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Bed Bug or Flea Bites

by L Jon Warren
(Chicago, Il)

Picture of Flea Bites on Leg

Picture of Flea Bites on Leg

For the first time in my 67 year life I have bed bugs. I have used good pesticides and installed matress and box spring covers and eliminated 99% of them from the bed; but the nymphs are in my carpet biteing me. These bites seem like flea bites on my ankles or do I have fleas too?

Editor Response, Bed Bug Bites on Ankles


I hate to say it, but if the bites are limited to just the ankles, then the problem is more likely to be fleas than bed bugs. Bed bugs will bite any exposed area during sleep (they rarely bite areas covered by clothes or the bottoms of the feet). Fleas are on the ground or in carpet and jump up onto the ankles to bite.

If you have a specimen, you can bring it to a local cooperative extension or to a local university entomologist for identification. I included a picture on this page of flea bites.

The other difference between bed bug and flea bites is that bed bug bites have a clear center. That said, since any insect bite reaction is actually an allergic reaction, bites will vary from person to person.

The good news is that removing fleas from a carpet is as simple as using a product such as Flea Busters RX. Best of luck with the problem.

- Jeff

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