How Many Legs Do Bed Bugs Have | Essential Guide

Written by Thomas Matthews

Knowing what bed bugs’ strengths are and what they look like will put you at an advantage in your fight towards achieving a bed bug-free home. With that in mind, let us look at one of these parasites’ strengths – the legs.

So how many legs do bed bugs have? Bed bugs have six legs. A pair is attached to the joint between the pronotum and the wing pad. Bed bugs can’t jump or fly, though, unlike fleas. Instead, they crawl around on their six legs looking for a cozy spot to eat warm-blooded creatures like humans.

Most people have not experienced bed bugs and once they start getting bitten in the middle of the night, they might be shocked as they discover their new housemates and what they are capable of. This article goes in-depth on how bed bugs look and covers what bed bugs can do with their neatly arranged legs.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

What do Bed Bugs Look Like

Bed bugs are flat, oval in shape, and brown-reddish in color. In fact, they look like apple seeds. A baby bed bug (nymph) is tiny and almost translucent in color. An adult bed bug grows to an average of 5-7mm and it is light brown in color but changes to a dark red shade after it feeds.

The body also balloons up to look like a capsule after feeding. Much like most insects, bed bugs have three segments on their bodies. The head, pronotum, and abdomen are accompanied by the six legs that spread out to the side of the bug.

How Fast Do Bed Bugs Move?

Bed bugs move an average of four feet per minute. This is quite fast, a characteristic that when coupled with their tiny bodies gives these pests an unfair advantage over homeowners. They are able to climb into our clothes, hide and hitchhike without detection.

This speed also enables them to traverse through most surfaces found around the home; walls, floors, wood, ceiling, beddings, fabric, skin, etc.

Can Bed Bugs Jump?

Bed bugs cannot jump. For that to happen, the legs would have to be located directly below the bed bug and not on the side. Picture a grasshopper and notice how the legs are placed in a strategic position (directly below the body) which only calls for a little bend, push and the jump will happen.

Lacking the ability to jump slows down the bed bugs’ abilities to cause even more havoc. Imagine the amount of damage that would be experienced if these pests had the ability to jump from one place to the next as they so desired. Elimination would be close to impossible.

Can Bed Bugs Fly?

Can Bed Bugs Fly

Bed bugs belong to the family of small parasitic insects (Cimicidae) that feed on warm-blooded animals, this means that bed bugs have functionless wing pads. They have no wings and therefore lack the ability to fly.

While these bugs can move really fast from the clutches of danger and just as easily hide away in miniature crevices, it still feels good to learn that bed bugs cannot fly. The flight would easily increase their odds of survival which is already high, given their fast-paced legs and hide-and-seek abilities.

List of Sources

Bed Bug Photos – The State University of New Jersey
Potter, M. Bed Bugs. Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Cimex lectularius Linnaeus (Bed Bugs), University of Florida

Thomas Matthews
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