Bed Bug Bite vs Flea Bite: how to spot the difference — Fleas and Flea Bites

Bed Bug Bite vs Flea Bite: how to spot the difference

If you’ve been bitten by a bug the first thing you need to do is identify which insect has bitten you.

If you believe that the bites you have are from inside your own home then bed bugs and fleas are more than likely the main culprits.

It can be very difficult to tell the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites so you need to look for clues like what the bites look like and the circumstances of where and how you were bitten.

Before we try and distinguish between the two different bug bites its just as important to look at each bite separately.

Flea bites

Fleas are usually found and brought into your house on your pets such as cats and dogs but can also be found on other animals.

Flea bites can appear anywhere on the body that the parasite can get access to but they are most commonly found on the feet, legs and waist.

They appear in small clusters that are red and swollen with a single puncture wound in the center, they will look blotchy and you’ll want to constantly scratch them to stop the itching.

The bite will become swollen and itchy about an hour after being bitten and often come with a rash as well.

If you see your pet constantly itching its likely you have a flea infestation.

Fleas are happiest on a fury animal but in the absence of such a host they will feed on a human.

Bed bug bites

Bed bugs are usually brought into your home on a human being.

The bites are more than likely to be found on your arms, neck, face and hands as these are the areas that are uncovered and easy to reach.

They appear as small but hard swollen lumps most often in a straight row and can be itchy as well although they don’t usually turn into a rash.

The bites usually takes a couple of days and up to a week to show up with the itching getting worse over time but they don’t usually come with a rash.

Bed bugs prefer to feed on humans because they are easy targets but can also feed on your pets although they are not that keen on navigating the fur.

Differences between bed bugs and fleas

Although both these parasites need a host and blood to live on fleas are more dependant than bed bugs.

Fleas need to feed on a daily basis or they will die within a couple of weeks while bed bugs only need to feed every 7-10 days and can go for up to a year without feeding.

Fleas will bite continuously night and day and are constantly on the go whilst bed bugs only feed at night while the host is fast asleep in bed, they will hide the rest of the day often in the piping of a mattress and around the bed stand.

Both pests cant fly but the flea can jump about 200 hundred times its body length due to its powerful legs so can get around quickly while the bed bug just crawls around so doesn’t cover as much ground.

The best way to identify these pests it to catch them, bed bugs are the easiest to catch as they crawl and are larger and easier to spot while the flea is smaller and can jump away before you have chance to catch it.

If you do catch one use a piece of clear sticky tape to hold it in position so you can examine it without it escaping.

Fleas are thin and flat with brown bodies and a hard shell, they have no wings but their hind legs are large and strong for jumping. Bed bugs are flat with an oval shape and a reddish brown appearance.

Bed bugs are easy to squash between your fingers while fleas, although harder, can be squashed between your finger nails.

A female adult flea can lay between 150 and 300 eggs every week whilst a female bed bug can only lay 200 in its lifetime which is usually 10 – 12 months.

Fleas are known to carry and pass on diseases, bed bugs on the other hand are not know to pass on any disease.

Treating flea and bug bites

If you have been bitten by one of these parasites its important not to scratch it, using a cold compress or calamine lotion can often sooth the bite and ease the itchiness.

If you couldn’t resist scratching and have broken the skin you need take measures to stop an infection, wash the area with warm soapy water and pat dry and try to refrain from scratching in future.

Flea Bite Treatment – How to Get Rid of Flea Bites

If you have fleas in your home, you are at risk of getting bitten by them anytime, anywhere. Not all people are bitten by fleas, but should you be so unlucky, then I have some advice for you on how to get rid of the flea bites. After the flea bite treatment when you have the itching under control, you should make sure to also stop the flea infestation from spreading. But first, it’s time to get rid of the flea bites and stop the itching and scratching for good.

How to get rid of flea bites

First you have to clean the area on and around the flea bite with warm antiseptic soapy water. Then put on an ice pack to minimize swelling. Anything cold goes really, so use ice cubes or whatever you have in stock. Remember to wrap the ice into something, like a dishcloth. This prevents the skin from getting ice burns. Leave it on for no more than 5 minutes, take a break and then repeat.

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You can find products at the drugstore that ease the pain and stop the itching. Tell them about your problem at the store, they will know what to give to you. Most of these products are available without a doctor’s prescription and they are safe to use if taken in the described amounts.

Another way is to use antihistamines to get rid of the itching. You should talk to your doctor about which antihistamines to use, as there are different products available that all have their own properties and functions. If you prefer a more natural approach, like myself, see the alternative methods below.

The best and easiest flea bite treatment is to stop scratching your skin, as it can cause an infection. If this happens, then the itching will get worse and there is the risk of getting big, unappealing scars.

