bed bug

Bed bugs vs. fleas: What’s the difference?

Bed bugs and fleas have traits in common – they both feed on blood, are small, and both are unwelcome in your home or business. Both of these pests present different problems and have certain characteristics which set differentiate them. It begs the question: when you see insects on your property, how do you know if they are bed bugs vs fleas? Western Exterminator takes a look at the difference between flea bites vs. bed bug bites.

flea
Flea

Whether you’re dealing with an infestation of bed bugs or fleas, contact a pest control professional who will help you eliminate the infestation. Western Exterminator is your local expert in flea and bed bug removal and prevention. We will use the appropriate strategy to get rid of the infestation. Call us at 888-444-6138 or contact us online to find out more details about how we can help.

Bed bug bites vs. flea bites

Nobody wants to be bitten by any pest, including bed bugs and fleas. There are differences between their bites.

Fleas bite on the lower body, so if you see bites on your upper body, they could be because of bed bugs. Additionally, flea bites itch immediately, but some people show no reaction to bed bug bites. No matter which kind of bites you encounter, you should take them seriously and look for other signs that an infestation may be present.

Although both bed bugs and fleas feed on blood, flea larvae feed on frass (feces). Adult fleas are the only life stage which requires a blood meal in order to reproduce.

Bed bugs prefer to feed on humans while fleas prefer animals.

Bed bugs vs. fleas: appearance

If you see a little bug crawling around in your bedroom and you suspect it’s a flea or a bed bug, here’s one way to tell them apart: bed bugs appear flat and wide while fleas are narrow when looked at sideways. Adults of both pests are brown (bed bugs turn a reddish-brown after a blood meal). Adult bed bugs are roughly 3/16 inch long, and fleas roughly ⅛ inch.

bed bug
Bed bug

Bed bugs and fleas develop differently. Bed bugs undergo gradual metamorphosis (eggs, nymphs in multiple stages, then adults). Fleas go through complete metamorphosis (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults). Here are more facts about bed bug and flea stages:

  • Bed bug nymphs resemble adult bed bugs, but more pale and smaller in size.
  • The larvae of cat fleas resemble maggots.
  • Bed bug eggs are white. Cat flea eggs are pearly white.

How to prevent bed bugs and fleas

It‘s best to avoid getting bed bugs or fleas in the first place. Bed bug activity generates a lot of stress, particularly if you operate a business where where people sleep, like a hotel or apartment building. It’s never fun to see your pet suffering from fleas.

Examine the headboard of your bed for bed bugs when staying in a hotel room, and check the seam of the mattress. Before bringing furniture inside your home, look for signs of bed bugs as well. For flea prevention, get regular flea treatments for your pet from your veterinarian.

How to get rid of bed bugs and fleas

bed bugs
Image courtesy of Bobbie Orr

If you’ve got a bed bug or flea problem, have taken care of as soon as possible. Signs of bed bugs include:

  • Shed bed bug skins
  • Fecal spots (which look like black spots)
  • Adult bed bugs

If your pet is scratching itself excessively or you spot fleas on your pet you may have a flea problem. Bed bugs, as their name implies, are usually found on or near a bed but can also be found anywhere people sit. Cat fleas are usually found in places where pets spend their time.

Western Exterminator provides effective treatments to get rid of both bed bugs and fleas. Western‘s bed bug treatments utilize pest control products, heat treatments and fumigation.  Our flea control treatments use chemicals to treat carpets and the places where pets rest. If your pet has fleas, visit a vet for flea treatments.

If you live in California, you may notice bed bugs and fleas are prevalent all year long (although fleas are more common during the spring and summer). Just because the season changes doesn’t mean you can relax. You need to stay alert for these insects and the troubles they create.

Western understands bed bugs and fleas infesting your home or business can be unnerving. Our specialists will provide treatment to eradicate the pests. Contact your local Western Exterminator office today!

Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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