Bed Bugs vs. Fleas: What’s the Difference?


Suffering from itchy bug bites is painful. And it gets annoying when it happens frequently!

The best way to prevent this is by identifying what’s biting you constantly. Most frequently, it’s one of these: fleas or bed bugs.

But before assuming it can be either, you’ve to dissect what’s causing a wreck in your house carefully! Although they seem similar, they’re far from being the same. Read this article further, so you’ll get a precise idea of what you’re dealing with!

Bed Bugs vs Fleas:

While both of these parasites require warm blood to live, here’re a few differences that set them apart:

Fleas Bed Bugs
Size & Shape Long, narrow and 1/8 in size. Flat, oval and less than 1/4 in size.
Hosts Prefer animals as their hosts; but can feed on humans. Prefer humans as their hosts; but can feed on animals.
Movement Can’t fly, however, their strong and long legs help them jump and move quickly. Neither can fly nor jump as they move slowly.
Hiding Spot Latch on the host. But you can find their eggs on carpets, drapes, pet beds and furniture. Hide in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs can be found in mattresses, bedding, furniture and headboard.
Bites Red itchy bumps with a red ring around them. Flea bites on humans can be seen on ankles and legs. Bed bug bites cause a cluster of red itchy bumps on exposed areas while sleeping.

Bed Bugs Bites vs Flea Bites

If the red marks on your body are itchy, it’s likely that you’re bitten by a bed bug. If you suspect an infestation, check for bed bugs thoroughly around your house. Inspect your kids and pets for any bite marks.

Depending on the person and situation, it’s quite difficult to differentiate bed bug bites from flea bites. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Here’re a few points to keep in mind while inspecting a bite:

  • Flea bites imitate mosquito bites. Placed at random areas, they’re dot-like with a dark red center from where they suck blood. It swells within an hour and starts itching immediately. The bite can turn into a sore or a blister within two days. Adult female fleas will feed on blood numerous times, day and night, and sometimes even for hours!

  • Compared with fleas, bed bug bites are more raised and flat. This happens as an allergic reaction to the anticoagulants and anesthesia found in their saliva. It consists of a straight line of three or four bites; however, that’s not the case always.

    It may take a few days or weeks for their bites to show up. Once the anesthesia from their saliva wears off, the bite starts itching. The bed bugs come out every seven to ten days for their meal as you sleep!

Fleas vs. Bed Bugs: How Do They Enter Homes?

Fleas and bed bugs are small and blood-sucking parasites who’re unwelcomed at everyone’s homes! However, these tiny creatures somehow find their way to creep inside your house.

You may have maintained all the necessary precautions and cleanliness are they still creeping into your paradise? Here’re the different ways in which these crawlers may enter:

  • The most common way fleas enter your home is through your furry friends. Yes, cats and dogs – human’s best support, can be one of the major reasons behind attracting fleas in the house! But what if you don’t have any animal friends allowed inside?

    If not animals, fleas can come through old pieces of clothing, furniture, or a person who’s already infested. Although they don’t use humans as hosts to enter our homes, they can travel on us and start an infestation.

  • These parasitic insects can hitch to luggage, backpacks, bags, or items on upholstered surfaces. Moreover, if you’re thinking of investing in second-hand furniture, keep an eye out for these guests! Using infested furniture can also be an invitation for bed bugs.

    They can also travel through different rooms in apartments and hotels. So if you’re wondering why you are sharing your house with them, ask your neighbors!

Similarities Between Fleas and Bed Bugs

While these two parasites are different with regard to a lot of things, we can still see some similarities.

  • These parasites are popular for surviving on blood! And they bite both humans and animals.
  • Both these pests have a small brown body that takes on a reddish hue after feeding on blood.
  • Although they’re small, the naked human eye can still catch them.
  • Fleas and bed bugs are known for being sneaky! They can find their way inside your home by hitching a ride on you, your pets, or things.

How to Prevent Fleas and Bed Bugs

It’s never fun to run around in panic mode after spotting a bed bug or seeing your pets suffering from a flea infestation. Moreover, it’s always better to prevent than to cure!

So if you’re planning to bring used or new furniture into your house, double-check! If you’re staying in a hotel, inspect the headboards and the seam of the mattress. Get regular flea treatments for your pet from your veterinarian!

Identify what kind of pest infestation you’re suffering, and based on that, start searching for all the possible ways in which you can get rid of them. However, dealing with these parasites is challenging. Cleaning your mattresses or bathing your pets isn’t a strong solution. So, let the experts intervene!

If you live in the Central Valley, Tri-Valley, and the surrounding areas, and you need pest control, contact Take Care Termite!

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