed bugs, and you don’t have to buy anything to start fighting back. Hopefully you don’t have bed bugs, but if you are getting new bites every few days, or every day you need to act quickly to know if you or if you don’t. 

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