  1. Resist the urge to scratch the flea bites
  2. Clean the bites with antiseptic soap and water
  3. Wrap an ice pack or ice cubes in cloth
  4. Apply the ice to the affected area for around 5 minutes
  5. Take it off and reapply after a few minutes
  6. You can do this multiple times during the day
  7. Ask your doctor about antihistamine for intense itching
  8. Try some of the alternative methods mentioned below

Alternative flea bite treatment methods

Flea bites itch a lot and it can be difficult to avoid scratching them, even though you now know it only makes matters worse. Luckily, there are quite a few home remedies that can help soothe the skin or relieve itching, which makes it much easier for you to stop scratching the bites and thereby avoid infections.

Aloe vera

It is well known that aloe vera can treat small wounds and burns. What you probably didn’t know was that it also has a positive effect on flea bites. If you have a plant, then break off a small part of a leaf and rub it into the bites. You can also buy bottled versions of aloe vera gel.

Green tea

Green tea may also improve the situation. It is said to have potent skin healing properties if you wash the infected area with it. There are several teas you can try, but you have to experiment with them yourself, as the results haven’t been verified by researchers. Another tea trick that relieves inflammation is cooling used tea bags in the freezer and applying them to the bites afterwards.


As incredible as it may sound, because this is something found in most households, people have also had success with baths of oatmeal. Remember that the temperature of the water should be low, as hot water dries your skin out.

Witch hazel

Witch hazel contains multiple healing properties that can help you get rid of flea bites. It can reduce irritation and inflammation of the skin by shrinking the pores and it combats infection, making your wounds heal faster. Apply it to the bitten area using a cotton ball.


I have talked about vinegar being effective for flea control, but it’s actually also quite effective for treating flea bites. It can reduce swelling and inflammation, thereby soothing the skin. Like witch hazel, vinegar also contains antiseptic properties that helps prevent infections. Use a soaked cotton ball or a towel to apply it or spray it on other exposed parts of your body to prevent getting bitten again.

Tea tree

Tea tree is antimicrobial which means it can prevent bacterial infections. It is often used for treating mosquito bites and it can also relieve itching from flea bites, as it disinfects and brings down the swelling. Just saturate a cotton swab and apply it directly to the bites.

Baking soda

It’s cheap and you probably already have it in your home, which makes it perfect for quick and easy itch relief. Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties and can also prevent infections. Mix it in a bowl with a little bit of water and apply the paste to the flea bites and the surrounding area.

With its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, neem is also effective for treating flea bites. You can get a ready-made solution of neem oil or make your own mixture in a pan of water with some neem leaves. Soak a cotton ball and hold it on the bites.

How to prevent flea bites

There are several ways you can protect yourself against flea bites and make sure you don’t get them in the first place. This eliminates flea bite treatment and saves you a lot of time and frustration.

One way is to eat lots of garlic. The fleas definitely don’t like the taste of it and it will stop them from biting you. If you enjoy garlic as much as I do, getting the required amounts won’t be a problem. Remember that everything you eat goes into your bloodline, and this is a big reason why only some people with certain food habits get bitten by fleas.

Now you’ve learned what fleas hate the taste of, but what they don’t like the smell of is lemon. So if you have something in your home that smells like lemon, then use that. Alternatively you can try rubbing some on your skin. Many smells, particularly the strong ones, can help you in your fight against fleas.

If you don’t have any lemon at home, you can try using essential oils instead. Lavender, cedar wood and eucalyptus oil should do a great job fending them off. Learn more about how you can prevent flea bites.

Now you know how to get rid of flea bites, safely and effectively, and how to prevent bites in the future.

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FLEA BITES » How to identify them, avoid them and what to do if they occur

Fleas are tiny and difficult to see bichillos, well known for the intense itching they produce in pets, as they make their way through their fur to feed on their blood. In case you did not know, these animals also tend to affect humans, causing considerable discomfort through your picket. Therefore, we have devised a complete guide that will teach you everything you need to know about flea bites, how to identify them, how to prevent them and what to do if you have them, which will allow you to be prepared against the attack of these small pests.

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How do i know if it is flea bite?

Although flea bites are less frequent than those of other types of insects, the risk of getting them is still present, especially if you have pets at home that can carry some of these bugs.

Now, although the flea bite is usually quite similar to that of other animals, it is important to know when it is a bite of this small insect, because only then is it possible to take the correct measures to solve the problem.

In such a way, to recognize a flea bite, you should look at the following:

  • The bites appear as tiny reddish spots with a darker shade in the center. They are quite similar to those of mosquitoes, although smaller.
  • They are located randomly in the affected area, that is, they do not follow a specific pattern.
  • People who are allergic to flea bites often experience a reddening spread on the skin.
  • There is more than one picket in the same area, usually between 3 and 4 wounds.

