If you've ever had the misfortune of dealing with bed bugs, you'll know what pesky little creatures they are. These apple-seed sized creepy crawlies burrow in the nooks and crannies of your mattress, bed frame, box spring, or headboard. While you lay curled up in bed, they come out from hiding and feed on unsuspecting sleepers. Doesn't this sound like something straight out of a horror movie?
While the hot temperatures can draw out the insects from the woodworks, you can guard against the dread of a potential bed-bug infestation by simply knowing what these insects look like—something few Americans actually know.
The New York Times highlighted this concept in a recent article when it asked readers to pick out the bed bug in a lineup.
The correct answer: number 4. Did you get it right? If so, good for you. If not, don't fret; only 28 percent of "leisure travelers"—aka you and me—could correctly discern which critter was the bed bug. In that same survey, business travelers got the answer right 35 percent of the time, but when you spend a lot of time in hotels, you've probably, unfortunately, seen your share of bed bugs.
“It’s easy for the public, who doesn’t deal with this stuff a lot, or who has maybe never encountered a problem, to not know a difference, but your parents or grandparents who lived through bed bugs, probably have a better understanding of what they look like,” said Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky.
What do bed bugs look like?
As mentioned previously, adult bed bugs are roughly the size of an apple seed. They are brownish in color, and they can swell and turn red after they've fed on blood. While bed bugs may be the thing of your nightmares, fortunately they can't spread diseases. Another win for humans: Bed bugs can't fly, and they don't have wings.
Bed bug bites can become infected, so don't hesitate to visit a doctor if you have questions. You can also call a pest extermination service to remove the creatures from your home.
So protect yourself, and don't let the proverbial (but also very real) bed bugs bite!