Is It Fleas or Bed Bugs?

Both small in size, fleas and bed bugs are known for biting warm-blooded hosts such as animals and humans to feed on their blood. Fleas and bed bugs feed for the very same reason – to help them grow and reproduce. Because of their similar appearance and feeding habits, many people ask pest control professionals, "do I have fleas or bed bugs?"

Keep reading to find out what the differences are between these two pests and how to know if you have bed bugs or fleas.

Do I Have Fleas or Bed Bugs?

If You Have Fleas

One way to know if you have bed bugs or fleas is by the pest’s appearance. If the insect has the following characteristics, you likely have fleas and not bed bugs.

  • A laterally compressed body when viewed from above.
  • Six long legs that are well-adapted for jumping.
  • No bigger than 1/8” long
  • Brown-black in coloration
  • May have a reddish hue if they recently have fed

To prevent fleas, regularly vacuum and clean your home, especially if you have pets. Pet owners should consider using flea and tick preventative measures to help their animal friends from becoming hosts and inadvertently bringing fleas and ticks inside the home.


If You Have Bed Bugs

To determine whether you have bed bugs or fleas, also consider the characteristics of bed bugs, including:

  • Approximately 3/16” long
  • Antennae
  • Six legs
  • Flat bodies when unfed
  • Broad, oval, swollen, elongated, reddish-brown bodies after feeding.

Bed bugs can also have a different appearance depending on their life stage. These pests are notorious for their hitchhiking abilities, transporting themselves on bags, luggage, clothing and other items from location to location.

Avoiding a run in with bed bugs can also be tricky. When traveling, don’t just take your belongings into a room and unpack. Before bringing your luggage inside your hotel room, do a thorough sweep for signs of bed bugs.

This includes checking under sheets and carefully inspecting your mattress and boxspring, in between the cushions of couches or chairs, and behind the bed headboard. When returning home, check your luggage outdoors for signs of the pest and wash any clothing, including what wasn’t worn, in hot water. Vacuum suitcase liners outside before storing luggage away.

Bed Bug

Bed Bug Bites vs. Flea Bites

Even the bites from bed bugs and fleas can be similar. Both pests like to bite in a straight line, cluster or zig zag pattern, and their bites are both small and red. One noticeable difference between the bites from these two pests is that bed bug bites are typically not felt!

Contact Pest Control If You Have Bed Bugs or Fleas

So, is it fleas or bed bugs? If you think you may have either inside your home, give a pest control professional a call as soon as you see signs of trouble.

Whether you have bed bugs or fleas, both are difficult to eradicate, as they can be hard to find and can reproduce quickly, making it crucial to work with an expert. A professional will come out to inspect the property and identify the problem. They’ll also give you some advice for ways you can prepare for a successful treatment to get rid of these biting pests for good.

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