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, feeding 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 see it happen. By paying close attention to the appearance of your bites and the symptoms you experience, you can usually determine which type of bite you have.

Why does it matter if your bites are mosquito bites vs. bed bug bites? Knowing the culprit can help you determine the proper treatment for your insect bites. It can also help you decide which plan of attack you need to take to rid your home of the biting insects that have invaded it.

Do Bed Bug Bits Look Like Mosquito Bites?

Bites from mosquitoes and bed bugs can both look like small, red bumps, but that is where their similarities end. What do mosquito bites look like? Mosquito bites tend to show up individually (as opposed to in clusters) 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 bed bugs 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 are bitten. Bed bug bites are more likely to show up in a cluster of three to five bumps than as a single bite, and they may occur in a line or zigzag pattern. Any area of your body that is exposed while you sleep is prime real estate for bed bug bites.

You will probably quickly notice the itch and irritation of a mosquito bite, either right after you are bitten or, if you are bitten in your sleep, as soon as you wake up. However, you may not realize you have bed bug bites until a day or two after these critters bite you. In addition, 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 irritating 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 them.

Treatment for Bed Bugs and Mosquito Bites

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 bites or bed bug bites, as 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 your body's reaction.

When it comes to how to treat bug bites, most people can manage any discomfort from bites at home. However, 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 be experiencing anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic response.

The Search for Their Hideouts

If you still aren't sure whether you're dealing with bed bug bites vs. mosquito bites, 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.

For reference, below are pictures of a bed bug (top) and a mosquito (bottom). Compare the insects you find to these photos to help determine whether you're dealing with bed bugs or mosquito bites.

An Ounce of Prevention

Unfortunately, infestations of bed bugs and mosquitoes are both common. Once relatively rare in America, bed bugs are now found in every U.S. state. Mosquitoes are also found in more locales than ever before, due in part to rising temperatures around the globe.

The last thing you want in your home are mosquitoes, bed bugs and other biting insects that can cause discomfort and spread disease. To get rid of bed bugs and mosquitoes quickly and effectively, bring in a trained professional with prevention services to stop bugs in their tracks. At MosquitoNix®, we offer a wide range of mosquito control services to meet the needs of your home or business. We also have pest control services that cover flies, ants, bed bugs, ticks and more.

Ready to get started? Request a free quote today. For more helpful resources about common insects and how to get rid of pests that are plaguing you, visit our MosquitoNix blog.

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