What Bedbugs Look Like and Helpful Tips for Ridding Your Home of Them

By Eric John Anderson , last updated December 21, 2011
Adult bedbugs are reddish-brown and have a flat, rounded body, and there are a number of solutions for ridding your home of them. They are sometimes mistaken for booklice, carpet beetles or other small insects. They do not have wings, but they have six long legs extending from the front of the body as well as two small antennae. Since bedbugs are bloodsucking (hematophagous) insects, they have two hallow feeding tubes that protrude from the front of the mouth.
The best way to investigate for bedbugs is to check the edges of your bed mattress or couch cushions; the bedbugs will leave a reddish brown trail or group of spots around the edges. When you go to a hotel it's good to pull back the sheets and check the mattress before you hop into bed. You are very unlikely to see them, but it's good to check for their signs anyway.
One of the best forms of prevention is washing your sheets and pillowcases with hot water regularly. Another good idea is to flip the mattress and search for signs of infestation every other month. The signs that you may have a bedbug problem are sudden bite marks when you wake up in the morning. If you develop a surprising rash, then you should go immediately to a doctor to find out the cause. The longer you wait to find out if you do in fact have bedbugs, the worst the infestation will get and the harder it will be to eliminate them.
There are both pesticide and non-pesticide approaches to eliminating a bedbug infestation. It is best to consult a professional, but some harmless forms of pesticide can be purchased and used. Unfortunately some bedbugs have developed a resistance to various types of pesticides such as DDT or organophosphates, and the list keeps growing.
Other forms of non-pesticide elimination include vacuuming up the insects, heat treating, or wrapping the mattress or cushions in airtight bags can all be effective.
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