Flea Bites vs Bed Bug Bites – Differences, Symptoms and Treatments for Both

Bug bites are a very serious problem and can be extra troublesome for people who are prone to allergies and infections. Bites can result in infection, rashes from itches and sometimes also transmit disease. They can also be a major reason behind your mood swings and disturb your daily routine.

Flea bites and bed bug bites are the most common bite problems that you may face. It is very important to know the difference between them. In this article, we will highlight the differences between them, problems they can cause you, their symptoms, and how you can treat them effectively. We care for you, and that is why we have consulted dermatologists before writing this article and spent considerable time doing research on this topic.

Differences between Flea Bites and Bed Bug Bites

We will identify the differences in their physical appearance, their habitat, and how their bite looks like.


Physical Appearance

They are wingless parasitic insects and are commonly sized around 2-3 millimeters in length. They have long legs for jumping and can jump around 10 inches vertically and 15 inches horizontally. Their body is flattened and is usually dark colored. They mainly feed on animal hosts, but can also bite humans as well. Fleas can be dangerous as they have the ability to transfer diseases while feeding.


Fleas exclusively live and develop on hairy mammalian animals like cats, dogs and other furry animals like rats and chinchillas etc. their habitat is hair because their body is shaped in such a way that a hairy surface facilitates their movement. It is pertinent to highlight that fleas live only on hairy surfaces they can lay their eggs almost everywhere. You can also find them on furniture and upholstery in the room where your pets spend most of the time.

Flea Bites

Flea bites appear like little red dots that are hard and swollen. They can develop into small clusters and can look like mosquito bites. Flea bites itch a lot and are mostly found on ankles and lower limbs as these areas are easy for the fleas to reach. The clusters developed by flea bites are random and shapeless.

Bed Bugs

Physical Appearance

As compared to fleas, bed bugs are oval shaped and flat. They have a reddish-brown color and are 5-6 mm long and 2-3 mm wide. They do not have any ability to spread diseases. They can be compared in their appearance.


As the name indicates, their most common habitat is the bed sheets and places around them. Bed bugs are most active during night time as they prefer high amounts of carbon dioxide that you excrete during sleeping. Apart from beds, you can find bed bugs in the following places

  • Under your mattresses
  • Bed creeks
  • Behind paintings and loose wallpapers
  • Upholstery and furniture
  • Second-hand clothing and handbags

Bed Bug Bites

You are most likely to find bed bug bites on upper parts of your body like neck, chest, face, back, and arms. Bed bug bites appear like small red spots with a darker red spot in the middle. Bed bugs bite you in close proximity and may form a straight line or a circle.


Symptoms can vary from one individual to another. Depending upon the skin-sensitivity and immunity against rashes, it is possible that you will just have minor rashes and they will go away in a while, or you might have to deal with them through proper medications. The symptoms may also be different depending upon the strength of bugs in your home.

Symptoms of Flea Bites

Symptoms of flea bites are listed below and appear within half an hour after you are bitten from them.

  • Red and swollen patches on the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Secondary reactions can develop if you scratch the bitten area.

Fleas have the ability to transfer diseases, so if you are bitten by a flea, make sure that you go through a proper treatment course.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites have the following symptoms.

  • Red bumps on your skin
  • Strong itchiness
  • Blisters or hives
  • Reactions to Bites

Reactions to Bites

Based on your skin sensitivity and your immunity against such insect bites, you can develop the following reactions.

Flea Bites

Your body can react to flea bites in the following ways

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Rashes
  • Fever

Bed Bug Bites

If bed bug bites left untreated and become a regular problem for you, you can have the following reactions

  • Allergies and hypersensitivity
  • Infections (resulting from too much scratching)
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and stress


Timely treatment is very important for both of these bites. Here, we will not only discuss treatment, but we will also explain some prevention techniques for both of these bugs.

Treatment of Flea Bites

Treatment of flea bites is simple. All you need to do is wash the infected area with soap and water. Applying an ice pack will help in calming down itch. Antiseptic creams are very helpful in fighting rashes from flea bites. If there is some discharge from the bitten area, consult your doctor urgently.

Prevention from Fleas

  • Consume an extra dose of garlic, fleas hate garlic
  • Wash your pet regularly and keep it clean
  • Essential oil sprays like lavender help in warding off fleas
  • Get your pet treated for fleas
  • Seek help from professional bug prevention services

Treatment of Bed Bug Bites

The first act of treatment is washing the area with soap and water. You can also use ice to calm down the itching. Applying a paste of water and baking soda for an hour or two and washing it thoroughly helps in clearing the rashes. It stops the bites from becoming blisters or hives. A warm water bath infused with peppermint oil helps a lot in reducing the itching and chances of infection.

Prevention from Bed Bug Bites

  • Cover up any holes in the mattress or bed frame
  • Keep your mattresses in a protective coating
  • Make sure that your luggage and clothes are free from bugs on your return
  • Wash all clothing after returning from long trips
  • Try pesticides or seek help from professional bug prevention services.


If you are facing the bug bite problem on a continuous basis, then it is very likely that you have an infestation problem in your home. With the help of following signs, you can identify that either you have a bed bug infestation or a flea infestation.

Flea Infestation

Flea infestation can be easily noticed through the behavior of your pets and in places around your house. The following indicates the flea infestation

  • Your pets will start to scratch and bite themselves more often, meaning they are infested.
  • Pets start to tear out their own hair if they are suffering from flea infestation.
  • If you do not have any pets in your home, it is possible that you may still have some species of fleas around your house from your neighbor’s pets or other passing by animals. Put on your white socks and walk around your house, if fleas are present there, they may jump on your socks and you can see them easily.

Bed Bug Infestation

You can identify a bed bug infestation through following signs

  • Your sheets will have reddish brown stains, indicating activities of bed bugs. These stains can indicate a population of bed bugs in your house.
  • Bed bugs are usually found in the night. If you notice them in day-time on your bed or nearby walls, you have a serious problem of bed bugs on your hands.


We are sure that after reading our article, you are now fully aware of all the difference between fleas and bed bug. We hope that you can now get rid of these bugs and deal with their bites in a better way.

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