Some people find joy in locating and handling certain insects, but nobody finds joy in handling insects that suck blood in order to survive. There exists a plethora of insect and arachnid species that suck blood. These arthropods include ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and bed bugs. Surprisingly, bed bugs are unique among blood-sucking insects in that they do not transmit any diseases to humans, but they do leave visible welts that itch like crazy. Generally, people have no problem discerning a mosquito bite from a flea or bed bug bite, but it can be hard to tell the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites. Both fleas and bed bugs inflict numerous bites on humans, but they are rarely caught in the act of sucking blood due to their tiny body size and nocturnal feeding habits. Fleas and bed bugs both inflict welts that look identical, and the bites that each insect leaves result in similar degrees of itchiness. Waking up with bug bites all over one’s body is unpleasant enough without having to stress over not knowing which type of bug caused the itchy welts. Bed bug bites are commonly mistaken for flea bites and vice verse, but there does exist notable differences between the types of injuries that each insect inflicts.
Bed bugs and fleas are similar in that they both survive solely by feeding on the blood of mammals. Bed bugs prefer to feed on human blood while fleas prefer the blood of furry mammals. However, fleas find human blood perfectly acceptable and they will not pass up an easy source of blood just because it comes from a human. Fleas and bed bugs are nocturnal, which means that both prefer to bite humans while they sleep. This makes it very difficult for a person to determine which insect is responsible for bite injuries. However, a sharp observer can spot differences between fleas and bed bugs easily by watching how the insects infesting their home move about. Fleas can jump long distances while bed bugs slowly crawl. Bed bugs are also larger than fleas. Flea bites also tend to be clustered together in one area of the body while bed bug bites are more scattered across the body. Of course, the most important difference between fleas and bed bugs is that only fleas can transmit disease to humans. These diseases include the plague, typhus, and cat scratch disease.
Have you ever discovered several bug bites that you had no memory of receiving?