Bed Bugs Appearance and Life Cycle | US EPA

Knowing what to look for is the first step in identifying and controlling bed bugs.There are many bugs that look like bed bugs, so an accurate identification is a critical first step to avoid costly treatment for the wrong bug. The types of bugs that look like bed bugs will vary somewhat depending on your region of the country, but photos and descriptions of common look-alikes have been compiled by researchers:

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Two adult bed bugs in a petri dish (courtesy of Kim Jung)

Adult bed bugs, in general,are:

about the size of an apple seed (5-7 mm or 3/16 - 1/4 inch long);

long andbrown, with a flat, oval-shaped body (if not fed recently);

atrue bug (characteristics of true bugs include a beak with three segments; antenna that have four parts; wings that are not used for flying; and short, golden-colored hairs); and

smelly, with a musty-sweetish odor produced through glands on the lower side of the body.

Young bed bugs (also callednymphs), in general,are:

Bed bug eggs, in general, are:

Life cycle of the bed bug. Photo Courtesy of Stephen Doggett, Department of Medical Entomology, Westmead Hospital, Sydney, Australia

The life cycle of a bed bug is shown in the photograph below.During its lifetime, a bed bugwill go through the following stages (Starting from the top left, moving counterclockwise):

Eggs (1mm).

1ststage nymph (1.5 mm).

2ndstage nymph (2 mm).

3rdstage nymph (2.5 mm).

4thstage nymph (3 mm).

5th stage nymph (4.5 mm).

Unfed adult female.

Unfed adult male.

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Bed Bugs Appearance and Life Cycle | US EPA

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