Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of both humans and warm-blooded pets. In many cases, people first become suspicious of bed bugs after repeatedly waking up with mysterious, itchy bites that resemble common mosquito bites. However, while these bites are a sign of bed bugs, they are not the only deciding factor in determining whether there is an infestation.
To determine whether bed bugs have entered a home, it is important to know how to identify these insects. Adult bed bugs are typically around one-fourth of an inch in length, but they may be slightly smaller or larger depending on when they have last fed. Adult insects that have recently eaten will appear reddish-brown in color, while those that are hungry will appear almost translucent, white or yellow. Immature bedbugs are much smaller than adults but can still be seen with the naked eye. Young bedbugs can be as small as a poppy seed and are usually white, yellow or red-brown in color depending on their feeding status.
In addition to spotting the bugs themselves, it may also be possible to detect an infestation through the presence of molted shells. As immature bed bugs grow, they shed their skin to accommodate their increasing size. These shells are usually translucent and look like an empty skin of an oval insect. Bed bugs, along with their molted skins, can be found in the seams of mattresses, in bed frames, behind headboards, in wall crevices, along baseboards and inside personal belongings, such as boxes, luggage and other dark hiding places. Because bed bugs multiply rapidly and can quickly infiltrate an entire home, or even apartment building, it is extremely important to contact a professional exterminator if you believe bed bugs may have taken up residence in your home.