A-1 Pest Control North Carolina

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

October 27, 2020

Ouch! Fleas and bed bugs are two pretty nasty insects that can get into homes and cause trouble for people and pets alike. But how are they similar? And how are they different? A-1 Pest Control is on the case, and we have some answers for you. 

Who They Bite 

Bed Bugs are a significantly bigger biting threat to humans. While they certainly can go after house pets, they’d much rather feed on a resting human than on an animal.

Fleas on the other hand are much more likely to latch onto a dog or cat to feed on (and to hitch a ride indoors). Fleas certainly can bite humans, but as they are typically looking for a creature they can feed on for weeks at a time, humans are not their main target. 

How They Look 

This one is a little more subtle and requires a careful eye to actually recognize the differences. What makes this difficult is, for one, both fleas and bed bugs are quite small and for two they are both reddish-brown. On the bright side, there are a few shape differences that you can identify if you manage to get a good look. 

Bed Bugs are flat and “seed-shaped” and measure between 1.5mm-5mm.

Fleas are more ovular in shape, and are skinnier and longer, in addition to usually being smaller at between 1.5mm and 3.3 mm.

("Flea" by Josef Reischig is licensable under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Where You Find Them 

While both biting insects are nocturnal, Bed Bugs are much more prolific hiders. They will hide in mattress crevices, bed frames, box springs, and even in couch cushions. 

Fleas are more likely to be on your house pet, or in the places that your house pets spend most of their time like near their beds or on the carpet. 

How They Move 

Bed Bugs crawl, quite slowly. They cannot fly or jump. Fleas however can leap, and it is their main form of movement; that’s how they launch themselves from the ground onto pets!

Their Bites

So what’s the deal with the bites? While bite patterns and person-to-person reactions to bites can be varied, there are a few standard observations that can help you understand if you’re dealing with. 

Bed bug bites will take a few days to actually appear after the bites occur. Not only that, but they often look a bit different than flea bites, and appear in different patterns: typically the bites are slightly raised, flat welts that occur in a straight row, and they are usually on parts of the body exposed during sleep.

("Bedbug bites" by James Heilman is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Flea bites become apparent within an hour after the bite occurs. These bites will be more singular and randomly scattered around the body, and extremely itchy. 

("Flea Bites" by Maslesha is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Getting Rid of Fleas and Bed Bugs 

So great, you can identify fleas vs. bed bugs. But what should you do if you actually have them? Contact the experts! A-1 Pest Control has the knowledge to sniff out any flea or bed bug problem that you are having and knock it out in no time. Just contact us, and we’ll be in touch.