What Are the Differences Between Fleas & Bed Bugs?

Waking up with small red dots scattered across your skin is likely due to an infestation of fleas or bed bugs. Both of these pests can be mistaken for the other to the untrained eye, but it’s important to correctly identify which is which. Knowing the differences between fleas and bed bugs is the first step in removing them from your home.

Flea & Bed Bug Similarities

To the naked eye, both of these pests are super small, red-brown insects that can be found on your skin or roaming in areas like your bed or furniture. These pests bite your skin in order to feed on your blood (as well as your pets). The bite marks that are left behind will oftentimes become red, inflamed, and most of the time — extremely itchy. These bite marks can both become worse if they’re continually scratched, leading to more severe itchiness and possible infections.


  • Fleas are on the smaller side, measuring in anywhere from 1/12 to ⅙ inch long.
  • Flea bites are generally found on the lower parts of the body or in warm areas like in the bends of knees, elbows, and armpits.
  • Fleas are found to hitchhike into your home via a pet. Many fleas will continue to live on this pet even after entering the home with other possible hosts.
  • Burrowing fleas can cause infestations under the skin called tungiasis, which can lead to complicated skin infections.
  • Keeping your home clean by constantly vacuuming and steaming the carpets, inspecting your pets after they play outside, and putting flea collars on your pets can help prevent infestations.

Bed Bugs

  • Bed bugs are small, but bigger than fleas, measuring in at around ¼ inch long.
  • Bed bug bites are generally found on the upper parts of the body, usually on the back, arms, and neckline.
  • Bed bugs will hitch a ride into your home via secondhand furniture and luggage that was exposed to bed bugs whilst staying in an infested location (hotels, apartments, etc.).
  • Not all bed bug victims will show signs of bites. Some can go weeks without developing any sort of rash or bite mark, which makes these infestations especially dangerous.
  • Bed bugs can infest the cleanest of homes, so it doesn’t matter where you live or how much you clean. The only way to prevent an infestation is to inspect the rooms you stay in while away from home as well as your luggage and clothing upon return.

Once you know the differences between fleas and bed bugs, you’ll be able to start the pest management process. When you have a flea or bed bug infestation, contact Knockout Pest Control. To learn more or to schedule an inspection, give us a call at (800) 244-7378.

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