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Fleas vs Bed Bugs

Fleas and bed bugs are two very well known pests that can cause problems in your daily life. Whether it’s bed bugs or fleas, they are both a problem. When we think of discomfort and bug bites, these two bugs come to mind the most frequently. This is probably because they’re among the more common parasites to wreak havoc on people’s homes, pets, and sometimes even bodies. But what is the difference between these two? What do you need to know about the risk of bed bugs or fleas, and how to prevent them? There are a few important pieces of information every homeowner or pet owner should know.

How Do They Get in the Home?

Controlling bed bugs or fleas is very difficult whether it’s outdoors or indoors, but once they’re inside your home, they can become a daily bother. It’s important to get them out as quickly as they find their way in. Due to both bed bugs’ and fleas’ small size, there are many methods for them to come inside. One of the main ways that bed bugs and fleas get inside peoples’ homes is through their pets. Any pets that play outside can become potential carriers for these bugs. 

Other ways are through clothing, luggage, furniture, or mattresses and box springs. Bed bugs or fleas seize these opportunities to come into homes and begin an infestation. One particular thing to look out for with these risks is used or thrifted items. Bed bugs and fleas could have existed in other environments and stuck around on old clothing or furniture. When you bring those into your home, you could also be bringing uninvited guests.

Differences: Bed Bugs or Fleas?

To prevent these bugs, it’s important to know which ones you are dealing with to treat them properly. One of the most important things you should know about identification of these parasites is that using the appearance of bites alone is not enough. Everyone responds to these bugs differently, so there’s no way to definitively say that one type of bite is bed bugs, while another is fleas, just by looking at their bites.

Preferences and Appearance

Whether it’s bed bugs or fleas, both prefer blood. Bed bugs, however, prefer human blood over animal blood, but will resort to animals if need be. Their bites are higher up on the body as well, usually appearing on the face, neck, hands, and arms. Fleas prefer animal blood over human blood, but just like bed bugs, they will go for the other if necessary. Flea bites will typically appear in darker, and sometimes damper, parts of the body. Places like armpits and joints for elbows and knees are typical flea bite locations. 

Both bugs are just large enough to be seen with the naked eye as well, and appear brown in color. Bed bugs are rounder and fleas are longer. Just knowing what they look like and seeing them can be enough to identify them, but often these critters are hidden away in the dark.

Mode of Travel

One other identifiable difference in telling whether you have bed bugs or fleas is how they move around. Bed bugs typically walk slowly around while fleas jump. They can spring a pretty decent distance, up to 18 centimeters. 

Person lifts up the back of their pink shirt to reveal a clump of 8 bug bites.Risks

For bed bugs or fleas the risks are very similar. A normal reaction for bitten animals and humans is itchy welts. Both types of bites will leave slightly red, raised bumps, sometimes spread out, sometimes clumped or in lines. They are itchy, which is annoying, and can cause discomfort, but this itchiness can lead to an escalation of your condition. If the bites are scratched too much, they can open up, making the host vulnerable to potential infections. 

Allergies are another important consideration. If you are allergic to either of these bugs, you could have symptoms like heavy breathing, colored discharge, blisters, fever, nausea, or even an irregular heartbeat. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms. 


Some ways you can prevent bed bugs or fleas are by starting with the ways they can enter into your home. Put your pets that go outdoors on prevention medications. Ask your vet about options available for a monthly prescription or flea collars. When you bring home old furniture it can be helpful to steam clean it and the heat is not good for either bug. Wash thrifted clothing on  high heat as well to ensure bed bugs or fleas are killed.

Another step you can take towards prevention is having your home inspected by a professional. If you are slightly concerned about an infestation of either bed bugs or fleas, having an inspection can give you peace of mind nothing else can.

Bed Bug Infestation?

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, call the experts at Bed Bug BBQ! We proudly provide safe and effective heat treatment for bed bug eradication in Lakewood, OH. Ready for a free local home inspection? Call today at (216)-206-6717 or visit our website

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