Bedbug and flea bites are similar at first glance, so telling the difference can be difficult. You need to identify the problem so that you can properly treat it as both insects can carry several diseases that can be passed to even humans. Here is how to identify the bite and the bugs that cause them.
The easiest way to differentiate between flea and bed bug bites is when you start to feel pain after the bite; flea bites hurt almost immediately while bed bug bites don’t produce pain until several hours later. Fleas bite are usually isolated to the lower body and appear in random groupings while bed bug bites are typically in a line. Finally, both bites result in inflammation, but bed bug bites can be significantly larger. Read on to learn how to find and remove each pest.
Characteristics of a Bed Bug Bite
You probably won’t feel a bed bug bite until much later. Initially, most people feel nothing, and may not even develop a rash. However, some people develop red welts that swell or itch the next day. With 1 out of 5 people reporting cases of bed bugs or know someone who had bed bugs, it’s important to know as many signs of bed bugs as possible. Look for these symptoms of bed bug bites:
- Bites on exposed skin, usually on the upper body, neck, arms, and shoulders
- Slight burning sensation before the welts appear
- Red, itching welts that develop 24 to 48 hours after the bite
- Bites in lines or groupings
- In severe cases, bites swell or turn into blister-like inflammations
- Seek medical attention if bites become infected
The Difference Between Bed Bug Bites and Flea Bites
A flea bite is similar to a bed bug bite but is usually found on the lower parts of the body. Look around your ankles and lower legs and in the folds of your skin like behind the knee or in the bend of your elbow. They look like a group of mosquito bites. Each bite is pink with a dark red center. They will begin to swell within an hour of the bite. If we do a side by side comparison of the bites, you’ll notice these differences:
- You may feel the flea bite immediately and notice the welt within an hour. Bed bug bites appear much later.
- Flea bites are often on the lower body, while bed bug bites are usually on the upper body.
- Flea bites can be grouped, while bed bug bites are often lined up in a row.
- Both produce inflammations, but, in some people, bed bug bites can produce larger inflamed welts that are very noticeable.
- Both are very itchy.
Finding Bed Bugs, What to Look For
If you are still in doubt about the source of your bite, it is good to look for the source. Fleas usually come in on pets, but bed bugs can hitchhike into your home in many ways. They can be hard to find, but a close inspection reveals their presence. Look for these signs of bed bug activity or presence:
- Tiny blood stains on your pillow or bedding (rusty or reddish stains)
- Dark spots (excrement) in the creases of your mattress or seams in linens or furniture fabrics
- Discarded eggs and eggshells: pale yellow skins about 1 mm in size
- Live bed bugs
Bed bugs like to hide in the creases, folds, and seams of mattresses, furniture, and in other small places. You may find them in the folds of curtains, in the joints of wood furniture, or under loose wallpaper. Also look in the creases of your luggage after a trip. When you are cleaning, make a habit of looking closely for signs of bed bugs and be aggressive against them when found. A small infestation is more easily eradicated. However, once established, they can quickly take over.
Using Bed Bug and Flea Killers
There are many flea and bed bug sprays on the market with mixed results. Because the bugs are so adept at hiding, most sprays are unable to completely eradicate the infestation. You will probably kill some, possibly most of the bugs, but those who remain will come back later in full force.
These sprays require direct contact with the insect to be effective, so you must be extremely diligent in seeking out their hiding places to be effective. Bed bugs are particularly difficult to eradicate using a spray formula.
If you do choose to use a flea or bed bug killer, it is important that you follow all the manufacturer’s instructions to protect your family and the environment.
One effective home remedy for bed bugs is to use a high-powered steam cleaner. They can be killed by the heat if you are able to force it into all the nooks and crannies. Again, you must be extremely diligent to find all of their hiding places.
Professionals use two very effective methods of eradicating bed bugs. They use thermal remediation, which is very much like the high-powered steam cleaning mentioned above and they use Cryonite technology to freeze them out.
Smithereen Pest Management Services uses both Thermal Remediation and Cryonite, in addition to conventional bed bug management, to help clients eradicate bed bugs for good. We will conduct a complete inspection to determine the extent of the problem, then recommend treatment procedures based on our findings. We also teach you how to prevent re-infestation and how to inspect your home for bed bugs. If you suspect you have a flea or bed bug problem, contact Smithereen today. We are happy to help.