Flea bites vs. bedbug bites -- what is the real difference?(9 posts)
Hi you guys. So I have bedbugs at my home in D.C. After discovering the infestation, I moved myself, very cautiously (no unlaundered clothes, etc) to my parents' house in Virginia temporarily while the fumigation treatment is happening.
My parents unfortunately have a case of the fleas. As in, I've actually seen fleas hopping around in my bed, and yes I've IDed them as fleas. And yes, I've even seen some in the process of biting me.
So now I'm in the weird and awful situation of having both bedbug bites and flea bites at the same time. My skin situation is getting worse day every day, however, and I need to determine whether fleas are the cause or, my worst nightmare, whether I actually inadvertently carried bedbugs with me to my parents' place.
The skin condition I'm observing, which is spreading, almost resembles poison ivy, according to my dad, who is a doctor (not a dermatologist). I'm seeing clusters of little red dots. The dots are very close together and there are many of them (we're talking 15-20 per "cluster"). Surrounding the dots is a sort of inflamed rash. The individual dots are almost pimple-like in that they sort of have a whitish "head."
All right, gross, but if anyone can give me more info on telling whether these are fleas or bedbugs, I'd like to know. Because it's not getting any better... this rashlike condition is spreading to different areas of my body (started on my outer thighs). I'm leaning against them being bedbug bites, because the bedbug bites I identified in the past were larger, flatter, more spread out, and less rashlike.
In my situation, the bed bug bites wind up looking very similar to a mosquito bite, whereas the flea bites were reddish and small. Then again, from all my readings, people who initially receive bed bug bites might not react at all. However, over time, they may develop a certain rash/bite reaction.
Can any PCO or others confirm or offer other experiences?
My reaction to bed bug bites was very similar to mosquito or yellow fly/deer fly bites. Although we don't have many mosquitos and absolutely no yellow flies out here, I have lived back east in the past. Mosquito bites on me are about the size of a nickel and swollen, red, and so itchy that I often scratch them into raw skin without even realizing I'm doing it. BB bites reacted pretty much the same way.
Flea bites don't get that big or that itchy on me.
Of course, your mileage may vary. Everybody responds a little bit differently.
I should add that the individual "pustules" for lack of a better word are very tiny, the size of a small pimple... and they itch like mad.
Now, since reactions seem to vary for everyone, I know this might be impossible to determine.
I have to agree with you 100%. That is exactly what I experienced.
I should add--flea bites are smaller, less swollen, and far less itchy. (On an itch scale of 1 to 10, yellow fly bites are like an 8 or 9, mosquito bites are like a 7 or 8, BB also a 7 or 8. Huh. I forgot how awful yellow fly bites were. They are actually worse (or they were when I was a teenager) than BB. See, look, silver lining. Fleas are like a 5 or a 6.)
We also have these Argentine ants (A non native species with no natural predators). They aren't the same as biting ants I recall from back east (esp. red and fire ants which HURT like all get out). Most of the time whole freeways will swarm over you without a single one biting, but in very rare instances they will bite. when they do, those react on me like you're describing--almost a pimple sized (or smaller) round, raised bump, sometimes with a whitish "head" like thing in the middle.
I know--more about physical descriptions of bites than you know.
I do wonder, since I didn't discover my infestation until it was fairly far along, if anyone here who had treatment was sure that he or she was getting bitten by nymphs (either post treatment or any other time) could tell us if bites from smaller BB reacted differently from bites from larger bugs.
FYI Those in the know have pretty much agreed that you can not tell insect bites by the bite. There may be some generalizations but definitive not to date.
Thanks for that info. I've been trying to keep an eye on things since the thermal treatment--trying to figure out how I'll know if they're all gone or not--but I don't seem to have the usual two weeks post treatment response of people who had chemical. A reminder that we just don't have the body of data to say anything conclusively really helped remind me of that, so thanks.
The bed bug bite photos on this page are just the tip of the iceberg-- everyone does indeed get different reactions to bed bug bites.
And not just different from the next guy either; you can react differently over time (for example, when first bitten, when bitten for months, when bitten for a long time), and you can react differently to two bites you got on the same day. You can react differently to bed bugs of different life stages, but you can also get similar reactions to them. (People have been bitten on purpose and observed this).
Sorry I can't speak to flea bites (well, I'm NOT sorry, actually-- ha!). But you can't diagnose bed bug bites on sight or appearance.
You must log in to post.