There have been many inquiries for information on pictures of bed bugs and pictures of bed bug bites. Because of the overwhelming requests, I have compiled a section to discuss and clarify what the bed bugs look like and what their bites look like and what to look for.
The first thing to consider when looking for pictures of bed bugs is that they are minimal. They are a wingless insect with a 3 segmented break, 4-segmented antennae that feed solely on animals’ blood. Bed bugs are approximately 3/16 – 1/4” (6-7 mm) inch long and have a flat, fairly ovoid shaped body, covered with short, golden-colored hairs, brown to reddish-brown in color. The male bed bugs abdomen tips are usually pointed, and the female’s abdomen is more rounded. Because of their size, they are hard to see, and the odds are improbable that you will ever catch them in the act of a blood meal (biting you).
The bed bugs appearance changes dramatically after feeding on a blood meal; their bodies become bloated and dark red from the blood. Some have described them as “animated blood drops.”
Pictures of bed bug bite pics of bed bugs
Most household pets (dogs and cats) are not “major hosts” for bed bugs. They prefer to feed on humans but feed on most warm-blooded animals such as mice, rats, bats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds, especially chickens and swallows.
Bed bugs are mostly quiet and hide during the daytime hours and become most active late at night to early morning, usually while most people are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin with its labium and withdrawing your blood through an elongated mouthpart or beak (stylet fascicle).
Most people don’t feel a bed bug biting because of the salivary protein with anesthetic properties that they inject during a blood meal. Unlike other bites that are localized to one area or part of the body, bed bug bites can occur on any area of exposed skin. Bed bugs prefer to bite by not crawling onto their host if possible and are fond of biting the face, hands, and feet.
The initial bites are painless and usually almost undetectable but will later turn into a raised, inflamed, red welts or papules (similar to mosquito bites) often in rows, which may itch intensely for several days. The itching and inflamed pruritic bumps should resolve themselves within 1-2 weeks. In some rare cases, the bed bugs biological anesthetic protein in the saliva may cause a visibly detectable allergenic skin reaction resulting in urticaria (hives) evolving into fluid-filled rashes. If you scratch the itchy welts, you increase the odds of a secondary bacterial infection caused by exposing the open wound to microbes that could spread the infection to other parts of the body.
Diagnosis of a bed bug bite can be difficult because the first bite takes approximately 10-14 days for you to see the symptoms (immune reaction); later, bites can and probably will react faster.
Depending on the bite intensity and frequency, there are typically five post-bite reactionary stages:
- No reaction (Too few or no antibodies developed)
- Delayed reaction
- Both an immediate & a delayed reaction
- Immediate reaction only
- No reaction (True hypersensitivity can develop due to excess circulating IgG antibodies – but is reversible)
The “Immediate” immune reaction may appear within one to 24 hours after a given bite and may last 1-2 days, while a “Delayed” immune reaction will usually first appear one to three (up to 14) days after a bite and could last 2-5 days.
Individuals that have the fifth post-bite reaction may develop a sensitivity “syndrome” that can include nervousness, almost constant agitation (“jumpiness”), and sleeplessness. These effects are reversible and will disappear over time by either removing the bed bugs or relocating the person to a bedbug-free environment.
Even though there have been 28 disease pathogens found in bed bugs, the transmission of these pathogens to humans has never been documented and is considered to be highly unlikely. And since not everyone reacts in the same way to bed bug bites, their medical significance is limited to the itching and inflammation associated with their bite. For these reasons, bed bugs are not considered to be a serious disease threat.
There is a growing social awareness associated with bed bug bites and infestations. Currently, there are no requirements to report infestations to any public health or government agency. It is up to you, the individual, to understand what bed bugs look like, see the signs of bed bugs, understand how to be bugs spread, and, most importantly, know how to get rid of bed bugs yourself.