Bed bugs may be tiny, but they can do incredible damage as you’ll see in our massive photo collection! They are excellent at hiding in tiny spaces where they wait for you and your loved ones to fall asleep and attack when you’re most vulnerable.
This website is full of images that show you exactly what they look like, what can happen when they attack you in numbers, how to treat bites and most importantly, how to locate and kill these blood suckers yourself using inexpensive all-natural products.
We also have a very popular checklist that will walk you through the process of identifying infestations in hotel rooms. A few simple precautions can help you find these elusive bugs and prevent the nightmare from ever happening in the first place!
We receive a number of complaints about infants being attacked while sleeping as shown in the photo at the top of this page. That poor baby was taken to the doctor, and unlike many doctors, it was correctly determined that the bites were from bed bugs. Note: Many inexperienced doctors misdiagnose such bites.
The mother of the child shown above searched the crib and found the frame was infested with bed bugs (see more pictures of bed bug bites). Rather than do it herself, she called out a professional pest control company to eliminate the infestation. It is believed that the infestation started with baby cloths found at a garage sale.
Bed bug bites tend to have a pattern and this photo shows the perfect example of what they look like. If this were an attack by many bugs or by a few that are not as hungry, the pattern may not be noticeable.
People from around the world bitten by bed bugs have submitted photos for you to view, some are simple bites while other are horrible attacks that not only left physical scarring, but emotional scars as well.
It can’t be said with absolute certainty that a bite was caused by a particular bug, but by viewing our collection of images and matching the pattern, it can give you a good start!
We’ve got an impressive collection of bed bugs pictures that I’m sure you’ll find very helpful in identifying the bug you found.
It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence. What’s worse is that they can live up to one year without drinking a drop of your blood. Feeding takes about 10 to 15 minutes for adults and less for the nymphs; they feed about every three days. Depending on the conditions, bed bug nymphs can survive for months without feeding.
Bed Bugs are insects, more specifically, ‘True Bugs’, which have piercing mouthparts that in most species are used for feeding on plants. Unfortunately, there are some species of bugs with mouthparts that have been adapted to feed on human blood while inflicting very little pain (most never feel the blood feeding).
The eggs are white and about 1mm long. The nymphs look like adults but are smaller. Complete development from egg to adult takes from four weeks to several months depending on the temperature and amount of feed available, see the bed bug life cycle chart on your left.
On average, females begins to lay eggs 4 days after mating and produces 260 eggs throughout their year long lifespan; eggs take 7 to 10 days to hatch. On average, bed bugs lay 5 eggs per week with populations reaching into the thousands in only 30 days!
They DO NOT have wings but that doesn’t slow them down, they move at 4 feet per minute and usually are within 20 feet of their victim, however, motivated bed bugs may reach up to 60 feet! When hunting for food, they pick up bits of CO2 until they get close to the source, then follow the heat your body gives off.
NOTE: Although bed bugs don’t have wings, it doesn’t mean they can’t fly :) – Believe it or not, some bed bugs can enter your home by riding on bats!
What Does an Infestation Look Like?
The grouping and number of bites shown on Monica earlier is a good sign that an infestation may be close by. A telltale sign would be mold like spots on your mattress. The picture to your right is of a mattress infested with bed bugs which was missed during an inspection! (click to enlarge) It’s a great example of what you might see in a hotel room because it shows eggs, shells, feces and the bedbug itself.
Notice the shell that was shed in the left side of the photo and then again below and to the right? They are very hard to spot, as are the fecal stains (black mold like dots). These are just some of the signs you’ll look for when trying spot an infestation.
I should also mention that the visitor who submitted this image (her name is V) had an inspection and this slipped through. She left comments complaining of bites and couldn’t find any sign of bugs, but we worked with her and through patience and determination, she was able to spot the source of the infestation, performed her own treatment and is now bed bug free!
So how do you know if you have an infestation? It’s easy, and we created a bed bug checklist to help you find them in your home – it works great for a hotel room as well :)
My page on how to get rid of bed bugs will walk you through the extermination process step-by-step, but in general, you’ll do a lot of cleaning and then apply the mixtures I provide on that page and apply it everywhere bugs might hide.
