Bed Bug Bites vs. Other Bites

Bed Bug Bites vs. Other Bites: Telling Them Apart

Bedbugs are hard to control but their bites could also trigger allergic reactions, cause itching, and are painful.

  • Bed bugs look like many other insects but they will mainly hide inside mattresses, baseboards, upholstered furniture, headboard, walls, and furniture.

Is it a bed bug that is biting you? Well, in this article, I will teach you how you can differentiate between bed bug bites and other bites.

Let’s dive in.

Most humans will get terrified when bed bugs crawl into their bed or house.

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that will bite on animals and humans (while they sleep) to suck blood.

  • If your skin has some small red dots, you may be confused whether they are from bed bugs or any other biting or stinging insects.

Where Do Bed Bugs Bite?

Bed bugs tend to bite on most of the skin diseases caused including the feet, hands, arms, legs, neck, and face.

  • The pests will bite the areas of your skin that are not covered while you are sleeping.
  • However, bedbugs invite you all over your body if you sleep wearing few or no clothes.

A bed bug will bite humans and inject their anticoagulant that will make your skin numb so that you won’t feel it while they’re sucking blood.

The bed bug sucks a fill of the human blood (before going into hiding for a number of days) and will only return when its blood supply (their food) goes down.

  • Bed bug bites have a similar shape and size to those from mosquitoes and fleas – which makes it difficult to identify them correctly.

But in summary, here are some of the unique features that will help you identify the bedbugs bites.

  • The localized bite area will have a rash
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching around the bite area – localized
  • Red welts that are small and appear in clusters or in ZigZag lines.

Also, humans may experience anxiety and insomnia because the bed bugs will disturb their sleep patterns.

  • Luckily, besides causing possible allergic reactions, bed bugs (including baby bed bugs) are not documented to carry any disease-causing pathogens.

1. Bed Bug Bites Versus Flea Bites

a. Bite Location

It’s important to know where specific pests will bite a human being.

  • For example, if you know that the b of a specific pest tends to be concentrated in a certain area, it’ll be easy to identify the pest.

Fleas will mainly target humans on the lower extremities such as the legs when bed bugs will bite your upper torso.

But why?

Well, bed bugs will mainly hide or nest in the bedding such as mattresses and sheets.

  • They will mainly move towards the head of your bed and thus they will bite your arms and upper torso – but you can use a mattress Encasement.

On the other hand, fleas will mainly bite humans on the lower body such as the legs.

  • This is because fleas do not fly but leap over small heights – about 13 inches.

Also, fleas do not target people but will buy them when their preferred host (cats and dogs) is not available. See how to Keep Fleas off Me While I Sleep.

b. Colour and size

The Colour and size of the bite are important factors in trying to identify the animal causing them.

  • Despite the fact that the differences between bed bug bites and flea bites (when considering color and size) is minimal, I have some clues for you.

Bites caused by animals are relatively large and they will appear like reddish welts but they will be less bright compared to flea bites.

  • Bed bug bites will be laid down in clusters in a zigzag or line.

However, flea bites will be smaller than bed bug bites and will also have a red appearance that is brighter.

  • Flea bites can be found in patterns of the human skin but may also be grouped closely.

c. Time of biting

Bugs have different feeding habits, and will also feed at varied times of the day -information that can help you identify the insect biting you.

First, we’ve noted that bed bugs mainly feed at night because they are nocturnal insects.

  • Also, these bills will mainly be hiding during the day and thus they want to bite humans.

However, fleas will move and feed at any time of the day or night that they choose.

  • So if you notice bites occurring and insects crawling on your skin during the day, you know that you are battling with fleas.

But flea bites and bed bug bites have similarities; they take some time to be felt since they inject an anticoagulant.

Also, both bites may lead to severe reactions such as itching and allergy (insect-related). 

2. Bed Bug Bites Versus Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites will be painful since mosquitoes do not have the numbering ability like that in the saliva of bed bugs.

  • Also, mosquito bites will leave you with some unique (one or two) large marks on the skin.

However, bed bug bites will appear in clusters as opposed to singly or in pairs.

