Bed bug and mosquito bites are both red and itchy and appear to be similar. However, they come from different creatures and have some different characteristics.
Being able to tell the difference between the two means people can respond appropriately to the bites and take action to stop getting more.
This article describes the differences and treatments for bed bug bites and mosquito bites.
Just like other bites, people react differently to bed bug bites, and it can take hours or days for these reactions to occur.
Some people find bed bug bites itchy and irritating, while others develop swollen, painful reactions.
Serious allergic reactions are rare, but can include anaphylaxis, which begins with a feeling that your throat is closing. Anaphylaxis can be life threatening and affect the whole body.
Individuals usually get multiple bed bug bites at once, often in groups of three to five. The bites themselves are red and itchy and sometimes have a blister on top.
Bed bugs live on blood and are mainly active at night. Therefore, bites often occur where the skin is exposed at night.
Bed bugs need to eat at least every 14 days to mate and produce eggs, but can also survive without food for months to a year.
Find out more about bed bug bites here.
Female mosquitoes are the only mosquitoes that bite and exposure must last at least 6 seconds for enough mosquito saliva to get into the bloodstream and cause a reaction.
Mosquito bites resemble red bumps with a stab wound in the middle. Occasionally, if a person is very sensitive, they may create welts or larger raised areas.
The bites are itchy due to the way the immune system reacts to mosquito saliva.
Mosquitoes are most likely to bite in the dark between sunset and sunrise. Carbon dioxide, human sweat, and heat can all attract mosquitoes.
Click here to learn more about mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites and bed bugs have different properties on a person’s skin and in several other ways.
Bed bug bites usually appear in a cluster and often in a specific pattern, such as: B. in a line or a zigzag. Typically, bites occur in areas that a person is exposed to while sleeping.
Mosquito bites, on the other hand, are generally isolated and appear randomly over parts of the body that clothing does not cover.
People usually don’t feel bed bug bites, and reactions can occur hours or days later. Without further irritation, symptoms usually resolve in about a week.
Conversely, mosquito bites can be itchy and visible immediately. They usually get better after 1 or 2 days.
In addition to causing itching and irritation, mosquito bites can spread serious illness. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 725,000 people die from these diseases worldwide each year.
Although they carry many diseases, some of the most common mosquito-borne diseases include:
Unlike mosquitoes, public health experts don’t believe bed bugs can spread disease.
The symptoms of bed bug bites and mosquito bites can be differentiated, which can help people identify the type they have.
Bed bug bites
Symptoms of bed bugs include:
- small, raised, red bumps in clusters of three to five
- Bumps often appear in a zigzag pattern on the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, face and legs
- Bumps itch and may come with a blister
The symptoms of mosquito bites in most people are itchy, red bumps with stab wounds in the center. They usually appear within a few hours or days after the bite.
People who are allergic to mosquito bites can also develop:
- swollen joints
- Anaphylaxis in patients with severe allergies
Most often, neither bed bug bites nor mosquito bites require medical treatment unless a person has an exceptional allergic reaction.
Anaphylaxis is a rare reaction to these types of insect bites. However, if someone feels that their throat is closing, they need to see a doctor right away.
The basic steps in treating bed bug or mosquito bites include:
- Wash the bites off with soap and water
- Try not to scratch as this can irritate or break the skin and cause secondary problems
- Keep the affected area clean and dry
- Use antiseptic lotions and anti-itch creams to protect the skin and relieve itching
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine if necessary
There are a few things people can do to reduce the risk of insect bites.
Bed bug bites
To avoid bed bug bites when traveling, people should thoroughly examine the beds on mattresses and on the headboard for signs of bed bugs. You shouldn’t put suitcases on the floor either.
To avoid bed bug bites at home:
- Check items brought into the house, including clothing that someone has worn while traveling and used furniture
- Place a bed bug cover over mattresses
- If possible, reduce the clutter as bed bugs like clutter
Often times, when a bed bug infestation develops, it is necessary to hire a professional pest control specialist who specialize in bed bugs to get rid of them completely.
The following measures can help prevent mosquito bites:
- Remove mosquito habitats by removing stagnant water in pet dishes, buckets, toys, and other containers, such as changing the water in a bird bath at least once a week.
- Make sure that insect screens for windows and doors do not have holes.
- Wear pants and long sleeved shirts when venturing outside, especially in the woods, at dusk, and other places and times where mosquitoes like to feed.
- Use insect repellant, especially outdoors.
- If necessary, install yellow light bulbs outdoors, which do not repel insects but are less attractive.
Itchy, red bumps may not always be the cause of bed bugs and mosquitos. Other possible culprits are:
- Fleas: Fleabites can appear in clusters, much like bed bug bites.
- To fly: A fly bite can itch and blister the skin.
- Be crazy: Spider bites can turn red and swell, and some spider bites can be dangerous.
- Mites: Among the different types of mites, scabies dig into the skin, form tunnels, and cause inflammation and itching.
Most of the time, people don’t need to see a doctor for bed bugs or mosquito bites.
The two exceptions are if a person has a severe allergic reaction to the bites or if they develop secondary infections as a result of the bite.
Signs that someone may need to see a doctor include:
- feel like your throat is closing – seek help immediately
- with a large number of bites
- Develop a fever, swelling, hives, blisters, or pus
- not getting relief from over-the-counter anti-itch medications
Bed bug and mosquito bites are very common. Although they can cause significant discomfort and irritation, they rarely require medical attention and usually clear up within a few days.
Taking steps to avoid future exposure to bed bugs and mosquitos and working hard to remove bed bugs can help limit future bites.