Bed Bug Colors (with Pictures and some Surprises)

When most people think about bed bugs, they probably imagine a small, reddish-brown, bloodsucker. But that is only one of the forms a bed bug can take. These tiny crawlers have a fascinating life cycle, during which they change shape, size, and color. So, what exactly is the color of bed bugs? 

The color of bed bug eggs is white or whitish-yellow. The nymphs or immature bed bugs are almost transparent. As they grow older, they become progressively browner or rusty-colored. Finally, adult bed bugs are either brown or reddish-brown, depending on whether they are full-on blood or not. 

It is unlikely that you will spot any bed bug infestation by noticing their eggs or the nymphs. But if you do notice some, you should know what they look like during those stages. And that is what we are going to explain in this article in further detail.

Life Cycle of Bed Bugs

First, let’s give you a brief overview of the life cycle every bed bug goes through. Like most insects, bed bugs start their journey as an egg and slowly go through various stages by the process of molting. Molting is the process where insects or snakes shed their existing skin to grow larger. 

So, here are the distinct stages in the life cycle of a bed bug: 


Female bed bugs lay about 200 to 250 eggs during their entire lifetime. These eggs are about 1 mm in size which makes them extremely difficult to spot with the naked eye. 


This is the most varied stage in the entire cycle. A bed bug goes through five separate forms of nymph before eventually becoming an adult. With each molting, they grow a bit bigger and their color starts to change as well. In this stage, they are referred to as “baby bed bugs” or “immature bed bugs”.

Of course, the nymphs are also difficult to spot because they are not that big. They can range between 1.5 to 4 mm between each stage of their nymph phase.


After the sixth and final molting, bed bugs reach a stage that researchers refer to as adults. This is the form that most of us are accustomed to seeing. They can reach up to seven millimeters in length which is nearly ¼ inches long.

Colors of Bed Bugs 

Because of their ever-evolving life cycle, their colors also change drastically over that period. This might lead to confusion and make you think these are different bugs. This can fool you into taking the wrong approach to dealing with the infestation. So, let’s take a closer look at all the colors these bloodsuckers can possess. 

Are Bed Bugs Transparent?

All bed bugs start their life in a transparent state. Although they are not completely see-through. Rather bed bug eggs are almost colorless. Seen from afar, these may look like small rice grains. 

Usually, these eggs remain inside the fabric or in a crevice. If you manage to get a very close look at one (most likely with a microscope), you may notice a speck of yellow on the body. This yellow mark actually represents the eyes of the developing bed bug. 

Are Bed Bugs White?

Bed bugs possess a white or whitish-yellow complexion when they are in their nymph stage. During this part of their lives, a bed bug constantly sheds its skin to grow rapidly. So, their exterior does not get the chance to take in color because it is being replaced.  

This white skin tone is more prominent immediately after molting or if the bug has not fed recently. After it feeds, the blood inside its body gives a reddish tone inside the white exterior. 

Are Bed Bugs Black?

Bed bugs are never black during any part of their lifespan on their own. But their color often depends on the blood they hold in their abdomen. If this blood is quite old it can have a dark color. In this case, the Bed Bug seems to be black, but it is still brown and only the large abdomen with old blood is black.

The insides of Bed Bugs also have a dark complexion to them, which might trick you into thinking that this is their true color. The organs are much smaller than a big blood meal and it appears that the parasites has a small dark spot in his body.

Are Bed Bugs Grey?

Similar to the last point, bed bugs are never grey in color naturally. Now, they are white or colorless until they become full adults. And during that time, their outer layer may get a greyish complexion due to dust or the color of the fabric.

However, it can look like they are grey in some variants if the blood is turning dark and it combines with the skin to a grey-appearing shine.

But under normal conditions, they will not display this pigment.  

Are Bed Bugs Brown, Rusty?

This is the color of rust that you notice on metal plates or blades. And this is also the same color bed bugs display when they have reached full maturity. 

Their outer skeleton has fully formed and so they can take on a permanent color. Due to the nature of their diet, their skin tone becomes progressively more dark-red. As they near the end of their life cycle, the brown on them becomes even deeper, with their black internals providing a striped pattern. 

Are Bed Bugs Yellow?

Bed bugs can give off a yellow color if they have not drunk blood for some time. So, a yellow bed bug is a great indicator that they are looking or will look to feed soon. 

This is better seen with nymphs or baby bed bugs. They have not achieved a permanent brown coating. So, look more yellow right after molting a couple of times. 

Want to know more about Bed Bugs? Here are some of our most popular articles:
Bed Bugs and Your Food (Essential Knowledge)
Do Bed Bugs Bite in the Same Spot? (Important Facts)
Bed Bugs and Yarn (Solution Included)
Can Bed Bugs Be Repelled by Using a High-Frequency Sound?

Are Bed Bugs Red or Bright Red?

When we say red, we mean the color of blood, which is exactly what bed bugs look like after having a blood meal. The contrast in their skin tone before and after drinking blood is easily noticeable in immature bugs.  

Their abdominal area will give a bright, reddish, translucent effect. This will turn black once they digest their meal.  

Bed Bug Nymph filled with fresh blood

Now you know what bed bugs look like during different points in their life cycle. So hopefully, you will be able to spot these bugs a lot easier and prevent their infestation sooner. 

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