photos of bed bugs depicting various instars in colony; (only partially loads full image) and closeups of first instars

by loubugs on December 10, 2006 · 25 comments

in bed bugs, entomologists, photos, photos of bed bugs, photos of bed bugs

pict0026.JPGcimex-n1-on-finger.jpgempty 1st instar bed bugrear view of nymphfeeding, first pictureFeeding 1st instargetting fullfrontal viewquite full nowI’ve uploaded some photos of bed bug feeding. Remember the first instars are only 1 millimeter long so every part of body won’t be in focus at the same time during photo session. The series includes empty nymph to full one with different views and a rear view. Proboscis and stylets separate and shows labium bends backward out of way as stylets enter skin. Only seen in 2 frontal view shots of the series. Finger and bug demonstrate relative size of bug, now clearly visible, because it has just eaten (by L. Sorkin). Other images taken with a Microptics setup at Division of Invertebrates, AMNH, by L. Sorkin & R. Mercurio.

1 deb December 10, 2006 at 8:25 pm

How do I find these photos ????

2 Lou December 10, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Click on the thumbnails. If you leave the cursor on the thumbnail, the name and/or description appears.

3 Sean December 10, 2006 at 9:09 pm

Hi Lou,

Are these copyrighted? Can I use them on my site and in educational presentations?


Entomologist / Pest Professional

4 jessinchicago December 10, 2006 at 9:21 pm

Holy crap. Seriously, holy crap. Those pictures are, while quite disgusting to a person who has been bitten so many times, utterly amazing as well.

It’s awesome that you took the time and put in the effort to take them and post them for us. Thanks, Lou.


P.S. Is that you being the food? Holy crap.

5 deb December 10, 2006 at 10:21 pm

Lou…This is so difficult to view….When I think of them climbing on my stomach..and my face..and my legs…it makes me sick to my stomach..Who in the world cannot recognize these vampire bugs as a health issue. There are people out there with little children who are being bitten. I hope these photos will reach some higher up officials. These are excellent photos. Thank you Lou…

6 nobugsonme December 10, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Lou, thanks so much. Truly horrific as Jess notes. I really appreciate your sharing them. I hope you will feel free to post any photos or information here anytime, or just throw in a comment any time you feel like it.

7 buggedinbrooklyn December 11, 2006 at 1:16 am

quote from deb “it makes me sick to my stomach..Who in the world cannot recognize these vampire bugs as a health issue. There are people out there with little children who are being bitten. I hope these photos will reach some higher up officials.”

…and old people too deb.

I take care of my 87yo father. the more he understands the problem, the more he doesn’t want to go to bed at night. I don’t want to go to bed as well.

it’s too bad that no NEW YORK official will take real steps to deal with this problem till it hits them in the bedroom.

what is also sad is that I’m now understanding how many buildings and residents have no idea what they are dealing with till it’s way too late.
Brooklyn NY is going to have a huge problem soon and have no idea what’s happening till its too late due to the lack of education on the subject matter.

Lou, good work in showing the freaks eating us.


8 nobugsonme December 11, 2006 at 5:07 pm

Hi Buggedinbrooklyn– you’re right– all of NYC is going to have an enormous problem soon.

Lou–thanks especially for the one showing your finger– I really was not sure what a 1st instar would look like NOT close-up, and now I am. I am completely perplexed why I have seen nothing. I am pretty sure that even a translucent (never fed) 1mm instar would be visible on me or the bed.

9 deb December 12, 2006 at 11:26 pm

dear buggedinbrooklyn….I am so sorry about your situation…and you are so right…the elderly ..the invalid…it is so criminal on the part of our governments….to be denying this…to be making us out to be “overreacting” …trust me…I will organize a March on Bed Bugs if necessary…they will hear us…they have to !!! deb

10 buggedinbrooklyn December 13, 2006 at 2:04 am

dear deb,

thanks for your kind words.
I agree that the biggest problem is that we are not “overreacting” and no one could understand just how we feel till they too are ATTACKED and VIOLATED by a bedbug infestation.

I have been amazed at how our government is doing almost nothing to help educate the public on how bad this realy is, and what to look for.
maybe your right, and a march is what is needed to wake them up.

I don’t know what to say, something has to be done to wake people up to this growing problem.


