Fleas and bedbugs are among the most common types of household pests. Known as ‘hitchhikers’, both are small and can easily get carried into your home through different sources. They can go unnoticed for long periods, increasing the likelihood of an infestation. On your own, they are extremely difficult to eradicate and require the services of a trained pest professional. At Pointe Pest Control, we help clients eliminate fleas and bed bugs, safely and effectively. The following provides information that can help you determine whether you have a flea or bed bug problem and illustrates the differences between these two common and annoying nuisances.
The Difference Between Bed Bugs and Fleas
Fleas and bed bugs share many similarities, particularly when it comes to their feeding habits and their ability to create problems in and around your home. Both feed on the blood of humans, and both can leave bite marks that may itch or become infected. Both are also just as likely to infest your home.
One of the key differences between fleas and bed bugs is the way they are perceived. While fleas are a commonly acknowledged household pest during the warm weather months, most people do not realize that a bed bug infestation is just as likely to occur. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises that the incidence of bed bugs has reached near epidemic proportions and that roughly one in five people in the United States have bed bugs or know someone who has had them. They can be found in even the nicest and cleanest homes, hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. Aside from public perception, other key differences between fleas and bed bugs include:
- While both are small in size, fleas have more narrowbodies. Bed bites tend to be flat and wide.
- Fleas prefer to feed on animals, rather than humans. Bed bugs feed exclusively on human hosts.
- Flea bites most commonly appear on the lower body, such as around the ankles or feet. Bed bug bites are more likely to appear on the face, neck, arms, or hands.
- Fleas typically are most active at dusk but you can be bitten at any time of day. Bed bugs come out strictly at night and bite while you sleep.
- Fleas have wings, allowing them to jump from one person to the other. Bed bugs are wingless and cannot be carried on your body, though they can be transmitted through handbags, backpacks, or other items.
- Bed bug bites do not have a red spot in the center, the way flea bites do.
Which Is Worse: Fleas or Bed Bugs?
Fleas and bed bugs are both household pests that can be difficult to get rid off. Both can be found in your bedding, behind pictures, along floorboards, or in any dark area of your home. By the time you identify the problem, you are likely to have a complete infestation on your hands. Do-it-yourself products typically fail to address the issue. If you suspect you have bed bugs or fleas, you need to call in our pest professionals immediately.
In terms of being difficult to eliminate and making you uncomfortable in your home, fleas and bed bugs are equally bad. However, the potential to carry serious diseases makes fleas somewhat worse. The fact that they live on various mammals and then travel to human hosts makes them more dangerous than bed bugs. They also feed on body waste, making them more likely to carry germs. The same as ticks and mosquitos, fleas have the ability to carry bacteria and can cause potentially serious illnesses such as Lyme disease and the Zika or West Nile Virus to spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that infected fleas can also be carriers for certain types of plagues, all of which can be found within the U.S. These include:
- Bubonic plague, with symptoms that include swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, and extreme exhaustion;
- Septicemic plague, which causes bloodstream infections and symptoms such as lightheadedness, fever, and abdominal pain;
- Pneumonic plague, in which bacteria spread to the lungs, This can cause difficulty breathing and may be fatal if not treated right away.
Contact Us Today for Help
To protect your family against common infestations of bed bugs or fleas, get our pest control professionals on your side. Call one of our local offices or contact Pointe Pest Control online to request a free consultation today.