Determining the cause of insect bites can be rather tricky. And that’s especially true when trying to determine flea bites vs bed bug bites.
Both (pesky) insects are small enough to elude you while they feast on you. Usually, you only see the results after they are done with you.
But before we go any further, perhaps looking at the differences and similarities between the actual insects themselves will help us ascertain and solve the flea bites vs bed bug bites uncomfortable debate.
Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – Understanding the Parasitic Pests
It’s imperative that we tackle this issue from the root, as it will give us a clearer understanding of the bites caused by each pest. It will also help us know if the bites are just mere irritants or a reason for greater concern – like infections or diseases.
This is the most common insect bite pet owners will experience. The reason is that fleas prefer furry animals for hosts (in every applicable sense of the word).
One of the main differences between fleas and bed bugs is that fleas usually feed on your pets. Bed bugs feed on you.
In simple terms, your pets’ fur provides fleas with shelter, while the blood supplies a ready meal. Let’s quickly take a look at what they are and what makes them the evasive pest that they are.
- Fleas are a group of tiny flightless insects that form the order Siphonaptera.
- Adults grow to about 3 mm (0.12 in) long and are usually brown.
- Their bodies are flattened sideways to enable them to move through fur (or feathers) easily.
- They also have strong claws that enable them to hold on to their host and prevent them from being easily dislodged.
How to Tell if You Have a Flee Infestation to Tackle
The first tell-tale sign of a flea infestation is quite simple – an irritated pet. No, not the grumpy type of irritation.
- If you observe your pet to be scratching itself incessantly, it could be that they are being troubled by fleas.
- Make a closer inspection by getting a flea comb and run it through their fur. This may reveal fleas or their eggs.
- Upon combing, sometimes you may encounter flea feces. They look like small clods of dirt. Squashing them will leave a small red ring of blood if you touch them with a towel.
Left uncontrolled, flea populations can explode and cause some serious problems for you and your pets.
The bed bug, scientifically called Cimex lectularius, is also a flightless parasitic insect that has troubled man since the beginning of civilization. Like fleas, they feed on blood. As for the name, they got it from their favorite hiding place – the bed.
- Adult bed bugs are a brownish color.
- They can grow to be the size of an apple seed.
How Do You Tell If You Have a Bed Bug Problem?
Well, the first step is to check their favorite roost – your bed.
Unlike fleas, bed bugs are easy to squash. You can even do it with your eyes closed (as you sleep). That results in some small rust-like stains on your bedding, a sure sign that you don’t sleep alone.
- Small black dots the size of a dot are also signs that you have a bed bug infestation. These dots are caused by your blood or bed bug feces.
- Upon closer inspection, you may actually see the bed bugs as they are easy to spot due to their size and lack of speed.
- If you do find one, capturing it is a great idea as to help your pest control specialists quickly identify what they are dealing with.
Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – What Are the Physical Signs and Symptoms?
Because both parasites are bloodsuckers and both are small in size, their bites are pretty similar. But to the trained eye, it is easier to tell the two apart. Differentiation is important if you are to win the pest control battle when they are the culprits at work.
Flea Bites on Humans
Flea bites usually appear within an hour after the bite. You may also see a pattern of threes.
Flea Bites Occurence
They usually occur on or near the:
- Lower legs and feet;
- Hands (if you recently cuddled your pet);
- In the bend of elbows and knees
- Other skin folds.
Flea Bites Symptoms
- The bites cause itchiness and look like small red bumps.
- Although it’s very tempting to scratch the itch, it is strongly advisable to resist the temptation as scratching can lead to a secondary infection.
- For those with sensitive skin or strong allergic reactions to insect bites, it may also trigger hives or an allergy attack.
One tell-tale sign that the red spots are flea bites is that the bites will feature a haphazard pattern as fleas jump from place to place as they feed.
How Long Do Flea Bites Last?
Usually, flea bites last for up to 48 hours. If you are sensitive to fleas’ saliva (highly antigenic), you may develop hives or swelling and blistering. If you ignore them, you might experience skin breaks and infections.
People who get the rash and swollen welts can wait for up to 2 weeks until the skin heals.
Bed Bug Bites on Humans
Beg bug bites, much like flea bites, also cause red itchy bumps. They also seem to appear in a more linear fashion.
Bed Bug Bites Occurence
They usually occur on or near the:
- Arms and hands;
- Legs and feet.
Bed Bug Bites Symptoms
- In bed bug bites, the itchiness is more intense;
- A bed bug bite will have a dark red spot in the middle;
- Those who react severely may develop blisters or hives.
How Long Do Bed Bugs Bites Last?
Bed bugs’ bites cause fewer complications for people, but they last longer – up to two weeks. If you have a sensitivity to the bed bugs’ saliva, you can also develop a rash that heals in up to 3 weeks. Try not to scratch the bed bugs’ bites, as the marks can remain on your skin for several months.