11 Becky Primus August 30, 2008 at 9:11 pm

I am freaking out. I went to look at a house for sale and I found redish brown bugs on me when I left. I do not know if it is bed bugs. Are bed bugs squashable between your fingers? I found them in the seam of my jeans too. The bugs were killed by me squashing them they were kind of slender through the middle and very small. How do you get them out of your car? If its bed bugs I want to stop it before it gets to my children. Help!

12 nobugsonme August 31, 2008 at 2:50 am


There are more photos here. I would try and verify whether you encountered bed bugs. I suspect it is too late, but if you do encounter bed bugs, it’s a good idea not to take your possessions indoors without careful inspection (and in the case of bags and clothing, a run in the dryer on hot, or washing and drying on hot).

Please come to the forums if you need more advice or are concerned:

13 Washington DC September 11, 2008 at 10:00 am

I have seen two bugs, both kind of near my bed (on e on the bedframe itself and one on the wall.) The thing is, they look black. Like I remember thinking they were black when I saw them. The pictures being displayed on this site, and others, are all featuring brown to reddish bugs. I DO have bites, on my legs. I guess I have been telling myself that they are mosquito bites, but now I am unable to sleep because i think about bed bugs. HELP!

14 nobugsonme September 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Washington, you must try and catch a sample of those bugs and have one positively identified by a professional. A university entomology department or a reputable PCO will be able to identify it. Pick it up with clear packing tape and affix to a white card.

Also, the photos above are first instars (young bed bugs) which are small and transparent (then red after feeding for the first time). See this page for a wider range of bed bug colors and sizes.

15 Pat January 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Since I have been itching for 4 months and went on the internet to investigate, I thought I had scabies…but after going to 3 doctors (2 dermatologist) found out that I don’t have scabies..and then I noticed a brownish bug on my bed. I was raised in the country and didn’t think anything about that as I have been exposed to various bugs (Texas) all my life and not been concerned about any of them…I leave them alone and they leave me along…However, I have noticed other ones like it and my rash presisted…and I also noticed that the whelps where more on the side that I sleep on…i just got to thinking and went to my bed and lo and behold there were little ones IN MY BED in various places (late at night when I started to go to bed) and I found some bigger ones and then looked at the mattress binding and found on of the little almost see-though ones…I guess they are bed bugs…I will not sleep in my bed until this is resolved…anyone have any thoughts?? Also, I am in an efficiency right now and my space is limited…if I sleep on the couch will they come after me? the distance is about 8 feet with a half wall partition wall between the sleeping area and the couch..anyone have any thoughts??????????

16 kaylee March 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm


I hope you’re still checking up on this stream of comments and I certainly hope that someone has told you before now that you should NOT cease sleeping in your bed EVEN if and ESPECIALLY if you are sure you have bed bugs. The reason is that if you start sleeping on your couch instead, for example, they will follow you (they are attracted to your breath, carbon dioxide) and you run the risk of spreading the infestation even further around your home. Truly, the best advice is to stay sleeping in your bed and promptly formulate a comprehensive plan to rid yourself of the infestation. If it costs a bit of money, believe me, it’s well worth it so long as your plan is COMPRENSIVE. So many waste time and money just doing a half-assed attempt at “extermination” only to find the infestation persists because maybe a few were left behind. Also, people still assume, because of their name, that bed bugs only infest beds or other soft material/upholstered furniture. NOT TRUE!!! They will hide behind pictures on the wall, in metal futon frames…That is why bed bugs are such a scary prospect; they are just about the hardest pest to get rid of. There is no truly effective pesticide and since they can live for so long without feeding, you might never know you have them till well into an infestation. In third world countries, they sometimes just burn the whole place down!

17 nobugsonme March 12, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Yes, they are very persistent and difficult to eradicate. Pat, I am sorry I did not see your comment sooner, but I hope you found our Bedbugger forums

You need good, professional assistance from someone experienced in getting rid of them.

Read our FAQs and come to the Bedbugger forums if you need tips and support.

18 coolxiao June 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Hi, How can I upload my pictures here?

19 coolxiao June 8, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I have been bitten for three months in Casa Espana apartment, Tucson, Arizona, but the manager won’t end my leasing to let me go. And the Pest Control was not much helpful after twice treatments.
I just wanna tell you guys never check into Casa Espana to living, this place is a hell. Bad conditions and bad service, and most unbearable thing is the bed bugs.
I wanna show you the pictures of my bites. But I can’t find out how.

