Does the mere thought of tiny insects crawling on your skin give you the creeps? Well, you’re not alone. If you’ve had an insect bite at home, it would most probably be a flea or a bed bug. Fleas are tiny insects that are usually found on your pets and animals. If your pet is spending a lot of time outdoors, it’s highly advisable that you get your pet treated to prevent fleas. On the other hand, bed bugs find a safe haven in your beds and mattresses.
Both these insects need a warm-blooded host to feed on. While fleas prefer feeding on hairy or furry animals such as cats and dogs, bed bugs prefer feeding on your dead skin cells. When it boils down to how these pests gain access to your space, your pets and animals are the ones to blame as they are the ones who bring fleas into your home. Bed bugs, on the other hand, are generally brought in by people. The truth is that adult fleas can only live for about 2 weeks while bed bugs can survive up to a year between feedings.
As bed bugs can’t fly or jump, they usually have to crawl across your bed to feed on you. Fleas can jump almost 200 times their body length! Most importantly, bed bugs haven’t been found to carry any pathogens whereas fleas have the ability to spread diseases such as typhus, plague, and cat-scratch fever.
Difference Between Bed Bug Bites And Flea Bites
Flea bites are most often found on your legs, feet, waist, and armpits. It can also appear in any other place that the insect has access to. When it comes to the appearance, flea bites tend to be red, swollen, and somewhat blotchy. They commonly come with a constant itch and rashes. Flea bite marks come in small clusters and can have a white “halo” shape immediately around the puncture mark.1
Bed bug bites appear as small, hard, swollen lumps that are similar to a mosquito bite. They appear most often on the hands, neck, and arms and can also bring about an itchy feeling, just like flea bites. These bugs also follow a linear pattern when feeding on their host.
You’d do well to consider the difference in the frequency of the bites too. On one hand, bed bugs are known to eat very less because of which the intensity of the bite can take a hit. On the other hand, bed bugs only end up eating every 3–4 days. To put things into perspective, fleas tend to eat continuously because of which flea bites can become a recurring fixture.
Symptoms Of Flea And Bed Bug Bites
If you’ve just held your pet for a while, there’s a good chance that you can get flea bites on your arms. A good reason why fleas tend to attack your legs is that they reside in whatever is close to the floor or in carpets, rugs, and fleeces that are put near the floor. Here’s a list of the most common symptoms of flea bites:
- A red, swollen area appears on your skin.
- The infected area turns red and begins to itch. The itch can be irritating and constant.
- More often than not, your wound can turn into a blister.
- The constant itching can cause the area to bleed or become infected.
- In some cases, you may also have an allergic reaction to a flea bite, resulting in breathing difficulties, chest pain, and hives.
The symptoms of a bedbug bite can be non-existent or even mild in nature. Bed bugs can bite any exposed part of your body, including your face, neck, arms, and hands. Here’s a list of the most common symptoms of bed bug bites:
- Itching, red welts, or swelling appears on the day after being bitten.
- These may not become obvious for several days or at all in some cases.
- Most bites leave no mark and can go completely unnoticed.
- They may sometimes appear in tight lines of multiple, small, red marks where multiple bed bugs have fed along an exposed area.
- It may cause itchiness.2
So what’s the main takeaway here? Ensure you protect yourself from flea bites as they can spread diseases.