Do Bed Bugs Have Wings: Basic Bed Bug Anatomy

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says “knowing thy enemy” is the best way to defeat him. Although paraphrasing the works of Sun Tzu may be on the extreme side, the aforementioned logic can still be applied to a bed bug infestation: Once you know everything about bed bugs, identifying and eliminating them become much easier tasks.

While there may be a lot to know about bed bugs, understanding basic anatomy is an effective first step. The following guide will set out to answer common questions such as “do bed bugs have wings?” and provide basic information about bed bug anatomy.

General Structure, Size, Color, and Shape

Bed bugs are insects belonging to the order hemiptera. This means that, like other insects, they have six legs and three main components of their bodies: a head, thorax, and abdomen. Regardless of their age, all bed bugs – except for eggs – are flat and oval shaped and have long antennae.

The size and color of a bed bug, however, will vary with its age. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed and rusty brown in color, whereas younger bed bugs – also known as “nymphs” – are usually white or tan, translucent, and no larger than a poppy seed. Bed bugs of all ages will become bloated and red after a blood meal.

The Head

The order hemiptera covers “true bugs,” which include bed bugs. True bugs feature piercing and sucking mouths which, although usually used for plant sap, can be used for sucking blood from humans and animals. Whenever bed bugs pierce the skin, they release an anticoagulant that prevents blood from clotting.

Other features of the head include heat-sensing antennae and protruding eyes.

Legs and Other Forms of Mobility

Bed bugs have six legs that allow them to crawl on horizontal and vertical surfaces. Their legs, however, are incapable of jumping.

Do bed bugs have wings? No. If you see wings or a vertical line down the back of a bug indicating wings, you can breath easily.

Reproductive Organs

Telling male and female bed bugs apart is an easy task: Male bed bugs have a pointed tip on their abdomen, whereas females have a rounded tip. Bed bugs mate through a process known as “traumatic insemination,” where the male bed bug pierces the female’s abdomen and ejaculates inside, fertilizing her eggs. The female can lay nearly 500 eggs over the course of her life.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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About Parker Brown

When it comes to bed bugs, I'm not an industry professional, but I have some first-hand experience: When I was a child, I briefly lived in a home with a bed bug infestation. Although we eventually called the exterminator to get rid of them, we tried solving the problem ourselves on numerous occasions. Needless to say, none of our attempts were that successful!I'm always willing to learn and research new things, and I don't see any reason why I wouldn't enjoy writing about bed bugs. They're nasty pests, but having lived with them at one point, I wouldn't mind knowing more about them and becoming an authority figure in the process.As for my chosen content types and categories, I'm willing to write anything you need me to. I also have access to a few local exterminators who I'm sure would be happy to answer some questions if necessary. My personal preferences, however, are bed bug detection, prevention, and removal.I feel that my willingness to learn, research, and write about all things bed bugs coupled with nearly five years of writing experience makes me very qualified to be a writer for Sniff K9's. I hope you'll think so too!Thanks in advance for your consideration-- I look forward to (hopefully) working with you in the near future.All the Best,-Parker Brown