Amazing high resolution photos of bed bugs

by nobugsonme on January 22, 2011 · 13 comments

in bed bug photos

This is a tricky post.  On the one hand, many of you will find these high resolution photos of bed bugs from Richard Naylor to be absolutely fascinating.

On the other hand, many of you — perhaps especially those whose bed bug problems are recent, or not yet solved — will find them horrifying.  They’re really detailed.

For this reason, I am going to give you a bit of warning, so you can bail on this post if you need to. 









Here they are:

That last one’s my favorite. I feel like I am staring down the enemy.

Many thanks to Richard Naylor of the University of Sheffield, who gave me permission to share his amazing photographs here.

(Note: all images above are copyrighted by Richard Naylor and used by permission.)

1 Paula Cottom January 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for this post on twitter. Dr Naylor’s work is very interesting and I consider this post very valuable to facilitate me learning about his work. Entomologists everywhere are really baffled by this bug and I want to learn all I can about it as well.
Thanks again,

2 CarpathianPeasant January 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm


I thought it most interesting that when well-fed both the top and bottom part of the body “rounds” about an equal amount. The body must be something like a balloon. It isn’t just the top of the thing that is “pliable.”

It’s also interesting to see that the thing is just covered with a hair-like something — a lot of it, as look at the amount on the head. No wonder it can shake off a lot of insecticide. The stuff never gets to the bug itself.

3 Lou Sorkin January 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

A quick way to describe the insect body is that it is composed of hardened external body parts or plates that are connected by membranes to each other. When the gut fills up with blood, it fills up equally so it expands the body equally in whatever direction the stretched membranes allow. The exposed parts of the abdominal plates (tergites) have patches of setae (what you called hairs), but the part that is normally covered by the neighboring tergite is smooth and shiny in those bugs that have not recently fed. In the last 2 pictures, one bug is beginning to feed and one has fed. You can see that each dorsal abdominal segment is composed of a rough section (full of setae) and a smooth, shiny section (no setae). Bugs that have fed always look shiny and not dull because the shiny parts now are visible. The shininess allows the abdominal segments to easily move under and over each another during feeding and “filling up like a balloon” stage.

4 NotSoSnug January 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Great photos NoBugs, and thanks to Dr. Naylor! Thanks for the description of the tergites Lou!

I went on and read that the chitin of the tergites is hardened by calcium carbonate while the shiny portions are more elastic. Does this elastic portion harden overtime, leading to the necessity of moulting? And I wonder if the setae evolved while these were bat bugs to adhere bat hair, as the setae seem unecessary in the human variety.

I particularly like the second photo of the unfed bug. You can see how thin the abdomen can get, all the better to hide in your ____ (pick a spot you’d never expect them to fit).

5 nobugsonme January 23, 2011 at 1:10 am

Hey NotSoSnug!

Good to hear from you! Of all the readers, I knew you’d enjoy these photos.

For those who don’t know, NotSoSnug is the artist behind the site banners for Bedbugger. And if it was up to him, those bed bugs in the banner would look even more realistic than they do now. More like this guy:

NotSoSnug's King Bed Bug

6 nobugsonme January 23, 2011 at 1:13 am

Thanks, Lou!

7 NotSoSnug January 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Thanks, NoBugs! Yes it’s true, I do prefer the Cinister Cimex.

8 Mo February 19, 2011 at 8:35 am

Uuuh, that’s really horrible. I am allergic of dust mites and so I hate the thought of having some more visitors in my bed 🙁
Can you tell me if I can also fight against bedbuggers with my anti mite spray (it’s this one:

9 Mo February 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

Sorry, there a default in the link. THIS is my anti mite stray (didn’t find any hints of my question in the direction for use):

10 nobugsonme February 20, 2011 at 3:30 am


The directions state that this product is for dust mites. Bed bugs are a completely different problem — an insect that feeds on your blood directly. This product is not labeled to treat bed bugs (and even if it were, you can’t get very far with most OTC products — knowledge is more important, and stronger products are available).

I can’t comment on the product’s efficacy for treating dust mites.

11 Chuck February 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Those photo’s gave me the willies and it’s been SIX years since I had a BB bite me. Ugh!

12 nobugsonme February 26, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I completely understand, Chuck! Sorry you had that experience.

13 Pest Control Toronto February 27, 2011 at 3:06 am

These pictures are amazing, I have seen many bed bugs in the last several years but none of them have been that up close and personal. Thanks for posting!

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