Are These Flea Bites or Bed Bug Bites?

Person holding up arm with bed bug bites

Are These Flea Bites or Bed Bug Bites?

Have you or your family been waking up with itchy red bumps on your skin? You could have bed bugs, or you could have fleas! They are similar in appearance and size, and both feed on blood. They also both leave very few visible traces and are hard to spot because of their small size.

Bed bugs and fleas are both quite common, especially at this time of the year. But it’s important to know which type of bug is invading your home in order to know what type of treatment is needed to get rid of them.

According to the New York Times, nearly one in five people around the country have bed bugs or know someone who has had them. Even though it might take a professional to find out for sure whether you have fleas or bed bugs, you can get a pretty good idea of which one you have by looking at the bites that you and your family are experiencing.

Identifying Flea Bites

The biggest indication that you have fleas and not bed bugs is where the bites are located. Flea bites tend to be on your feet and lower legs or in warm and moist areas like the fold of your elbow or your groin. In addition, flea bites tend to be small red dots that are in a line, not clustered together. The area around the bite may be red, itchy, or warm to the touch.

If you have pets, you may notice that they are scratching themselves more than usual or that their skin has broken out in a rash. Flea dermatitis, an allergy to the saliva from a flea that is transmitted when it bites, is very common in house pets like cats and dogs. Flea dermatitis can cause pets to have a red bumpy rash on their skin or to develop itchy hot spots that they lick or scratch. It’s also likely that you’d see small black spots that look like dirt in your pet’s fur. That’s called “flea dirt” and it is indeed left behind by fleas.

If you do suspect the presence of fleas in your home, don’t automatically assume that your pets are responsible. Fleas can enter the home by attaching themselves to your shoes, socks, or pants, as well as your pets.

Puppy scratching fleas

Identifying Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs tend to bite in clusters or in a circular pattern. They also tend to bite on the face, neck, and arms and not on the lower areas of the body like fleas do. The size of a bed bug bite is similar to the size of a flea bite, but instead of a singular red dot, a bed bug bite looks more like a mosquito bite. You should be able to see a clear puncture mark at the center that is raised or slightly swollen with a red area around it.

Bed bug bites are usually slightly less itchy than flea bites. You may not even notice that you have a bed bug bite until you see the redness of the bitten area. Bed bugs can spread quickly, especially if you travel. They will attach to your luggage, clothing, towels, and even your body—so if you stay in a hotel or lodging that has bed bugs, you can bring them home with you quite easily. If you or someone in your household has recently traveled and you’re now experiencing itchiness, some bed bugs may have decided to travel home with you.

A Recap: Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites

Flea Bites:

  • Flea bites tend to be on your feet and lower legs or in warm and moist areas like the fold of your elbow or your groin.
  • In addition, flea bites tend to be small red dots that are in a line, not clustered together.
  • The area around the bite may be red, itchy, or warm to the touch.

Bed Bug Bites:

  • Bed bugs tend to bite in clusters or in a circular pattern.
  • They also tend to bite on the face, neck, and arms and not on the lower areas of the body like fleas do.
  • The size of a bed bug bite is similar to the size of a flea bite, but instead of a singular red dot, a bed bug bite looks more like a mosquito bite.
  • You should be able to see a clear puncture mark at the center that is raised or slightly swollen with a red area around it.

Get Rid Of Bed Bugs and Fleas for Good

Getting rid of fleas and bed bugs fast requires a professional. Both types of pests spread fast and can quickly infest your entire home. All of the soft surfaces in your home need to be treated as quickly as possible to prevent the problem from getting worse. Contact us today for a free estimate on services to restore your home to its former pest-free state. Our trained pros will identify whether you have fleas or bed bugs and do what’s necessary to rid your home of these annoying pests.

Sources: New York Times

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