  • So, if you notice several bites in one location but you didn’t feel them being inflicted, these will be bed bug bites.

a. Bite Location

Bed bugs will mainly bite humans on the part of their body that is near the mattress – which is the back, sides, arms, and upper body.

  • For example, if you are sleeping on your back and the bed bugs are hiding on the top right side of the mattress, then the b will appear on your right shoulder and side.
  • Also, if the bed bugs are hiding on the bed headboard, the bites will appear mainly on your head and shoulders.

So if you notice that you have some regular bites on your body that appear on the right side, then inspect the side of your mattress.

However, mosquito bites will be inflicted on any part of your body that is exposed.

  • Parts of the body that are regularly exposed include the arms and legs and this is where you’ll find most of the mosquito bites.

This implies that mosquitoes will not get under your sheets to bite you like it is the case with bed bugs.

b. Colour and size

Bed bug bites and mosquito bites have a similar appearance with their colors ranging from brown to light pink.

  • Both bites will be raised a bit from the human skin but have an average size of a pea.

On sensation, bed bug bites will feel the same (in pain and itching) as mosquito bites.

  • Both will be swollen and feel smooth and so it’ll be challenging to differentiate them just by their looks

Unlike the condition of pimples, both mosquito and bed bug bites cannot be popped or squeezed.

c. Time of biting

Compared to mosquito bites, bed bug bites and their pain tend to last longer – this could be up to two to three weeks (if you have a stronger bite reaction).

  • So mosquito bites will clear faster – which will be between three to four days.
  • But mosquito bites will have cleared within 1 week.

Also, bed bugs don’t bite continually but in different locations since they need to get a blood meal every 3 days.

  • Mosquitoes can also bite humans continually but they’ll be easy to control and clear.

Bed bug bites appear in clusters but this is not the case with mosquito bites.

  • Mosquito bites will appear on random human skin locations (that are exposed) since these insects will seek and attack their hosts singly.

However, bed bug bites will form a line (some form of pattern) since a number of bed bugs in the colony will follow the same route while attacking their hosts.

  • Also, bed bugs will attack humans in a group and they will bite on the first exposed location they find.

Earlier I noted that bed bugs will not carry disease-causing organisms but mosquitoes will.

  • Mosquito bites will, besides causing itching, transmit disease-causing organisms that lead to the Zika virus, yellow fever, malaria, etc.

3. Bed Bug Bites Versus Tick Bite

Tick bites will be larger than bed bug bites but they’ll have the same shape and color.

  • Ticks will also remain on the animal for long (while still biting) and will also transmit diseases such as Lyme disease.

But bed bugs will bite humans or other hosts, suck blood and then go back to hiding.

a. Bite Location

Bed bug bites will look harder and swollen compared to tick bites.

  • Also, bed bugs will move in numbers while biting humans on multiple occasions for their bodies.

So the bed bug bites will be patterned when the tick bites will be in only one location.

  • Further, ticks can bite under clothes or different layers while bed bugs will prefer biting skin that is exposed.

b. Colour and size

Tick bites may transmit diseases that are commonly known as tick-borne diseases.

Here is a quick guideline on how to identify tick bites.

  • Tick bites will not be filled with fluid but other bites such as from and we’ll have some fluid (pus) inside.

On location, Tick bites will mainly be on the back of your legs, groin, scalp, and neck.

Besides, ticks will bite humans and pets on one location before burrowing in but other pests such as bed bugs and fleas will bite on multiple locations.

c. Time of biting

Just like bed bugs, this will also inject the anesthetic into your skin which will make its bites painless.

  • Injecting the chemical will help the tick to undertake its biting and blood-sucking undetected – at least for some time.

However, things will not borrow their body fully into the skin. The tick can continue feeding on the host’s blood for about 10 days.

If the bite has a bulls-eye rash, then this could be a sign that there is an infection of Lyme disease due to a tick bite.

4. Bed Bug Bites Versus Chigger Bite

Chiggers love living in wooded, grassy, damp, and moist areas – and so you want to generally find them in your bedroom.

You can differentiate between bed bug bites and chigger bites with the location of that bite on the human body.

