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People are understandably on edge about bed bug bites. The population of bed bugs has soared in the past decade, and anywhere you do, you’re likely to pick up the blood-sucking pests and transport them back to your home. But this anxiety often causes people to conclude they have bed bug bites, when the problem is actually some other pest.

There are several different kinds of bites that might be mistaken by bed bug bites – mosquito bites, bed bug bites, spider bites and the list goes on. But what we need to understand is the identification of the type of bite. In order to do so, we need to analyze the distinctions, the appearance and the intensity of the bites. Only then can we make a proper assumption of the type of bite and devise a remedy for it. So let’s start by distinguishing bed bug bites from the rest.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites

Difference Between Bed Bug Bites And Other Bites

Bed bug bites are usually red bumps in you skin. They tend to be itchy and they form a line. This line is known as the breakfast, lunch and dinner pattern. Most people don’t develop any alergic reaction to bed bug bites, but it might occur in some cases.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites in a row forming the breakfast, lunch and dinner pattern

The following bites are commonly confused with bed bugs.

Mosquito Bites vs Bed Bug Bites

Mosquitoes also like to bite you when you’re sleeping, so when you wake you might notice bites and figure it must be bed bugs. But the bite marks look similar, so if you know you have mosquitoes in your living area, there’s a good chance your bites are from them.

One way to understand whether a particular bite is that from a bed bug or from a mosquito is to see if the bites are aligned according to the way you sleep on the bed. Bed bug bites, generally, appear in a symmetrical format with red flat spots turning up along the length of your sleeves or on the calves of your legs, usually in regions which are closest to the mattress. Mosquito bites would be spread out all over the body without following any particular pattern. Moreover, mosquito bites pop up instantly starting with an uncontrollable urge to itch the affected region. Bed bug bites crop up after a sufficient amount of time has lapsed and will also last the longest, unlike mosquito bites which dissolve easily.

mosquito bites

Mosquito Bites

If you’re not aware of mosquitoes, you should still check your home and yard for mosquito breeding grounds (standing water). If you find such areas, correct the problem, and see if the bites stop occurring. Also, check outside of your home for any puddles of water that have been laying there for long periods of time. These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Bed bug bites vs Spider Bites

Unlike bed bug bites which are just a mere botheration and not a health hazard, spider bites are equally dangerous as they are painful. In terms of location, bed bug bites generally form an alignment as they leave marks on our skin. Spider bites generally appear randomly with the most common sections being legs, ankles, arms, fingers. 

spider bite

Spider Bites

Also, bed bug bites are usually created in clusters by these horrid insects, spider bites mostly form a single swollen pelt on the surface of your skin which can become red and appear like a blister. Bed bug bites cause you to itch that very spot incessantly, but in case of spider bites, you feel a strong sting and pain in and around the affected site. In fact, spider bites are not to be treated lightly. Spiders can be of different types and depend on their variety, the poison content and intensity of the bite can be distinguished. Spider bites can cause serious after-effects ranging from abdominal cramps, constant sweating to paralysis and even high blood pressure. So its always wise to visit the doctor in case you suspect you have a spider bite.

Flea bites vs bed bug bites

Fleas normally fed on non-human animals, but they will target humans when other animals aren’t available. They also bite humans who are often in close contact with their pets.

flea bites

Flea Bites

Similar to mosquito bites, flea bites appear as red, hard and swollen spots in clusters around the ankles and legs which are the most easily accessible points for these insects. And as you know, beg bites form an orderly fashion on your body appearing in a most defined arrangement. Unlike bed bug bites, flea bites are known to spread disease in situations where the host is hypersensitive to flea bites and that may lead one a trip to the ER. So this is something to be wary about.

Scabies vs bed bug bites

These pests burrow under your skin, in neat rows that can be confused with bed bugs’ “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” rows of 3 bites. They also can burst when full, leaving behind blood spots on your mattress that can be confused with bed bug excretions.

scabies

Scabies

 

The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, doctors aren’t always able to tell if you have bed bug bites or some other problem. The surest way to determine if you have been bitten by bed bugs or something else is to have your residence inspected for bed bugs.

how to tell bed bug bites from other bites [Infographic]


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