Differences Between Flea Bites and Bed Bugs

Differences Between Flea Bites and Bed Bugs

Bedbug bites and flea bites look very similar at first glance, so telling what type of vermin you are facing in your house is not always easy. The problem will have to be properly identified if a suitable solution is to be applied. Both insects can carry many diseases that can be critical to health if passed to humans and even pets.  

Generally, flea bites will be felt immediately and typically appear on the lower body in small groups of randomly spaced bites. Bed Bugs leave bites that will not be felt or experienced until much later and often appear in groups in specific lines or other artistic patterns.   

In the following article, we will cover all you need to know about these types of bites and how to identify the insect causing the problem.  

Bed Bug Bites: How They Look & Feel 

Bed bugs are masters of their crafts, and the bites they leave will not be noticed until much later. This is very different from most insect bites that can be felt at the moment they are made. Bed bugs, on the other hand, work with sleeping victims, and they excrete a mild anesthetic that numbs the spot where the bedbug will attack. Most people will not notice or feel anything at all, but some people may develop a reaction and some swelling and inflammation along with a mild itch. As many as 1 out of 5 people will report a case of bed bugs each year in the US, so it is important to know what type of bug you are dealing with.  

Symptoms & Risks Associated with Bed Bugs 

One red itchy bump may seem just like all the rest, no matter how they are laid out or applied. But knowing what bites you are experiencing is essential for making sure that it doesn’t happen again. Here are some of the signs that you may be facing a bed bug plague in your home.  

Bites on exposed skin — these will usually be spread across the upper body, arms, neck, and shoulders.

Mild burning sensation just before the welts form.

Red, itching welts develop within 24 to 48 hours.  

Bites are laid out in orderly lines or tight groupings. 

In severe cases, when allergic to the toxins of the bed bug bites, blister-like inflammations may form.  

Bedbugs are an unwanted bedfellow, even worse than someone who steals the covers. But did you know that, like the person who steals the covers, they can pose an actual threat to your health?  

According to the CDC reports, most people will not suffer more than an itchy welt from the bedbug bite. But this alone can lead to greater health risks. Those with sensitive skin or low immune power, or both, may scratch to the point of breaking the skin and developing other infections. Staph is a common infection that can require medical attention. Furthermore, those with allergic reactions to the bite may require additional medical attention to restore optimal health.  

In addition to infection or allergic reaction, here are some of the other reasons you will want to seek medical attention after bedbug bites:  

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Fever 
  • Blisters 
  • Nausea 
  • Swollen tongue 

Flea Bites: How They Look & Feel 

Unlike bedbugs that offer a slow-release discomfort, flea bites result in immediate discomfort, giving you a chance to identify the spry demon if you can catch them — bed bugs are too small to be seen unless fully engorged on their latest vile feast. Fleas will also bite whatever and whenever, and the small bites can be anywhere on the body in a particular pattern.   

According to Healthline, fleas will typically bite in these areas : 

  • feet  
  • waist 
  • elbows and knees
  • groin 
  • lower legs 
  • other skin folds
  • ankles
  • armpits 

The bites themselves will look very different. While a bed bug will leave bites that transform into larger pustules within a day or two, the Flea bites are nothing more than a small round lump.  

Symptoms & Risks Associated with Fleas 

 People who have been bitten by fleas are not at any immediate risk. Just like being bitten by bedbugs is only especially dangerous through extenuating circumstances, flea bites are far more dangerous because they can cause a secondary infection. Where there are fleas, there are often great quantities of flea dust or flea feces. If this dust enters a wound, an infection can result. This is why experts always tell you to not scratch the bite. 

You will want to seek medical attention if you have been bitten by fleas and you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Raised welts 
  • Breathing difficulties  
  • Warm infections with white-topped pustules 
  • Coloured discharge 

Are There Any Similarities? 

The biggest similarities between these two bites are the swelling, redness, and itchiness that is normally experienced. But if flea bites get infected by flea dust, they will typically develop white-topped pustules at the infection site. If not, flea bites are fairly ordinary and look just like the bites of other insects. 

Where You’ll Find Fleas 

As their name implies, bedbugs will make their home in beds but will also inhabit furniture, rugs, and other fabrics that are replete with cracks and seams. Fleas will not be found in these locations because they are active parasites and prefer to attack animals, not people. Fleas will most often be found where there are animals. Typically, flea bites begin with an infected pet — the good news is there are many solutions available for ridding your pet of its fleas. Speak with your vet for more information.

Identify Flea & Bed Bug Bites 

There are a variety of factors that should be examined if you believe fleas have been biting you or other people in your home.  

Location — bed bugs typically bite the upper body, but fleas will bite anywhere. Typically, these bites can be found on the lower body.  

Patterns — fleas will bite where they can. Bedbugs are more particular and tend to lay out their bites in small, orderly patterns.  

Sensation — bedbug bites are not always felt right away and may not result in a welt immediately either. But you will always feel a flea bite, and the small red lump will appear soon after.  

Treating Flea & Bed Bug Bites 

The symptoms of flea or bedbug bites will clear up in short order. There are OTC medications that can facilitate this process. But it is far more important to address the issue with the pests in your vicinity to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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