20 chloe June 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I have to admit it is disturbing, but was is most disturbing are the people who know they have this infestation and do nothing… especially when they know they are putting others around them at risk for an uninvited infestation. I’ve had abusive verbal arguments with patients. They walk into the ER and inform you of the issue then show up two days later because they have run-out of the treatment that was given to the child whom they brought in a day prior all because they used the treatment for everyone in the home. They deny that anyone else has been infected for fear or medical charges and so on. all while it was offered free of charge so that every individual can be treated….I inform her she has to notify the school which she does not want do…and yes you guessed it the following weeks we have an ER full of school kids and parents with bed bug bites. many of these individuals have come back from recent trips or have bought refurbished mattresses. It is one if not the primary reason for contracting this bug.

21 Chloe June 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

once again thank you for taking the time and effort to post theses valuable pictures and information to alert the public on educating themselves on this topic.

22 Chloe June 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Hello, Pat
I have to agree with Kaylee. don’t stop sleeping in your bed. first and foremost see your doctor who will give you treatment in the form of ointment, lotion and shampoo/wash then go to your hardware or pest control store if you have one in your local area and buy a special bomb that is used in your home or room to eradicated the bug. if not contact an exterminator. you must wash every garment whether used or not to avoid body re-contamination. although you must take into effect that there is a step by step process to fully avoid re-contamination.
Step 1 Doctor (to rid your body of the bug, but not to be used yet til step 3 is completed) Step 2 Garments (contained for step 3), Step 3 Home Fume Bomb or a professional exterminator( carefully examining all furniture and items as they harbor anywhere and everywhere) just as KAYLEE explained. Hope this helps, but remember always and; always consult with a professionals first not just relying on taking advise from post or other people’s experiences.

Editor’s Note: Chloe, it is impossible for doctors to identify bed bug bites based on appearance; we’ve been told a biopsy can be done to determine a bite was from a bug, but you cannot determine it was from a bed bug. Moreover, we are not aware of lotions/shampoos for treating bed bug bites. Since you appear to be a medical professional, I’d be interested to know more about what you are describing.

I appreciate your interest in helping people fight bed bugs, but I have to say, the advice you give about going to a hardware store and purchasing a bug bomb is definitely not good. Pest control experts and entomologists tell us that bug bombs are very bad news when it comes to bed bugs, because they may disperse the problem more widely. You may have bed bugs harboring in a few areas, and bombs may send them all over the place into every nook and cranny, making them hard to detect and treat. They do not solve the problem.

Anyone with bed bugs is strongly encouraged to seek knowledgeable professional help in killing them, but please do not purchase or use bug bombs against bed bugs. If you have questions or need support, please come to our forums!

23 nobugsonme June 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm


Our main page for bed bug photos is here. The bed bug bites photos are here.

As it says on the Bed Bug Bites Photos page,

If you want me to post your photo of bugs, bites, or mattresses on and link to them from Bedbugger, please post them on your account and send me the link, and I will add them here. You can start a free, anonymous flickr account by going to

We also have a new flickr group for bed bug bite photos that anyone can view and anyone can join to share bed bug bite (and other) photos. Please remember that other people will be able to find and link to the photos on as well as here. However, my flickr settings are such that no one should be able to download them or print them. If you have your own flickr account, please join the bed bugs / bedbugs photo group, and post your bedbug-related photos there (I can link to those photos here if you let me know!)

24 WINNIPEG MB Canada July 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I am so glad I found this web site! I woke up Saturday morning to find a little critter scurrying away from my arm. After investigating the speciman and taking it to the Pest Control Experts, I was sad to find out that I had some how been invested with bed bugs. Thanks to this website, I have taken the right steps in rectifying this problem!!

P.S. and to the earlier comments… it is high time the governments do something…it’s becoming a pandemic. If government officials don’t so something now then we are in big trouble.

25 nobugsonme July 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Thanks, WINNIPEG. We agree that government officials need to step up to the plate re: bed bugs. I encourage you to call and write local officials and tell them about how hard (and expensive) it is to get rid of bed bugs, and demanding that local bed bug task force be set up.

Unfortunately, where these groups have been sponsored by government officials, they have not necessarily been much help thus far. Funding is at a low in most places, due to the economy, and bed bugs really are benefitting from not being a top priority concern.

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