How Big Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny and sometimes mistaken for other insects. If you are trying to determine if your home is infested, it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for, and knowing the sizes of bed bugs at different stages can help you determine whether it’s time to hire a professional exterminator.

So how big are bed bugs? A good way to visualize the length of a bed bug is to take a penny and look at the side with Lincoln’s head on it. The letters to the left of Lincoln’s head, in the word “liberty,” are about a millimeter in length each, which is about the size of bed bug eggs and newly hatched nymphs. This is very hard to spot with the naked eye unless you use a magnifying glass. Adult bed bugs are an easier target.

Average adult bed bugs grow to a little over 6mm in length or about a 1/4 of an inch. That’s almost the size of the entire “liberty” word on the head side of the penny. Adult bed bugs are a similar color to a used penny (dirty copper) when they are not fed and blood red when they are. Also note that adult bed bugs get slightly longer when they are fed.

Bed bugs fit into tight spaces as small as the width of a credit card, which is about 1mm. If you suspect you have bed bugs, swiping a credit card or a piece of paper in a thin crevice such as the space between your baseboard and floor can sometimes reveal hidden bed bugs.

So how big are bed bugs? They are anywhere from a small millimeter-long egg to a fed adult bed bug that’s over 1/4 an inch long. It can take up to a week or two for an egg to hatch, and the nymph takes over a month to mature into a fully grown adult. If you’re spotting adult bed bugs in your inspection without much difficulty, this is a big problem, and it means your infestation has grown to a decent size. At this point, it’s wise to call an exterminator. Consult Sniff K9’s preparation page for a list of things to prepare before exterminating.

Photo: Flickr

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