- Wash all your linens and place them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes (or you can freeze them at -5 C or below for five days); you’ll do a lot of bagging of items that can’t be washed.
- Next, you locate the bugs hiding places which include your alarm clock, your picture frames, inside your mattress (their most coveted breading ground), electrical outlets, under baseboards and inside any wall cracks, to name a few.
- You’ll vacuum all these areas, treat them with heat (I explain that in the page mentioned above as well), spray it all down and then apply the dust. You can vacuum to capture bed bugs and their eggs, but because the eggs are embedded into the fabric, you may have to scrape the surface with a fine tooth comb – we cover all this.
- Use food grade diatomaceous earth, an all natural pesticide and one of the best kept secrets in the war against bed bugs! This really works, but only when used in properly. Take your time, follow all the steps we show on this site and do it right the first time and chances are you won’t have to do it again – that is, unless you bring them back into your home. This is why it’s so important to recognize bugs and understand the precautions you need to take in order to prevent future infestations.
- After applying the natural pesticide, it’s time to seal everything up, from the cracks in the walls to tears in the box spring to adding covers that completely seal the mattress. Remember, a nymph can live for two months without feeding, an adult can survive more than 12 months!
- You can place glue boards or sticky tape around your bed and in the room to catch the bed bugs as the move around; this gives you a way to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts.
Uninterrupted, a bed bug can fill up in little as 5 minutes and do this about once every 6 days.
Treatment and Common Mistakes
If you’re going to be your own exterminator, then you’ll find everything you need to be successful right here on this site; however, you should be aware of things that can make matters worse – often, uneducated landlords will suggest some of these items! I’ll list them below:
- Moving infected furniture to another room – this is almost a guaranteed to spread the infestation to another room. Until you know for sure that the room you’re moving into AND the furniture is free of infestation, don’t move it!
- Setting off a bed bug bomb in an infested room or apartment – You’ll most likely drive the bugs into the the apartment next to you or the adjacent room. They are also responsible for numerous injuries and some deaths from improper use!
- Using a mattress encasement that is not made for bed bugs – Manufacturer would like you to believe you need a mattress cover made just for bed bugs, but the truth is, one designed for dust mites will work just fine, it just has to seal. If you use a cover that doesn’t seal, the bugs will find the opening and escape!
- Applying bug dust to aggressively – a very light sprinkling is all that’s need, pouring DE throughout your house can create a hazardous environment for those breathing it in. Follow our instructions and do it right!
The first thing you should do is make sure your hotel is bed bug free!
Understand that ANY hotel, 5 star or not, can get bed bugs so check for signs BEFORE you spend the night regardless of how clean it looks! I’ve got an entire checklist at the top of this page that will show you where to look in detail – this is extremely important!
A few ways to prevent bed bugs from getting into your home after you’ve used our checklist above include:
- Use luggage that seals completely and make sure to keep it closed when not in use. Store as many of your clothes there as possible
- Hang clothing in the closet farthest from the bed
- Place luggage on the folding rack found in most hotels
- Place luggage in the dry cleaning bag found in the hotel.
- When you get home, immediately wash all your cloths on 140F minimum high heat (fabric permitting)
- Most important, don’t bring home a mattress that has been used by unknown sources.
Why isn’t the Government doing more to prevent infestations?
Actually, they are and according to the EPA on bed bugs and infestations, have awarded more than half a million dollars to universities and agencies in hopes a way to eliminate these bugs once and for all will be discovered.
They have also created the Inter-agency Bed Bug Task Force that includes the CDC, Department of Health, USDA, Housing and of course, the EPA which created an entire site dedicated to educating people about bed bugs; however, they are limited on DIY information and lean toward hiring professional exterminators.
Bedbugs do damage, not only to the body from attacks, but also in the form of mental fatigue. Living with an infestation for too long may cause a paranoia that leads the victim into believing they are being bitten when in fact, they are not.
