Color is an important characteristic to help you identify whether or not you really have bed bugs. Bed bugs are usually described as being reddish-brown in color, but the actual color of bed bugs you find depends a lot on the stage of life they are in and if they have fed recently.
After bed bugs hatch, they are called nymphs. These nymphs are nearly translucent or a pale whitish-yellow in color. After they have had a blood meal, their abdomens will appear bright red and will gradually darken to a rust color as the blood is digested. Bed bug nymphs go through 5 molts (instars) before reaching adulthood. After each molt, the color of the bed bug will gradually get more and more brown until they are fully mature.
Bed bug nymph feeding
The color of an adult bed bug after a blood meal changes far less than that of the nymphs. Adult bed bugs are a light mahogany brown color when unfed and may appear a deep reddish-brown when they are fully engorged with blood. Due to hair growth patterns, they may also appear to be striped.
Adult bed bug
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