Bed Bug Bite or Flea Bite?

Confused about the differences between fleas and bed bugs? You are not alone. Isolating the cause of your bug bites is all about eliminating the possibilities. While there are similarities between these two pests – there are many more differences. Knowing their life cycle, their similarities and the differences will help you rule in or out these pests as the cause of your bite marks.


Fleas and bed bugs are ectoparasites, meaning they live on the outside of their hosts. Neither have wings. Both feed on blood and our climate controlled homes provide ideal conditions for these pests to thrive. Interestingly, both bed bug eggs and the flea pupae provide formidable protection from pesticides.


From there the similarities stop and the differences begin.  Fleas have laterally compressed bodies while bed bugs are horizontally flattened.  Fleas can hop or jump, bed bugs cannot hop, jump or fly. Flea eggs are laid on the host’s skin and easily dislodges, while bed bug eggs are laid in secluded nooks and crannies and are ‘glued' in position making them difficult to dislodge.

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To determine if fleas are present, slip on a pair of white knee socks and walk from room to room.  If the fleas are there you may spot them against the white socks as they hop on board.

For complete details, download this pdf for a point-by-point comparison of these two pests.

Posted on November 29, 2011 and filed under signs of bed bugs.