  • Chigger bites will give you welts and they will mainly be found around your waist.
  • But bed bug bites can be found just around all above your abdomen

You can cure the chigger bites using some quality chigger repellent.

a.Reaction time

Bed bug bites will generally not be felt when the pest is in action but will only be noticed if there is evidence on the sleeping area.

  • These pests will inject a numbing chemical into the human body.
  • The chemical will also prevent any blood from the bite location

Chigger bites and their symptoms can remain for a few days to several weeks depending on how long the pest lodges on you.

b.Colour and Size

Both chigger bites and bed bug bites will look inflamed, red, and raised spots on the skin.

  • But as outlined earlier, bed bugs bites will appear in random clusters or in a line, especially where there is exposed skin.

But chigger bites mainly happen one human is wearing clothes that are tight-fitting.

  • Also, the chigger bites will actually be grouped together in such areas.

5. Bed Bug Bite Versus Hives

A hives outbreak can happen from a number of triggers such as a bug bite, environmental factors, or a reaction to food.

  • Hives will appear like red welts (angry) and they will spread on your skin, especially on locations that came into contact with the irritant.
  • Hives can create splotchy patterns and are linked to wheals or red bumps that are painful.

But bed bug bites would be formed into a line and we’ll be a few. You can also use an antihistamine to treat hives.

a.Size and color

Bites from bed bugs will have a similar size but two separate ones can become joined and appear like a big bite.

  • In brief, bed bug bites will be about the size of an eraser on your pencil.

But I will have different sizes and may be small or large like a pimple.

  • On color, bed bug bites generally look red but the skin around the bite may be lighter.
  • However, hives can have a dark red to pale color (with a red skin surrounding) or even have a color similar to your skin.


Both bed bug bites and hives will be raised from your skin and they will flatten during the healing process.

  • The shape of the bed bug bites will be like that of mosquito bites – with even edges.
  • But hives will have uneven edges and their shape will vary.


We’ve repeated this a number of times, but my wife will likely appear on skin that is exposed.

  • As you sleeping on your bed or couch, bed bugs will bite your neck, legs, and arms

However, you may find hives on almost any part of your body.

Another characteristic feature that we differentiate bed bug bites from hives is the number of people suffering in the house.

  • Notably, if more than one person is suffering from similar skin irritation, then that will be most likely a bedbug bite.

However, if it is just one person suffering from skin irritation, then I would classify these as hives since they aren’t contagious.

6. Bed Bug Bite versus Chicken Pox

Vaccination is the most common remedy against chickenpox.

  • But some people find it challenging to differentiate between chickenpox and bed bug bites.

The key differentiating factors between the two will be the type and quantity of markings.

  • Chickenpox marks are fluid-filled and irritated (blisters) while bed bug bites will be red bumps that have no fluid or pus.

Chickenpox is known to spread all over the human body because they caused by a virus.

  • Bad bed bug bites won’t appear in large numbers since is pests bite at a lower rate.

So it is clear that chicken off will look different from bed bug bites.

  • Scratching the location that is affected by the bed bugs bite can result in a small bump and redness
  • But chickenpox will cause visible and clear marks that will persist on the skin for up to one year.

The symptoms of chickenpox will include itchiness and redness on the skin location that is affected.

  • Symptoms of bed bugs on humans will include an itchy red rash, headache, loss of appetite, hardness, and fever.

Chickenpox will leave your skin or not of your kids with marks but bed bug bites won’t leave Marks just some minor redness.

Chickenpox will sure leave marks all over the human body but bed bug bites will appear as clusters or groups.

The remedies for chickenpox will include baking soda baths, oatmeal baths, and calamine lotion.

  • On the other hand, the remedies for bed bug bites will include ice to minimize redness and itching, calamine lotion, and anti-itch cream.


Bed bugs would use a number of sectors such as carbon dioxide, and body heat to detect a suitable host such as human beings.

  • The best will take a complete blood meal on their host in under 15 minutes and then get back to their hidden areas.

Bedbugs are cold-blooded insects that get into a dormant state and can survive in that condition for months without taking a meal.

  • For example, bed bugs will survive for about 12 months when the temperatures are under 55 degrees Fahrenheit.