When you find a bug in your bed, it isn't necessarily a bed bug. We have a lot of bugs in Opelika. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to tell bed bugs apart from other bugs. Here's what you need to know.

bed bug on white paper
bed bug on blanket


A bed bug is a mere 1mm in length when it hatches from its egg. As a full-sized adult, it isn't much bigger. Bed bugs don't get much larger than 4.5 mm. So, any bug that is larger than 4.5 mm is not a bed bug.

Six Legs

Bed bugs have six legs from the moment they hatch from their eggs. They don't go through a wiggly worm stage, like some other insects. So you may be able to use this to help you identify a bed bug. If you find a spider or a mite, it will have eight legs. If you find an adult tick, it will have eight legs. A tick nymph, or seed tick, only has six legs. It may also be a reddish-brown color, like a bed bug. Keep this in mind. The good news is that you don't want either one of these in your bed. So, you don't really have to tell them apart.


A bed bug gets some of its color from what is inside its body. It has a very transparent skin when it first hatches, and this skin is still somewhat transparent when bed bugs reach their adult stage. If you see a baby bed bug, it may look like a little pale speck if it has not had a blood meal. If it is filled with blood, it will be pale and red (with its abdomen being the red portion). If it has digested a meal, it may look pale and black. As it grows, a bed bug will become tan and eventually reddish brown. In all stages, its transparent skin can help you tell it apart from other bugs that might get into your Opelika home.

Note: Sometimes carpet beetles are mistaken for bed bugs because they are only about 3 mm long and they can leave a rash on the skin that looks a little bit like bed bug bites. It is usually easy to tell a carpet beetle from a bed bug, even though it is so small. It does not have transparent skin and it does not have the coloration of a bed bug. There is one problem, however. If you see a black colored carpet beetle, it could throw you off because bed bugs can appear black. Keep in mind that carpet beetles don't mind being in the light, while bed bugs do. This may be the last clue you need to solve the puzzle.

Other Factors

Okay. We talked about light playing a role in identifying a bed bug. Let's discuss a few more factors that can help you determine whether or not you've found a bed bug.

  • Bed bugs like to hide in tight spaces. If you find insects tucked into the seam of a mattress or couch or in a gap within your luggage, you've probably found bed bugs.

  • Bed bugs have a preference for establishing themselves near beds, couches, and chairs. You probably won't find bed bugs in places that are far from where you sleep or lounge.

  • Bed bugs huddle together. If you locate a group of bugs in one spot, they're probably bed bugs. Take note that bed bugs are very small. You can find a dozen of them in a spot the size of your fingernail.

  • Bed bugs shed their skins several times as they develop. You're likely to find shed skins in compressed spaces, seams, cracks, and gaps.

  • Bed bugs leave black feces in the areas where they are hiding. If you find fecal spotting on mattresses, box springs, bedding, sheets, pillowcases, etc., you could have a bed bug infestation. But keep in mind that it may be another pest, such as cockroaches.

  • Bed bugs bite. If one bed bug bites you, you're likely to have three bites in a line or zig-zag. If more than one bed bug bites you, you'll have a lot of bites. Bed bugs feed in the same location. This will make the bites look like a path across your skin, rather than random bumps. One thing to keep in mind about bed bug bites is that they may not immediately swell up or become rashy. This can take hours, or even days.

You Have Bed Bugs. Now What?

If you identify bed bugs in your Opelika home, contact the Opelika pest experts. At Prewett Pest Control, we offer industry-leading pest control solutions for a long list of bugs that get into homes and businesses. You don't have to let the bed bugs bite. Reach out to us today for immediate assistance with your bed bug problem.


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