Can you imagine that weird moment when you discover you have been bitten by an insect that is unknown to you, and it is very clear that the insect is not a mosquito? I can only imagine how awful it feels to not know the particular creature that has left marks on your body. This is especially devastating because knowing what has bitten you, is halfway to getting a remedy for the bite. It may be extremely difficult for you to take urgent measures to protect yourself from infections and allergic reactions that may result from the bite when you don’t even know what has bitten you.
Bed bugs have many look-alikes and so may be easily confused with these other insects and so is their bite. If you know little about insect then you may easily confuse the bite of a bed bug for that of a flea and vice versa. If you are looking for information with regards to the bite of a bedbug, flea, or dust mite then you are in the right place. This post will furnish you with the necessary information to differentiate the bite of each one of these insects from another. Read on for more information.
What is a Bed Bug?
Bed bugs are small species of insects in the genus Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus. They feed exclusively from the blood of their host which include but are not limited to pet, humans, and birds. Bed bugs can survive for a very long time without feeding.
Appearance: bed bugs are small and an adult may measure about 5 mm long and 3 mm wide. This invariably means that they can be spotted with the naked eyes, but you may have to look really closely. Bed bugs have a flat and oval-shaped body and may be easily confused with hair lice. However, unlike lice, bedbugs do not have wings.
Habitat: Although bed bugs feed on vertebrates, they spend only a small fraction of their life on their host. The insect comes out to feed and then returns back to its dwelling which is usually not far from its host. Bed bugs may be found in the crevices of your bed, corners of your wardrobe, in your mattresses and pillows, cracks in the wall and the likes. They can only be found in a house or an area that is actively infested by bed bugs.
Bed bug bite: Bed bugs have sharp saw-like mouthparts that are designed for easy tearing of the skin. This allows them to easily cut through your skin to feed on your blood. They usually feed on the neck, shoulder and arms. Bed bug bite is usually arranged in a single row of three. While the bites are not visible on the skin of some individuals, it may be prominent on others. Bed bug bites look like mosquito bites just that the former is a little bit bigger.
It may be accompanied by redness, swelling, itching and allergic reactions caused by sensitivity to the proteins contained in bed bug saliva. The symptoms of bed bug bite may take hours or even days to manifest. Bed bugs are not known vectors but recent studies now suggest that they can transmit diseases from one host to another.
Treatment: Treatments are geared towards the symptoms of the bite. For instance, you may use over the counter creams or pill to relieve the itching, swelling and other allergic reactions. However, you should contact your doctor if symptoms do not subside after a couple of days.
What is a Dust Mite?
Dust mites are a large population of mites usually found in dusty areas. They belong to the mite family Pyroglyphidae. Unlike bed bugs that are only found in infested areas, dust mites are found in many homes. They don’t feed directly on humans and animals for blood, rather just on their skin flakes and sometimes on molds.
Appearance: Dust mites are microscopic and may not be easily spotted with the naked eyes. They have whitish to translucent bodies and usually measure about 0.3 mm and you may require up to 10x magnification to identify the species.
Habitat: Dust mites may be found in areas in the home where they can easily feed on the skin flakes you shed on a regular basis such as bed sheets, carpets, curtains, and the likes.
Dust mite bite: As strange as it may sound, dust mites do not bite and so they don’t leave markings on your skin. However, their activities, the skin they shed and their feces may cause unpleasant symptoms. The symptoms of dust mite infestation are usually severe in individuals with weak immune systems due to old age, illness, tender age, and the likes. Unlike the bite from a bed bug, the infestation of dust mites may be difficult to diagnose.
Symptoms of dust mite infestation: Dust mite infestation may trigger an asthma attack in people suffering from the condition. It may also cause allergic reactions. The symptoms of dust mite infestation may include but are not limited to red and itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, swelling in the tongue and lips, broken skin, rash, stomach ache, confusion, vomiting, and nausea.
Treatment: Just like bed bug bite, the treatment for reactions associated with dust mite infestation can be managed with medications targeted at alleviating the symptoms of a sufferer. Homemade and over the counter medications may be ideal. However, if symptoms persist, you should contact your doctor.
What is a Flea?
Fleas are species of insect that belong to the class Insecta and order Siphonaptera. They are parasites, and they feed exclusively on the blood of their host which include humans, pets, rabbits, mice, squirrels, rats, ferrets, and birds, just to name a few.
Appearance: Fleas are flightless insects with bodies that are flattened sideways. They are relatively small and can be spotted with the naked eyes. An adult flea measures about 3 mm long. They have hind legs that are adapted for jumping, which allows them to jump a distance that is up to 50 times their size. The mouthparts of fleas are also designed for tearing into the skin of their host for easy feeding.
Habitat: If you suspect that you have been bitten by a flea, then the best place to confirm your guess is on your pets. There are species of fleas known as host fleas and nest fleas. While the former lives on the host, the latter finds a comfortable nesting place close to the host for easy feeding. It is important to note that the population of host fleas may grow bigger thereby allowing you to find them all around the home.
Flea bite: Flea bite may appear just like a bed bug bite accompanied by a bump, redness, and itchiness. However, unlike bed bugs, fleas usually bite on the ankles and other lower parts of the legs. Fleas are vectors of different bacterial, viral and rickettsial diseases including murine typhus, bubonic plague, Rickettsia typhi, Bartonella henselae, Rickettsia felis, myxomatosis virus, Trypanosome protozoans, and Hymenolepiasis tapeworms.
Treatment: The treatment for flea bite is geared towards the symptoms that accompanies it such as swelling, itching, headache, and fever, just to name a few. Where there is no infection, symptoms may be treated at home with over the counter medications. You should contact a medical practitioner when the symptoms persist for a couple of days.