Flea bites vs bed bug bites, can you tell the difference now?
Hopefully, these tips have made it easier to identify which parasite is feeding on your blood. But identifying the culprit is only half the battle. You need to know how to prevent these attacks and keep the bed bugs and fleas in check.
Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – Preventing an Itchy Situation
To be able to control and hopefully eradicate these two blood-sucking parasites, it’s important that you understand the factors that make them thrive.
As you can see from their brief descriptions, they have many similarities, making it easy for you to control both with the same solutions.
- You’ve probably noticed that, like mosquito bites, flea and bed bug bites are more common in spring and summer. It is because these are the times they breed the most. This is key in understanding how to combat this plague.
- Both fleas and bed bugs breed at an alarming rate, and their breeding is facilitated by their hosts. In this case, that’s the bed (bed bugs) and your pet (fleas).
In order to control fleas, you will have to ensure that:
- You regularly bathe your pet.
- Comb your pet as often as you can.
- You’ll also have to ensure that their bedding is clean too, as some fleas may hide there.
- Make sure your pet receives regular and proper flea medication/accessories.
- Try to restrict pets’ outdoor activities during flea season.
- Vacuum the carpets regularly to make sure no fleas from the pet’s bedding hid in your carpet only to jump on you.
Prevent Bed Bugs
As for bed bugs prevention,
- You will have to regularly clean your bedding and the areas around your bedding.
- Wash your bed covers and linens in the hottest water your washing machine can produce because bed bugs can’t survive the heat.
- Alternatively, take your bed linen, blankets, covers, and so on to a professional cleaner’s service three-four times a year.
- Vacuum your mattress regularly with professional equipment;
- Because bed bugs thrive inside your bed, it is also wise to ensure that they don’t gain access to it by using a bed cover;
- Keep in mind that bed bugs can also hide in the furniture and luggage, so make sure you keep those clean and sanitized as well.
Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – What to Do if You’re Already Scratching
The fact that you’re scratching is a sign that you have an infestation on your hands. Don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to burn down the house or get rid of your pests.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
- With fleas, a simple shampoo can get you rid of them if they are on your pet.
- Depending on the severity of the situation, the vet will know best how to solve the problem.
- A flea spray (like Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray) will rid your home of those pesky critters.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are not so easy to get rid of.
Sure, you can control bed bugs by thoroughly cleaning your bedding or even getting rid of an infected mattress.
But bed bugs are pretty stubborn creatures that need expertise to fully get them out of your house. While there are chemicals that can do a great job of it, most of them are harmful and toxic.
The best way to get rid of them is to enlist the help of a professional pest control company as they are trained to deal with such tough situations.
Treating Flea Bites and Bed Bug Bites
Fortunately, there are solutions to treating both flea and bed bug bites.
- Most of these are over-the-counter creams and medications such as hydrocortisone cream, calamine, and Benadryl. These do a great job of reducing the swelling and itchiness caused by bites.
Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – The Power is Yours
Understanding the difference between flea bites vs bed bug bites is key in winning your home back. After all, they do say knowledge is power. So, if you’ve been bitten, check your bite marks and determine what has bitten you.
But remember, it is wise to get a pest control specialist to help ascertain what you are up against and also rid you of your itching scourge forever. Well, that’s if you take the necessary precautions to keep it that way.
Here’s to your pest free home!
Your skin shows small red marks (similar to mosquito bites) and you feel intense itching in the area. Sometimes, the bites show up in a pattern of threes. The bites usually appear as dots featuring a dark red center from the single puncture wound. The dots become swollen and start itching in less than an hour after the bite. In one-two days, the flea bites can turn into open sores or blisters.
Bed bug bites appear as red dots with darker red centers, often displayed in a linear pattern of three-four marks. They look as raised, flat red welts. You will feel something is wrong only in a few days or even a week as your skin starts itching with progressive intensity.
In normal circumstances, they can last up to 48 hours. If you are sensitive to flea saliva, you can expect your skin to heal in a couple of weeks.
They may last up to two-three weeks, depending on your skin sensitivity to their saliva.
1. Try not to scratch or irritate the area, as you will prolong the itchiness and rash.
2. Wash the affected skin with antiseptic soaps or gels to minimize the risk of infections.
3. Use an anti-itching skin-calming balm – but talk to a dermatologist first to recommend you the best solutions.
4. Regular treatments include over-the-counter creams and lotions containing hydrocortisone or calamine. Nevertheless, discuss matters with your GP or dermatologist in case you have particular skin conditions or sensitivities.
Make sure you use a flea spray or professional interventions from a pest control company to make sure you get rid of fleas and bed bugs from your house. Also, take good care of your pets and keep your bed, mattress, and linen professionally sanitized.