The first thing you need to do when trying to get rid of bugs is find out what you’re dealing with. This can prove to be quite difficult, as there are many different types of bugs and bug bites and many of them look almost alike. Many of my visitors have asked me about the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites when they have noticed red spots appearing on their body, typically on the arms and legs. This is why I’m writing this post. I know how annoying and unpleasant both types of bites can be.
So let’s take a look at the two types of insects. You need to learn about these bugs in order to see the difference and understand how you get rid of and prevent both flea bites and bed bug bites.
Fleas are typically found on pets like dogs and cats, but they can also be found on many other animals. They suck the blood out of the host with their special jaws that cut right through the skin. Some people are more sensitive to flea bites than others. Children are often more sensitive and likely to get allergic reactions from flea bites than adults. There are also some lucky people that never get bitten or never feel the bites. If you get flea bites, then it’s important that you don’t scratch the area. The wounds can get infected and that will only increase the itching.
Bed bug bites
These bites are more difficult to identify because they look a lot like mosquito bites. People also often mistake bed bug bites for other types of allergies and treat them the wrong way. What you have to look for is a certain pattern of the bites. When comparing flea bites vs bed bug bites, it is also important to note that the bed bugs are nocturnal and therefore mostly bite after dark. Bed bugs are also much easier to spot as they are larger than fleas.
The difference between flea bites and bed bug bites
It can be difficult to see the difference between the two types of bites at first, but you will find that it’s not that much of a problem once you learn about the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites. Remember that the reaction to these bites can appear differently on people, so one infection does not always look like the other. That being said, let’s look at the differences.
Flea bites usually look like small clusters of dots while bed bug bites are red, hard and swollen a little. So basically they look like mosquito bites. Usually the fleas bite randomly on the body. The bed bugs tend to bite more strategically in linear rows. Where bed bug bites can be found anywhere on the body, flea bites are often located on the legs and ankles because these areas are easier to get to. The itching and scratching factor on flea bites vs bed bug bites is about the same. They are both a pain in the neck for animals and humans, and they can cause allergies and swelling.
What to do if you have been bitten
After you have identified the problem you should start treatment and pest control immediately. You want to get rid of the irritation on your skin fast (more about this later in this post) and then find and get the bugs out of your home and your life for good. Once you are rid of the fleas or bed bugs, it’s important that you prevent new infestations from happening. Do this by keeping your home exceptionally clean and clutter free.
Note that rashes from fleas and bed bugs are not contagious or dangerous for most people. They usually don’t carry and transmit diseases like ticks do. However, you should contact your doctor if you feel uncomfortable or sick, and if you’re not sure what caused the bites.
Comparison: Flea bites vs bed bug bites
To make it a little easier to compare flea bites and bed bug bites, I have made a comparison chart that shows the main differences between the two.
|Flea bites||Bed bug bites|
|They look like small clusters of dots||They look red, hard and swollen, like mosquito bites|
|They itch like crazy||They itch just as much|
|They are usually located on legs and ankles||They occur all over the body in a linear pattern|
|They bite all the time, as long as the fleas are around||They bite periodically as they only feed every few weeks|
|They can cause infections if scratched||They often turn into blisters|
How to tell if you have fleas in your bedroom
If you suspect you have fleas in your bedroom, lay a simple flea trap. You can buy a simple, inexpensive electric flea trap which is readily available in the market. Alternatively, you can make a homemade flea trap to capture and kill fleas in the bedroom. Here is how it works:
- Place a saucer of soapy water by a night lamp.
- The fleas are attracted to the warmth of the lamp.
- They fall into the dish soap and drown immediately.
Other tell tale signs of fleas in the bed include:
- Black spots or rust colored, dried blood, discarded exoskeleton of fleas.
- If you allow pets into your bed at night, then flea eggs and larvae will drop into your sheets and bedding.
- To eliminate fleas in your bed, wash all bedding in hot water and dry it at the highest heat setting. You can replace the mattress, but if you do not wish to spend money on a new one, you can enclose the existing mattress with mattress encasements. This will trap the fleas and larvae inside the encasement.
- Treat the bed box spring with diatomaceous powder. The fine crystalline structure of the powder rips the fleas’ exoskeletons, killing them upon contact. Avoid sleeping in the rooms that are being treated with diatomaceous earth powder as it can be harmful to the lungs.
How to treat flea bites
If you have been bitten by fleas, here are a few tips to get rid of the bites:
- Wash the bitten area. If you have bite marks on your abdomen, torso or back, it will help to soak in a warm tub bath treated with Epsom salts or baking soda. Both ingredients can soothe away itchiness and give you instant relief from pain and inflammation.
- After drying the skin, apply some Calamine or Caladryl lotion.
- You can also apply Aloe Vera gel or lotion on the welts, bumps or blisters.
- Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can also relieve swelling, itchiness and pain. Follow the instructions on the label and do not use this cream longer than recommended as it contains small amounts of steroids.
Now you know the difference between flea bites vs bed bug bites. Treat your entire house for fleas or bed bugs, whatever is the case, as soon as you spot them. Try some of the DIY tips on my site and if needed, seek help from professional exterminators, especially if you are dealing with a massive infestation that has gotten out of control.
Got fleas? Find out which products work in 2019, with my updated flea control product comparison chart.