Bed Bugs Or Fleas – How To Tell Which You Have

Oh no! You’ve woken up to itchy bites on your skin and a horrible feeling there may be pests lurking nearby. The next question is, is it bed bugs or fleas?

The key to telling the difference is to know the fleas in bed signs. This will determine if there’s fleas in the bedroom, and if you’ve suffered a bed bug or flea bite.


Bed bugs or fleas – what’s the difference?

The bites of the bed bug and flea do look incredibly similar. But luckily, there are ways to tell them apart. Here we’re going to be uncovering the difference to tell if it’s bed bugs or fleas that you’re dealing with.

Bed Bug Anatomy

Another question you might ask after seeing a bug in your home is do bed bugs jump like fleas. We’re going to show you all of the differences between bed bugs and fleas so you know how to distinguish what type of infestation you have.

Whether you’re dealing with bed bugs or fleas, you want to get them out of your home as soon as possible. They will drive you crazy with their biting, which itch like no tomorrow! It’s important to find out which pest it is your dealing with, although whichever it turns out to be, you will still need a pest control treatment. Depending on whether it’s bed bugs or fleas you have, the treatment will be different.

flea anatomy

Fleas and bed bugs have one major thing in common – they both need a warm blooded host to feed on for their meals. However, the difference here is that fleas will opt for hairy or furry mammals, like our pet cats and dogs. Bed bugs would much prefer to infest your bedroom and feed off you in your sleep.


Habits and how they spread

So if you have a flea or bed bug infestation in your home, they will have got into your home in two different ways. If you have pets, a flea infestation is very much a possibility. Fleas jump onto an animals fur, and are transported wherever that animal goes.


london cat with fleas


Bed bugs on the other hand are generally spread by people. Those who travel a lot are a lot more likely to get a bed bug infestation in their home that they bring back in their luggage.


suitcase carrying bed bugs


Another difference between bed bugs and fleas is how long they live. An adult flea needs to feed a lot to stay alive, and will only live for about 2 weeks if they don’t have a host to feed off. A bed bug however can survive up to a year between meals, and don’t need to feed on anyone to still lurk in our homes.

Fleas breed incredibly quickly, and lay around 150 to 300 eggs every week. That means one flea can turn into a full blown infestation that gets out of hand very quickly. On the other hand, bed bugs only lay 200 eggs in their lifetime (they take anywhere from 10 months to a year if they aren’t killed in other ways). However bed bugs are a lot more difficult to eradicate.

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs cannot fly and do not jump. To move around, they simply crawl across your bed. Fleas jump to heights of almost 200 times their body length. This is how they transfer from host to host and how they get into your home.


The characteristics of bed bugs versus fleas

If you’ve managed to catch one of these pests in your home, it’s time to tell them apart. Stick one of the pests on a clear piece of tape to stop them from running away. It’s also a great thing to do to show to your pest control expert. Here’s how you can tell if you’ve got bed bugs or fleas on your hands:

bed bug image



  • Bed bugs are flat, whereas fleas are more of an oval shape that is skinnier and longer.
  • Fleas are smaller than bed bugs, normally around 2mm whereas bed bugs are 3.5mm.
  • Bed bugs only come out at night, and are most likely spotted around your bed, your bed frame, along your skirting boards and hiding in cracks and crevices.
  • Fleas are nocturnal as well, but you’re more likely to find them in your pets fur or infesting your carpets and upholstery.
  • Flea bites come in clusters and look very much like a mosquito bite.
  • Bed bugs are raised, flat red welts and often appear in a straight row or line, although sometimes it may just be one. They will not appear in a cluster like flea bites.
flea image



Now that you’ve been able to determine whether you have flea infestation or bed bugs, you need to find the solution to your problem. The only solution to these types of pests is to kill them. And for that to be truly effective, you need to call in a professional pest controller at the first sign of any sort of infestation.