No, bed bug legs are quite short which only allow them to crawl slowly over surfaces. When bed bugs are floating on water, their legs are not long enough to make them stand over the surface of the water using the surface tension. Their legs make them stay low to the ground whenever they walk, which also helps keep them discreet around potential predators or danger.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are parasites that are related to cicadas, aphids, and stink bugs. Bed bugs belong to the order Hemiptera. Compared to these other insects though, bed bugs have evolved to feed on humans for our blood.
These insects, much like fleas or lice, cannot survive without access to warm-blooded animals for long periods of time. But unlike those two blood-sucking insects, bed bugs do not need to live on their host’s body. Bed bugs only need physical contact with their hosts during feeding, after which they return to their hiding places to digest their blood meal and to keep safe. They hide away in our mattresses, box springs, bed frames, carpets, floors, and furniture.
Bed bugs feed mostly during the night when their host is asleep so they are less likely to get caught.
How does one’s home become infested with bed bugs?
Bed bugs frequent places with heavy human traffic such as hotels, dormitories, schools, hospitals, and public transportation. If you as much as sit on an infested bed or seat, one pregnant female bed bug can crawl onto your clothes or into your bag. The bed bug will grab onto you until you get home and put down your bag or lay on your bed.
The bed bug will crawl down and immediately start looking for a hiding place, or harborage. They will then learn your sleeping habits and know the optimal time to feed on you. The female will lay eggs which will hatch into male and female baby bed bugs, or nymphs. These nymphs will become sexually mature adults and produce their own families. Before you know it, you have a sizable bed bug population in your home.
How to identify bed bugs
How big are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are around the size of an apple seed. They are around four to five millimeters long. They can balloon to up to three times their size after a blood meal. Some people think bed bugs are so small and difficult to see with the naked eye, but they can actually be very visible if you just know what to look for.
Bed bugs are also shaped like an apple seed and have flat bodies. Their abdomens are oval-shaped and their heads are small.
Bed bug physical features
A bed bug’s head is small and is on top of their bodies. It has one eye on each side of their head. They have a straw-like beak, that is similar to a mosquito’s proboscis, that they keep tucked under their bodies when not in use. They have two short antennae on the top of their head.
The bed bug’s thorax is in between its head and abdomen.
The bed bug’s abdomen is twice as wide and four times as long as its thorax. The abdomen is round when seen from above. A bed bug’s body is flat before feeding and round and rotund after feeding.
Their body is segmented with rudimentary wings on the back.
They have six legs, the first pair extending from the thorax, while the other two pairs extend from the abdomen. Each leg has one bend, and their feet have tiny hooks that help the bed bug grab onto the surface they are scaling.
What color are bed bugs?
Adult bed bugs are a reddish-brown color, while bed bug nymphs are paler. The color of their exoskeleton becomes darker the more mature the bed bug becomes. The reddish hue they have is because of the blood they ingest. If a bed bug has just finished feeding, they are a brighter red.
Do bed bugs have long legs?
No, bed bugs legs are quite short which give the bed bug the ability to crawl close to the ground and be less noticeable to its predators. Unlike other insects that have long legs for jumping, a bed bug cannot jump to evade danger.
What does a bed bug egg look like?
Bed bug eggs are around 1mm long and are pearly white in color. They are usually laid in areas of your house that are dry, warm, hidden, and secure. The pregnant bed bug specifically chooses a place that can keep her eggs out of harm’s way. These places include the underside of the mattress, under the bed frame, and in the joints and corners of wooden furniture.
The pregnant female will lay the eggs along with a glue-like substance that hardens to keep them in place. Bed bug eggs are often laid in clusters and hard to pick up off of the surface they are laid on.
What does a bed bug bite look like?
Bed bug bites usually appear in areas of your body that are exposed and not covered by clothes during sleep. These include your arms, legs, hands, neck, and face.
A bed bug bite looks like a welt. It is reddish or pinkish, raised and swollen, and has uneven edges. The bites can be very itchy and painful. Be sure not to scratch the bites as this may result in an open wound and get infected. Over the counter anti-itch creams should solve that problem.
No, bed bugs do not have long legs. Their legs are short and stick out from their thorax and abdomen. Their short legs do not allow them to jump like other insects, nor does it allow them to stand on the water’s surface. The legs are short enough to allow them to crawl close to the ground so they cannot be easily spotted by their predators.
Image: istockphoto.com / Matteo Lanciano