bed bugs bites on back

Bed Bug vs. Mosquito Bites: How to Tell the Difference

April 21, 2021

bed bug bites on skin

Bed bugs and mosquitoes are both insects that love to prey on humans and animals, and they feed on blood to survive. Bites from bed bugs and mosquitoes can look pretty similar at first glance, making it difficult to tell which one bit you if you didn't actually see it happen. By paying close attention to the appearance of your bites and symptoms, you can tell the bites apart. Why does it matter if your bites are from mosquitoes vs. bed bugs? Knowing the culprit can help you determine the proper treatment for the insect bites and which plan of attack you need to rid your home of the biting insects.

mosquito on skin

Appearance and Location of Bites

Bites from mosquitoes and bed bugs may look like small, red bumps, but that is where their similarities end. Mosquito bites tend to be random and can occur anywhere that clothing does not cover. They present as a puffy, swollen white or red bump with a small puncture wound in the center.

On the other hand, bed bug bites are small red bumps that can blister or look like a pimple. Because they tend to bite when you are asleep, you may not even know you have bed bug bites until a few hours or days after you get bitten. Bed bug bites are more likely to be in a cluster of three to five bumps and may occur in a line or zigzag pattern. Any area of your body exposed while you sleep is prime real estate for bed bug bites.

When you are awake, you may quickly notice the itch and irritation of a mosquito bite, but you may not realize you have bed bug bites until you notice the bumps a day or two after these critters bite you. Mosquito bites may disappear after a day or two, while bed bug bites can last several days.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites vs. Mosquito Bites

Both bed bug bites and mosquito bites can leave you with itchy, red or irritated bumps and welts. You can get more than an itch from mosquito bites; these flying pests can transmit diseases including Zika, malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever. Bed bugs don't transmit diseases, but you can get an infection from their bites if you scratch at them.

Treatment for the Itch

bed bug on sheets

To make bug bite irritation go away, clean the area well with soap and water. Try not to scratch your mosquito or bed bug bites; too much scratching can break the skin's surface and lead to infection. Apply an anti-itch cream or take an over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce any reaction.

While most people can manage any discomfort from bug bites at home, others may have a more acute reaction. If you experience any severe allergy symptoms, especially difficulty breathing and throat swelling, seek emergency medical treatment because you may have anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic response.

The Search for Their Hideouts

If you still aren't sure what type of bite you have, look for the source. It's harder to find mosquitoes since they can exist anywhere outdoors and even in your home, but you can easily rule out bed bugs by checking your bed. You should look at your mattress, box spring, bed frame and furniture within a few feet of where you sleep. If you find small, dark bugs in these areas, your bites are likely from bed bugs.

Mosquitoes live outdoors but don't mind finding a way to sneak inside your home, buzzing around until they find a warm-blooded victim. They tend to breed in any standing water near or around your yard.

An Ounce of Prevention

The last thing you want in your home are mosquitoes, bed bugs and other biting insects. To get rid of bed bugs and mosquitoes, bring in a trained professional with prevention services to stop bugs in their tracks. At MosquitoNix®, we offer a range of mosquito control services to meet the needs of your home or property. We also have pest control services that cover flies, ants, bed bugs, ticks and more. Ready to get started? Request a free quote today.

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