Monthly Archives: June 2016

What’s Biting You?

It’s summer and that means hours spent outdoors. Unfortunately this can lead to bug bites. Sometimes mosquitoes will have a feast on a host leaving several bites in the same location. But other times, those bites might be from a different pest: a bed bug. Summertime is also a busy season for these tiny, yet ungracious houseguests. Summer vacations increase the chances of exposure to bed bugs, and it is possible that you can unknowingly bring them home from a trip. How can you tell the difference between a mosquito bite and a bed bug bite?

Location

A significant difference between bed bug bites and mosquito bites is the location of the bite. Mosquitoes cannot crawl under clothing but bed bugs can. If you have a bite in a location that was covered, you can rule out mosquitoes. While mosquitoes can bite a host multiple times, the bites are not in an even pattern. Bed bugs tend to bite along the line where your body comes into contact with your mattress. If you find bites in a line, check your mattress for bed bugs and their debris.

Appearance and Reaction

When a mosquito bites its host, it anesthetizes their skin, so they are unaware they are being bitten. However, once the mosquito leaves, the skin’s reaction is instant. A welt will appear immediately with odd borders followed by itching. Bed bugs also anesthetize their host, but their bites are small, red and don’t form a welt. The reaction time for a bed bug bite is typically longer than that of a mosquito – it can take minutes, hours or even days to have a reaction.

Mosquito Bites Bed Bug Bites
Bites are random and isolated Bites are aligned in a row
Bites resolve within days Bites resolve after a long period of time
Mosquitoes can pass diseases such as West Nile, Zika and more when they bite. Bed bugs cannot pass disease when they bite.
The human body reacts immediately to a mosquito bite. It takes longer time to react to a bed bug bite.
Mosquitoes cannot bite through clothing. Bed bugs can crawl under clothing and bite a host.

The best way to avoid a mosquito bite when outdoors is to apply mosquito repellant with DEET in it. There is not a bed bug repellant. If you travel, be sure to check mattresses (under the sheets and around the seams) for evidence of bugs and their debris.