The Cost of Extermination
There are thousands of comments on this site and many complain of outrageous costs, some of up to $5,000 for serious home infestations. The average fee reported by visitors for heat treatment is around $1,800 per visit and often, there are no guarantees.
We’ve also had an incredible number of complaints where pest control companies took the victim’s cash and left the bed bugs; when the victim complained, they were told the bed bugs where killed but that the home owner must have brought bugs back into the home.
There are other methods of professional bed bug treatment which we cover in detail, but the most important point when hiring a professional is to make sure they are certified with specialized training on killing bed bugs!
If an exterminator tells you they can remove an infestation in one visit then keep looking. It takes at the very least two visits to make sure the treatment worked.
Below is just one of the many stories visitors have shared about being covered in bites after a deep sleep. In this case, an embarrassed mother who has been fighting bedbugs took the time to share only asking that we change her name to “Restless”, this is her story:
I Never knew anything about bedbugs until now. They have truly ruined my life. I can’t have friends or family over and I can’t sleep anymore. I live in a building that consists of 16 units. I discovered the problem a couple of weeks ago.
I woke up itching very bad and saw five bugs in my bed. I looked the bug up online and found out what it was. I started crying and didn’t know what to do. I went to the hardware and bought bedbug sprays and also set off bedbug bombs. My daughter came to me crying because her face was swollen from a bite. I flipped over her box spring and tore the fabric off the bottom, there I found the problem. Bedbugs nesting and sleeping. I threw up from the sight of it. I continued to do the same for all the beds in the house, found the exact same thing. Then it was on to the couches. The bugs lie dormant in the wood of the couches. I immediately discarded everything in my apartment. Did my research and found out that I had to contact my landlord. He sent an inspector out the very next day. The inspector told me to bag up everything in plastic bags real tight and throw out old books and paper that I didn’t need and said I needed three treatments and he said he would be back on Monday.
While standing in the neighborhood store I overheard neighbors saying that all of the landlord’s other buildings were infested with bedbugs as well. Why didn’t the landlord treat all of the units just in case to avoid the spread of bedbugs? In my opinion, I think that the maintenance workers were transporting the bugs, seeing how the people with the bugs live in different buildings, and have never stepped a foot inside any of the other units. My landlord was careless not to inform all of his tenants about the infestations.
I have nothing now. Everything I own has gone to the garbage. I only had the furniture for one year and a half. I spent thousands of dollars on my furniture, and I’m not working now and can’t afford to replace anything. I really feel helpless with no-one to trust. I’m going crazy. I’m so sick of living out of plastic bags. I don’t know what to do anymore. The third treatment was completed 2 days ago and this morning I found a bedbug on my sheet.
It’s been awhile since then, and I’ve learned there is no short cut! My advise to those reading this is, do not use sprays! Many act as a repellent and can cause bed bugs to travel to other areas not being treated. If you want to get rid of bed bugs, then you need to use DE and follow the instructions on this website. It will take time but in the end, it’s the only DIY method that works.
Want to read more? A LOT of people have shared their experience with bed bug bites!
Is this a Bed Bug? What bit me?
A ton of people ask me that question and I’m happy to help you determine if you have one of these little blood suckers, just use this form to upload your pictures of the suspected bed bug and/or bite.
Do It Yourself Pest Control
You’ll find great information on how to identify kill these bugs yourself and prevent another infestation. In fact, you’ll find a large number of success stories by people who took the time to do it right; however, if you have a big infestation but don’t have the time and patience to treat it properly, then paying for a professional exterminator may be a better than doing it wrong and causing them to spread. You CAN do it yourself, but there is no quick fix. (unless your like some of the lucky visitors to this site that happened to find and kill the bug before it could multiply).
Perhaps you can help identify the bug bite left by a visitor, know of pest control method not mentioned, or have a story to share? If so, please leave a comment and help out. Bedbug infestation is a frightening experience and knowing that others have been down the same road can really help, so please comment whenever possible.
Looking for Consumer information on getting rid of bed bugs? The FTC has a nice page on battling these blood suckers; most of it is centered around using pesticides and providing a list of products approved by the EPA.
Take a look around and enjoy the site!