Flea Bites VS Bed Bug Bites: Which Is It?

a flea

Fleas and bed bugs can bite you multiple times and they can leave behind a severe rash on your skin. Since both insects are diminutive in size, they can be quite difficult to catch and identify. One of the best ways to figure out which insect is infesting your home, is to try to take a closer look at the bite marks.

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Flea bites are actually very dangerous as this is how they spread diseases like typhus, the plague, and even ricketssiosis. Bed bug bites are also very dangerous, because this is how they can transfer a pathogen that can cause Chagas disease, a prevalent and deadly disease in America.

To identify whether it is a flea bite or a bed bug bite, you’ll need to inspect the bite mark itself. But more than just the appearance, there are also other factors such as the location of the bite, or how the bite actually felt, that can help you narrow down your suspects and pinpoint the right culprit.

Knowing How To Identify Flea Bites

flea bite

Fleas will typically infest households that have pets. Fleas need warm blood to thrive and they will usually get it from pets such as birds, cats and dogs. If your pets are having flea problems, then there is a huge chance that a flea is also what bit you.

Flea bites are characterized by raised spots with a red dot in the middle. This dot is where the flea’s specialized mouth has punctured your skin so that it can suck your blood. Flea bites will typically start to itch and get swollen thirty minutes after the bite has occurred.


Flea bites can cause allergic reactions especially in children. You should never scratch the areas where they bite because they can easily turn into open sores. In some cases, the sores will get infected and the itching will worsen. Flea bites will look like a cluster of mosquito bites, but with a “halo” around it.

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Flea bites will typically occur on your feet, legs and ankles. These are areas are easily accessible to fleas. The halo can be more readily seen if you stretch your skin around the bite mark. Flea bites are also quite painful, and unless the flea is eliminated, it will try to bite you again and again until it gets enough blood.

Knowing How To Identify Bed Bug Bites

a bed bug

Bed bugs on the other hand, will typically thrive inside beds, pillows and blankets. When these insects bite you, the bite marks will typically appear in a continuous line. The bite marks can also appear in tight clusters. Bed bug bites are typically hard and swollen, unlike flea bites which are tender to touch.

Bed bug bites can turn red, and it can also turn into welts because bed bugs produce an anticoagulant in their saliva. A lot of people will develop allergic reactions to this substance. This is also the reason why most people will not feel the bite until a few days after when the anticoagulant has worn off.

bed bug

Bed bug bites are also quite larger than flea bites. Their bite marks will only appear a few days or even a week after the insect bit you. Bed bugs will also bite you in areas that will come into contact with the edges of the bed, the pillows, or the blanket. They will typically bite on the arms, head, and neck areas.

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Although bed bugs bites are also itchy, they typically do not produce the same type of rash that the flea bites produce when scratched. Bed bugs will feed every ten days. This means that they will not try to bite you on a daily basis.

Other Factors That You Need To Consider

dog scratching

Aside from assessing the bite, you should also consider other factors that can help you identify which insect bit you. For example, fleas will leave behind small flecks of dirt around the bite mark, these are actually flea droppings on your skin.

If you dab the flea bite with a dry tissue, you can also see drops of blood that comes from the puncture wound. Even if you do not have pets around, fleas can still infest your home. Human fleas for example, can live on a wide array of hosts and will be able to thrive easily in your pet-free home.

bed bug moonlight

Bed bugs on the other hand can be very hard to spot on the bed. But if you happen to roll over one, they will leave behind rust-colored stains on your sheets. You can try to open the bed sheets to check if there are small flecks of dirt. If there are, those can actually be bed bug poop.

More than just the bed, bed bugs can also live in your furniture. They can bite you while you sit or lie down on your sofa, and they can also be found on baseboards, and carpets. You can find where they are infesting by looking for their feces under the bed, or under your sofa.

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bed bug on human skin

It can be very difficult to distinguish Flea bites VS bed bug bites. But by taking a closer look and by considering the different factors, you can actually pinpoint the culprit accurately. As soon as you notice the bite marks, try to wash the area with soap and water, and try to use insecticides for the mean time.

After the bite area has been properly cleaned, you can apply anti-itch or anti-inflammatory ointments on the area. Avoid scratching it and make sure that you see your doctor right away if it hurts too much or if it triggers an allergic reaction. You should also be mindful of the diseases associated with both bugs.

As soon as you have found out which bug bit you, you should then take the necessary steps towards its elimination. Keeping in mind that both pests can cause serious illnesses, you might want to hire professional exterminators especially if the infestations have gone completely out of hand.

Last update on 2021-01-16 at 12:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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