Many people commonly confuse flea bites and bed bug bites, and with a lot of people not knowing the difference between fleas and bed bugs themselves, it’s easy to see why.
You’ve probably been bitten by something you weren’t sure of before, and you may be even reading this blog entry because you’re trying to identify a bite – well, we’re happy to tell you all about it.
First, let’s discuss a few key differences between the two.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
- Fleas are very small, ranging between 0.05 to 0.13 inches or 1.5mm to 3.5mm in size.
- They’re reddish-brown in color, and have vertically flattened bodies.
- Looking at a flea from right above it would show you how narrow and slender they are. This helps them maneuver between their host’s (our pet’s) hair or fur. Looking at them from the side, they would appear to have oval-shaped bodies.
- They have 6 legs, with the last rear pair of legs much longer than the others. When jumping, they’re capable of a height of up to 7 inches vertically, and 13 inches horizontally.
- They have antennae slightly behind their eyes, but these cannot be seen without magnification.
- Bed bugs are also very small, at 0.09 to 0.18 inches or 2.5mm to 4.5mm in size.
- They have brownish in color that appear to be reddish and inflated after feeding.
- Looking at a bed bug from right above it would show you they have oval-shaped bodies. Looking at them from the side, they would appear to have flat bodies (that are inflated after feeding).
- They have 6 legs, with no significant difference in length between all pairs of legs.
- They have 2 antennae.
HOW CAN I TELL IF IT’S A FLEA BITE OR A BED BUG BITE?
- Flea bites may look like small clusters of red spots
- People typically get bitten by fleas from their pests, and flea bites generally occur in the feet and lower legs. However, they may also bite you in the other areas of your body, especially in folds of skin such as armpits
- They may be immediately itchy
- These bites may be small red spots that are firm and have a slight swelling around them
- Bed bugs typically come out to feed on you while you sleep during the night, and these bites may appear in the exposed areas of your skin such as legs, arms, and neck. However, they can bite you in other areas too such as your chest and back.
- Bed bug bites may not feel immediately itchy, because they actually inject saliva that contain anticoagulants and anesthetic – this is so their hosts continue sleeping while bed bugs feed on them for a few minutes.
WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THESE BITES?
Wash the bite area with soap and water. If it itches, apply a topical anti-itch cream. Note that hot water may worsen itching, so avoid hot showers or baths until the bites clear. If the bites don’t clear up on their own after a few weeks, get in touch with a medical professional.
If you suspect an allergic reaction, take an antihistamine. Seek medical attention right away for more severe reactions such as a severe rash, blisters, nausea, fever, difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue, or an irregular heartbeat.
If you have a bed bugs, fleas, or other pest infestations, get in touch with a professional pest control service right away.