Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Possible bed bug?


dead one
dead one  

I live in Peoria, Arizona and a week or two ago (around June 17th or the 24th) I found this creature dead on my computer chair. It's a reddish brown color and can kinda see like black in it, a round spot and a line that goes up towards it's head (almost like a stomach and throat thing). Since this one was dead I didn't have too much problems. I checked the seams on the matress for bed bugs and anything like that. I didn't find a thing. Then yesterday (July 1st) I was laying in bed ready to sleep when I noticed my cat watching something up next to my arm. I turned my flashlight on and saw a similar bug, but this time alive. I freaked out and ran to my boyfriend and showed him. He passed it off as nothing and told me to flush it. Parinoia set in and I started checking the bed. I found another on a stuffed animal of mine up near me and my boyfriends pillows and this time totally flipped and started tearing apart the bed. As we were doing that we found another one crawling around at the end of the bed. This one I picked up in some toilet paper and smooshed it in my fingers. It did a weird popping sensation in my fingers. I looked at it and only saw black smooshed stuff and no red for blood. I flushed them all down the toilet and continued to rake apart the bed. Checked the matress and box spring and didn't find any signs of bed bugs. No blood stains or fecal matter, no eggs or larvae and no other bugs looking like these. We checked behind the bed and along baseboards and nothing was there. We are washing and drying everything. Some items we have on the back patio in the heat of the sun. I went to go sleep on the extra couch we have since I had work in the morning. I decided to check under the cushions and along the length of the couch there was what looked like someone poured a bunch of salt and pepper under the cushions. I flipped out and me and my boyfriend moved the couch out to the garage. This afternoon (July 2nd) I haven't seen anything on the bed so far. During this boyfriend has not been bit by anything and I only had a total of three bites, one on one arm and the other two on the other arm and my shoulder.

Any help is appreciated with this. Thank you so much. I uploaded two images, but I have a few more I can link from photo bucket.


Dear Shari:

Well, shoot.  Nine times out of ten, a "possible bed bug" turns out to be some other kind of insect entirely, but, unfortunately, you have the real thing.

If you rent, make sure you know your legal rights before disclosing anything to the landlord.  Those rights vary state to state, probably even city to city.

Most people acquire bed bugs through travel, or by purchasing used furniture or mattresses.

Getting rid of bed bugs is no easy matter.  Heat treatment appears to be most effective, but is also usually the most expensive.

Here's a "Bed Bug Primer" I wrote in my blog awhile back.  The information is still relevant:


Your boyfriend might still be getting bitten, by the way, but simply shows no symptoms.  You are correct to be taking this very seriously.  Bed bugs do not transmit any diseases as far as we know, but your sensitivity to their saliva can increase with long-term exposure.

Oh, and by the time your blood passes through a bed bug...it is black, not red.  Sorry.

You have my sincerest best wishes for a swift and hassle-free resolution to this.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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