In addition to the above, there are other considerations that may allow you to identify the flea bite:

  • The bite of these insects does not usually create blisters.
  • It appears more frequently in places where there is dense hairiness.
  • When scratching, it tends to form a small crust besieged by a reddish halo.
  • A kind of rash may appear on the skin of the affected area.
  • The areas near the bite tend to show inflammation and redness.

How to avoid fleas bites?

As you may have noticed, flea bites can produce symptoms and annoying reactions the moment they occur. However, fortunately, there are certain measures that can help you prevent the sting of this small bug.

The first of these involves the treatment of household pets, as well as the cleaning of all their utensils (brushes, blankets, beds, etc.).

On the other hand, cleaning the home is also a key factor, so you should make sure to frequently clean the furniture, carpets, curtains and bedding, with special emphasis on the areas of the house where they usually stay. pets.

Also, it is advisable to use a spray insecticide that can be applied on pets and on carpets or furniture, to prevent insects from staying there.

In case of an infestation by fleas, it is advisable to call an expert in fumigation and take the pet to a veterinary care center, so that a special cleaning that leaves no trace of these bichillos is practiced.

What to do if you present fleas stings?

If you have put into practice the measures described above, but still have been a victim of these animals, it is important that you know what you should do.

While flea bites disappear on their own within a few days, you can do certain things to avoid further discomfort:

  • Avoid scratching yourself: although it seems difficult, you should avoid scratching the area of ​​the bite, as this could make it worse and cause an infection. If the itching is persistent, apply a little ice on the area to relieve it.
  • Uses oral antihistamines: the itching that occurs after the flea bite is given by the histamines that the body releases, so that an oral antihistamine can reduce the release of histamines and, therefore, control the itching.
  • Buy an antihistamine spray or cream: another effective way to reduce itching from flea bites is by applying some spray or topical antihistamine, which have the same effect as oral antihistamines.
  • Use cortisone cream or calamine lotion: these products are an excellent alternative to relieve the itching characteristic of the flea bite.

Flea Bites

If you are a pet owner, it is not unusual to have concern about your pet. One common pest you should keep an eye out on if you own a pet are fleas. These tiny pest can not only cause discomfort for your pet but even you if you do not take preventive measures. One way that fleas can ruin your day is through their bites as they are extremely itchy. To prevent flea bites you must first identify them. So what do they look like?

What do flea bites look like

One way to tell a flea bites from any other insect bites is that flea bites tend to be found in clusters. Another way to tell if it is a flea bite is that it will be red in color with a halo around it. People tend to confuse bed bug bites with flea bites. This is because both have very similar symptoms.

Bed bug bites resembles more of a mosquito bite and are usually found throughout the body whereas flea bites tend to be found around the leg and angles.

How to treat flea bites

Before learning how to treat them, you should keep in mind to not scratch the bites. This is to prevent any infection from taking place. Apply lotions to reduce the itchiness, you may also use an ice pack to numb the bite and reduce swelling.

Knowing the treatments is only half the battle. To prevent any further bites it is important to get rid of the fleas, one way is to call in an exterminator to locate and remove these fleas.

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites: Different Symptoms, Treatments

by Daily Health Cures Editorial Team · Published February 20, 2018 · Updated July 26, 2018

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites: What is the Difference?

There’s an old phrase that people say to their loved ones: “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite”. However, you can’t always blame the bed bugs.

But, when you see more than a few red boils on your skin, you can’t blame the mosquitoes either, especially if this is happening inside your house rather than outside.

There are a few insects that feast on human blood. The two most common insects are fleas and bed bugs. Fleas are tiny insects that live on pets and animals.

Fleas jump up to 18 centimeters, as they can’t fly. They are a threat to your pet, as well as you and your family members. Bed bugs are mostly found in beds and mattresses.

Similar to fleas, bed bugs can be a threat to your entire family, including your pets. Because of the many similarities, it’s a little tricky to gauge flea bites vs bed bug bites.

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Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites: What’s the Difference?

There is a real challenge when deciding flea bite vs. bed bug bite because everyone reacts differently when bitten. Your skin can develop small, round, and red boils when bitten by either of these insects.

Studies reveal that fleas tend to bite around lower legs or ankles, randomly, and form small clusters. Bed bugs, on the other hand, bite creating a line and can bite anywhere on the body.

The bites from both insects cause itchiness and swelling. You need to figure out how to identify the culprit if you are pondering about flea bites vs bed bug bites.

One way to confirm what is breeding in your house is to hunt for bug dirt or feces. Flea dirt appears as reddish black, and if combined with developing larvae, its appearance will resemble salt and pepper.

