Today, bed bugs are uncommon pests. Many infestations identified as bed bugs are actually closely related species such as bat bugs or swallow bugs. Knowing what species has infested a house is an important distinction when planning a control strategy. While all of these bugs are external, bloodsucking parasites of warm-blooded animals, each type has a preferred host. Knowing the preferred host is essential to locating and eliminating the source of the bugs.
Bed Bugs, like ants, come in a variety of species, but generally they are about 3/16" long, broadly oval and flat. Most are mahogany or red-brown in color. The larvae are very small and clear. After feeding bed bug larvae can resemble small drops of fresh blood. Bed bugs have straw-like (piercing-sucking) mouthparts. Their wings are very short and look like small pads. They can not fly. Bed bugs are known to give off what has been described as an obnoxiously sweet odor, or an odor similar to fresh raspberries. They will leave small spots of dried blood on the sheets and walls after feeding. If you discover a bug, you need the help of a professional trained technician to identify your pest.
Because bugs hide, having an infestation without actually seeing any of them is possible. If you suspect you have bed bugs, look for small spots of blood on bedding or walls. There may be black or brown spots left behind around well-used hiding or resting places. These spots are dried-excrement.