Bed bugs are small, flat insects. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and do not fly. Bed bug eggs and nymphs are tiny and can be very difficult to see. Bed bug adults can be up to 1/3 inch or about the size of President Lincoln’s head on a penny.
Bed bugs often bite people at night during sleep. One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands or any other body parts while sleeping. It is important to look for other bed bug clues where you sleep. These clues include bed bug skins after molting, blood spots on bedding, or a sweet musty odor.
Bed bug bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea -- a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. It is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear from one to several days later.
Download these fact sheets about bed bugs from the University of Tennessee Extension Service.