If you pour water on the flea dirt, you will see a large red stain formed. Bed bug dirt is more like tiny black seeds, and you can often find it under your mattresses or inside pillow-case covers. Bed bugs also get rid of the old skin or light brown body cover via shedding.

Symptoms of Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites

Confused about the symptoms of flea bites and bed bug bites? Let’s help you understand how to identify flea bites vs bed bug bites.

Symptoms of flea bites include severe itching due to small red boils.

You will notice the bites in groups of three.

Within half an hour of the bite, you will notice a red, puffy lump on the area where the flea attacked.

The bump may turn into a blister after a day or so.

Bed bug bites don’t always show up immediately. The symptoms from their bite may take a few days to be noticeable.

Symptoms of bed bug bites include intense itchiness and red bumps with a darker red mark in the center of the bite. The bite marks are rough and appear in a line.

Some victims may not get any boils while some may develop blisters.

Flea Bites vs. Bed Bug Bites Chart

Particulars Fleas Bedbugs
Occurrence Light to deep brown, wingless, oval-shaped Small, flat, reddish-brown
Size / Dimension around 2 to 8 mm long 4 mm long and 3 mm wide
Breeding area Pets and upholstery Around cracks in bed frame, piping, corners of mattress and pillows, cardboard boxes
Reaction Bite can be sensed, swelling, scratchy sensation Bite is not sensed, Itchy can lead to a rash
Disease transmission Can spread disease Does not spread disease
Identification Can be spotted on pets, fecal matter inside pet fur, fabrics Dark spots on bedding, eggs and rust stains on sheets or the bed frame
Prevention Clean and wash pet bedding, pet cloth accessories each week. Vacuum daily. Lessen clutter, use protective casing on mattress, check used furniture before bringing into home
Treatment Vacuum upholstery beat rugs outdoors, treat pets Clothing and upholstery should be heated, use pesticides

How to Treat Flea Bites and Bed Bug Bites?

Once you have identified the culprit, you can begin the right treatment.

After a flea has bitten you, if you refrain from scratching the bite, you will protect yourself from further infection.

Below, are products beneficial in relieving the itching:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Calamine lotion

You may use ice or cold water as both tend to soothe the itching as well as prevent swelling. When using the above products, try to massage them gently into the skin.

Otherwise, you may affect the wound more if you rub it hard.

Don’t forget to clean the infected area with an antiseptic soap.

This will help protect your body from other contaminations.

Consult a pharmacist or a doctor before you use any antihistamine medicines to lessen the swelling.

A doctor may also help you with treatment for potential tapeworm infection, as fleas can pass on this parasite through their bite.

Visit a doctor if your symptoms worsen or the infection triggers a secondary infection such as the release of pus.

For treating bites from a bed bug, mix baking soda with water and make a paste. Apply the paste to the infected area and allow it to dry. After an hour, gently rinse it off.

You may also dab some lemon juice, with the help of a cotton ball, on the affected area.

Another option is to use 100% pure aloe vera gel salve or gel from the plant itself. Aloe vera is a medicinal plant and has both antibiotic and anti-fungal characteristics.

You can also use creams like Cortaid that contains hydrocortisone, or cortisone which can reduce irritation and itching.

Based on your symptoms, your doctor can suggest the cream that will work best for you. If you suffer from a severe allergic reaction, your doctor might recommend an injection of corticosteroid, antihistamine, or epinephrine (adrenaline).


If you haven’t been traveling and you still manage to get bitten by bed bugs, it may be time to treat your home.

To get rid of bedbugs:

  • You should clean and vacuum your floors.
  • Put your furniture fabrics, bed linens, covers and any such material through the regular laundry. The use of a washer and dryer, with hot water and high heat, is beneficial for killing the bugs.
  • Discard any affected items from your indoor space.
  • Regularly bathe your pets.
  • Check your pets for fleas and treat accordingly.
  • Vacuum your house as many times as possible every week.
  • Consume garlic; fleas hate garlic.
  • Use essential oils like lavender or tree tea, spraying or dabbing them on your ankles and legs.
  • Have your house treated by a pest control service.

Now that you understand the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites, we hope we have given you adequate information in this guide.

Read Next:

Olesen, J., “Flea Bites on Humans – Flea Bite Symptoms,” Flea Bites, last accessed January 2, 2018;
Silver, N., “What’s the Difference Between Flea Bites and Bedbug Bites?” Healthline, July 5, 2016;
“Fleas,” Better Health, January 9, 2016;
“Bed Bug Bite v.s. Flea Bite: Four Checks to Determine That,” Terminix website, last accessed January 2, 2018;

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