Adult bed bugs are small oval wingless insects just under a ¼ inch long and are relatively flat. They are reddish-brown in color and sometimes are mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Well-developed antennae, small eyes, and the area behind the head expand forward on either side of the head. The body becomes more elongate, swollen, and dark after a blood meal. Immature bed bugs look very much like adults but are much smaller and lighter in color. They gain their reddish brown color as they mature. Newly hatched eggs are the size of a dust speck and transparent in color, almost impossible to see with the naked eye. Both mature and immature bed bugs feed exclusively on blood and while they have been shown to feed on other animals their primary food source comes from humans. The bite of any size bed bug whether young or adult has the same affect on the host.
Bed bugs live in many areas of the room. While their favorite spot is close to the food source you will find them harboring in the seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames and head boards. Nightstands are also a favorite spot where they find security in the cracks and crevices of the corner of drawers. Because of their flat bodies they can fit into any space a piece of paper can fit in to.
Typically they are nocturnal insects, unless they are very hungry. They spend most of the daylight hours hiding in locations where they are unlikely to be seen. Bed bugs do not live on or infest people instead they are similar to a mosquito that feeds and then leaves. They are most active late at night or just before dawn when the occupants are in a deep sleep, during which time they come out of their hiding places to feed. Bed bugs are attracted to the C02 that is exhaled and the warmth of the human body. Bed bugs move around by crawling, they do not fly or jump. If they are present in a room they are usually located on or close to the bed or couch so that the bug can be in close contact with its food source but can also be found in other areas as well, usually within 20 feet.
Sightings of live bugs, eggs, shed skins and feces indicate an ongoing infestation. Evidence of a past or present bed bug infestation can include dark reddish-brown fecal or blood spots on linens, in mattress seams, or on walls and ceilings.