Is That A Mosquito Bite Or A Bed Bug Bite?

9/28/2016


Woman scratching a bug bite

Did you ever notice how many bug bites look alike? They may appear as raised red bumps on your arms and legs, or you may find them in especially uncomfortable places like on your ankles, behind your ears or on your stomach. No matter where you have them, bug bites can be itchy and uncomfortable; and since so many bites seem similar, how can you tell what’s been biting you? 

Two insect bites that you may be getting include mosquito bites and bed bug bites. Here are a few tips to tell the difference and a few prevention tips to avoid biting insects this summer. 

Mosquitoes are flying insects that range between ¼ of an inch and 3/8 of an inch long. The female mosquito is the biter, as she needs your blood to help nourish her eggs. She’ll use her specialized mouthparts to pierce your skin and inject a blood anti-coagulant that allows her to draw up your blood more easily. The reaction your body has to this anti-coagulant is what causes your body’s reaction to this bite. Their bites are usually delivered while you are spending time outdoors, especially near areas of vegetation or standing water.  A mosquito bite typically results in a red and itchy welt that can sometimes become swollen and the surrounding area can feel warm to the touch. Mosquitoes are known to carry and spread many different diseases, including the potentially life threatening West Nile virus and the relative newcomer, Zika virus, that can cause microcephaly in babies in any stage of pregnancy. Click here for more information on Zika cases reported in Kansas and throughout the U.S.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on your blood while you sleep. They are small, about the size of an apple seed (around 3/16 of an inch) and they do not fly. Both male and female bed bugs will feed on your blood. They feed similarly to mosquitoes, in that they use their specialized mouthparts to pierce your skin, inject their anti-coagulant into your system and then draw up your blood. You can get these bites inside homes or businesses; anywhere that people regularly frequent. Bed bug bites look a lot like mosquito bites, but you’ll see they are usually in groups of three or more and you often notice them upon waking.  The bites result in itchy red welts on some people and have no effect on others. Bed bugs are currently not known to transmit any diseases but they can cause stress and anxiety for anyone that has an infestation of them. Because they spread easily, it can be difficult to get rid of bed bugs.  

If you think you have mosquito bites, here are some prevention tips to help limit the mosquito populations around your home and prevent their itchy bites. 

  1. Eliminate areas where mosquitoes breed. These include areas of standing water, like children’s pools, anything on your property that can collect rainwater and clogged ditches and gutters.

  2. Keep grass and weeds cut short; mosquitoes will spend time in tall grasses if given the opportunity.

  3. Use DEET, Picardin or other effective insect repellent on clothing or skin when spending time outdoors.

  4. Keep your skin covered up while outdoors.

  5. Avoid spending time outside during peak mosquito activity times, which include dawn and dusk. 

If you suspect your bites may be from bed bugs, here places you should look out for bed bugs, as well as signs of bed bug activity inside your home. 

  1. Bed bugs can be found around beds, but in others places as well, including inside upholstered furniture, inside bedside tables, along the seams of curtains and carpets, behind electrical outlets on the walls or behind hanging picture frames.

  2. Signs of bed bugs can include dark brown/reddish blood spots on bed linens, mattresses, head boards, box springs or furniture.

  3. Cast bed bug skins clustered near areas where bed bugs hide can be signs of these insects.

  4. Bed bugs can be picked up in hotel rooms, on public transportation and even in movie theaters. If you’ve been to any public areas recently, you could have picked these insects up there and brought them home with you. 

These tips should help you determine whether you simply have bites from mosquitoes or if you could possibly have bed bug bites. Contacting the pest control professionals at Schendel Pest Services for either problem is a good course of action. We offer mosquito control services that are designed to help limit the number of mosquitoes you have on your property, and our bed bug treatments are available in Topeka, Kansas City and  throughout our large service area. These are not pests you want to try to get rid of on your own.  You shouldn’t have to spend your summer itching; if you think you may have an infestation of either of these pests on your property or just want an inspection done by a professional to help determine what you’re having a problem with, contact the biting insect control pros at Schendel today

This post was originally published July 23, 2013.  It has been updated to reflect the most relevant information on bed bugs and mosquitoes.




 

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