Can you see bed bugs with the human eye?

When you wake up covered in bites and suspect they are caused by bed bugs, but you can’t see anything around you, then that’s when you start to wonder if you can actually see them with your eyes unassisted with a magnifying glass. Are bed bugs visible to the human eye? So as we consider this and then give you an answer to this question we will be also giving you a few tips and tricks to detect bed bugs and get rid of them as quick as possible!

Are bed bugs visible to the human eye?

The quick answer is yes, you can see bed bugs with your eyes (unless you have a visual acuity problem, that is). However, we can develop the topic further because there are reasons why you won’t see bed bugs after they bite……

If someone takes out a bag with bed bugs inside it, you will definitely be able to see them and make them out. They are the size of an apple seed, which is quite considerable and large enough to be seen by our eyes. However, their eggs are around the size of a pinhead, and very young bed bugs are almost invisible because they are tiny and most times translucent. On the other hand, adults are red to brownish and have an elongated body you will be able to see, but only if you know where.

The problem with bed bugs is not that they are microscopical. They are a terrible pest because they can actually hide very well and know how to do it.

They get uglier under a microscope. Not needed to see them normally though.

They find very dark places to hide, always around your bed or nearby. Since they can’t fly, they would crawl out of their hiding place into your bed, bite you until they are satiated with your blood, and be back before you wake up. That’s why people usually wake up with bites and no apparent signs of a bed bug infestation. They can smell their prey…. YOU!

What can you do to spot bed bugs at home?

If you know where to find them, you will probably spot bed bugs in no time at all. First off, you need to have signs of a bed bug infestation. For example, waking up with red bites all over your body, but also having red-colored stains on your mattress, or blurry dark dots that appear dispersed all over the place (bed bug droppings). If you found these signs after changing your bedding, look at the favorite places of these insects:

  • All over your clutter: If you have a messy space at home, bed bugs are probably finding a place to hide and reproduce in your clutter. Anything that leaves a very small and dark space is a fitting hiding place.
  • In folds and joints: Any small fold in your curtains is also a good spot. Be sure to check also in drawer joints. Anything that is dark, concealed, and very small, is a tempting place to stay for them.
  • Crevasses and holes: Having holes and crevasses in your house or furniture may turn into the perfect bed bug house. You may even need to check under loose wallpaper and in any piece of furniture with cracks or small spaces.

Since bed bugs hide in so many places, they can also be transported without you noticing. Also consider that they can resist long periods without feeding, so think twice before bringing used furniture to your home and disinfect your clothes and items thoroughly if you recently visited a place you know is infected with bed bugs.

What can you do if you ever see bed bugs in your house?

Even if you don’t have bites or allergies to these devilish insects, we do recommend to get rid of them. According to official sources, they have microbes inside of them but do not cause any transmissible disease known to man. Yet.  Still, your small bed bug pest infestation can grow considerably since they reproduce very quickly and become a real challenge if you want to get rid of them later.

If you only found one or two bed bugs, be sure there are more of them lurking around. You can use various approaches to get rid of them:

  • Keep everything clean and tidy: This advice is very effective against bed bugs because you will leave them with no place to hide. Get rid of stocked magazines or newspaper, or clean them thoroughly and cover them in special encasements if they are precious to you.
  • Heat treatment: Steam is especially useful to clean your clothes. They will die if you expose them to temperatures of 114ºF.
  • Insecticides: You can also use these substances to kill bed bugs. We recommend applying them on known crevices in the furniture. Be careful about using insecticides if you own pets, if you have small children, and if you don’t know the safety measures to apply them correctly.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This is one of the most effective treatments against bed bugs if you have pets or small children at home. It looks like dust and absorbs the moisture in bed bugs, killing them without affecting humans or pets.

Most importantly, consider looking for professional advice if your bed bug problem is still around or if you consider it is a severe infestation and not one or two isolated findings. It is also important to look for medical assistance if you develop allergies to bed bug bites and wake up with swollen areas all over your body. As you contact with your doctor, you can take an anti-allergic medication or apply topical creams to control the itching and the swelling. You may need to leave your home and return to your home after bed bug treatment.

In short, we just confirmed that you can indeed actually see bed bugs with the naked eye. You are however very unlikely to see young bed bugs and eggs, though. And if you have this type of problem at home, follow the tips we considered above, and call for professional help if you have a severe infestation.

References:

Doggett, S. L., Dwyer, D. E., Peñas, P. F., & Russell, R. C. (2012). Bed bugs: clinical relevance and control options. Clinical Microbiology Reviews25(1), 164-192.

Koganemaru, R., & Miller, D. M. (2013). The bed bug problem: past, present, and future control methods. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology106(3), 177-189.

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