Many people when they get a little rash or a bug bite tend to think it is something harmless. It is only after a few hours of the body reaction when they understand the seriousness of the problem. The ones with sensitive skin are those who suffer a lot. The bites from bed bug or flea are similar. It often confuses people in identifying them. They end up treating the bite with the wrong medication and methods aggravating the allergy.

differentiate between bed bug bites and flea bites

Here in this post, we help you understand the difference between bed bug bites and flea bites.

Bed bug and flea bites are prevalent and can affect many people with sensitive to healthy skin. We did extensive research and have come up with a proper guide for you to overcome this problem.

Without wasting any time, let us now go to the topic.

To differentiate the bites, we classify topics based on the following things.

chart for identifying the difference between flea bites and bed bug bites
  • Physical Appearance

  • Habitat

  • Bite Appearance

  • Symptoms of Bite

  • Bite Reactions

  • Bite Treatment


Now let’s deal with each of the topics in detail.

Physical Appearance

Generally, this is the hard and most critical part. First, let’s identify how a flea and bed bug appears in their physical structure.

Fleas are a flat dark colored bug that has long legs in front for jumping on its prey. Fleas feed on cattle and animals. They carry dangerous disease-causing bacterias.

A bed bug is oval and is a bit bigger than fleas. Bed bugs cannot jump and do not carry deadly diseases to spread with them.


Fleas thrive on hairy animals. The structure of the animal body hair helps them to move and breed comfortably. Animals like rabbits, dogs, cats, cows, etc. are the main habitats that fleas come in contact with.

While you can find bed bugs on beds and sheets, they are nocturnal and prefer carbon dioxide that we exhale while asleep.

Habitat helps you identify the place where you got the bit. If you got bitten when you were near any animal, it would be fleas.

Bite Appearance

what flea bite and bed bug bite looks like

Bed bug bites do not form any cluster. They can appear all over the body, usually, the places exposed while sleeping. In bed bug bite you will have a bright red spot with a dark red bite dot at the center. The bed bugs bite in an aligned line or circle shapes.

Flea bites are very hard, swollen red bites. They usually appear in clusters and have no particular shape. These bites are prickly by nature and predominantly found on lower body parts. They are more or less like a small mosquito bite.

Bite Symptoms

Usually, the symptoms vary in individuals. Someone with sensitive skin may find certain symptoms that are nowhere to be seen in the rest of the people.

The symptoms also depend on the severity of the infestation where you got the bite.

bed bug bites vs flea bites symptoms: what do the bites look like

Flea Bite Symptoms

All the symptoms mentioned below usually appear within an hour of bite.

  1. Red hard swollen rashes on the skin.
  2. Severe Itching.
  3. Any other reaction may happen if you itch the area.
  4. The bite can be felt when you touch it.
  5. After a day, the bites may look too hard and bumpy.

Bed Bug Bite Symptoms

  1. Symptoms mentioned below usually takes more than an hour to appear.
  2. Soft red-colored bumps on the skin
  3. Sometimes a soft rash in a straight line or a circular shape.
  4. Itching
  5. Other reactions may happen if you are highly allergic.
  6. Can cause Blisters and hives

Bite Reactions

There exist many ways in which each body reacts to bite. Yet, we have listed the most common things in this section.

Flea Bite Reactions

  1. Severe Headache
  2. Light sensitivity
  3. Fever
  4. Stress and anxiety
  5. Red rashes on the skin
  6. Burning sensation on the skin
  7. Discharge of any kind

Bed Bug Bite Reactions

  1. Allergies
  2. Blisters and pus
  3. Infections on scratching the bite
  4. Loss of sleep
  5. Stress and mood swings

Bite Treatments

Though the bite seems very concerning, treating these bites is very simple and easy. If any discharge happening in the bites, we recommend visiting a physician immediately. Do not delay if your body reacts very severely to the bites. A doctor will help you out with such incidents.

If the bites are very less and there are no reactions apart from the bites, you can follow the below-mentioned steps. The significant steps are common to both while a few serves the particular cause. Check it out below.

  1. Clean the bite area with antibacterial body wash and water.
  2. Use an ice pack to curb the itching.
  3. Apply any antiseptic cream.
  4. Applying calamine lotion helps to soothe the itching.
  5. Take on the counter antihistamine to help the swelling.
  6. Take a dose of tapeworm infection treatment, as it is very common to the infection with flea bite.
  7. While a bed bug bite may cause cellulitis, consider taking an opinion with your doctor.
  8. Water and baking soda mixture on bite area of bedbugs are said to heal fast.
  9. For any itching in the bite area, applying peppermint oil will be helpful.
  10. For flea bite areas using lemongrass oil will soothe the skin.


Yet, treating the after-effects are always troublesome. It is better to prevent these bites from happening. A few things you can do to avoid the bites happening are mentioned below for you.

Prevent bed bugs by regularly cleaning your home, office, wooden furniture, sheets, and tiny corners of your home, etc.

To prevent flea bites, when you are spending time with animals, use lavender oil. Lavender oil repels fleas. Always nurse your pets for fleas. Keep the animals and pets clean you come in contact with. Clean their places regularly.

By doing the above-said things, you can avoid any bites happening.