How To Tell If You Have Bed Bugs Or Fleas

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Just the mere thought of bed bugs or fleas is enough to make you itch. But what if the itching was happening in real life and you suddenly found yourself sharing your home with one of these blood-sucking pests. Would you know how to tell the difference between the two insects? Pine State Pest Solutions, a locally owned and operated pest control company serving Auburn, Portland, and communities throughout our multi-state service area, has been combating both bed bugs and fleas for more than 10 years and is ready to help you tell the difference between the two biting pests.

Do bed bugs and fleas look alike?

While both bed bugs and fleas are small, reddish-brown insects devoid of wings, they do not look alike. First, adult bed bugs are shaped like seeds and have flatter bodies; fleas are oval-shaped. Secondly, adult bed bugs are larger, measuring approximately ¼ of an inch long.  Adult fleas grow anywhere from 1/12 to 1/6 of an inch in length. Learn more about bed bugs and fleas in our pest identification center below!

Do bed bugs and fleas have similar behaviors?

While both insects are nocturnal and feed on blood, what or who they choose to feed on differs. Bed bugs prefer human hosts and latch on to people in order to take a blood meal. Fleas, on the other hand, prefer animal hosts such as dogs and cats. It should be noted, that while they each have a preferred host, they’ve been known to bite and feed on the other’s primary host. 

Where bed bugs and fleas hide

Bed bugs often hide near their food source so common hiding places include but are not limited to:

  • Mattresses & box springs
  • Bedframes
  • Seams of upholstered furniture
  • Under wall hangings 
  • Behind outlets and light switches
  • Under carpeting 
  • Areas where ceiling and wall meet
  • Inside electronics

The first place to look for fleas is on your pet(s). After that, check pet bedding, your bed if your pets share it with you, carpets, furniture, and other places where your four-legged family members hang out.  You should also check your yard for flea activity and also your dog’s house, if applicable.

Bed bug bites vs flea bites

When it comes to identifying the culprit behind a bite, you should consider the appearance of the bite and where the bite is located.   

Though they may look similar to the untrained eye, bed bug bites and flea bites vary in appearance. Bites from bed bugs typically result in raised red welts while flea bites produce small, red bumps. In some cases, you might notice a halo around the bite center. 

Location of the bite is a very helpful clue in identifying which pest is behind the bite. Whereas bed bug bites typically show up on exposed skin including the face, neck, arms, and hands, flea bites are typically found below the kneecaps. 

Why accurate identification is a must

If you’re thinking who cares what it is, I just want it out of my house- we understand completely. No one wants any kind of biting pest in their house or feeding of their family members or pets. That said, we must emphasize the importance of accurate identification. 

Improper identification leads to the wrong treatment and the wrong treatment will not resolve the infestation. In other words, what works for one won’t work for the other. Proper identification is a must IF you want to exterminate your biting pest problem.

How Pine State Pest Solutions gets rid of bed bugs

At Pine State, our go-to bed bug extermination methods include heat, conventional material, or a combination of both. When you reach out to us about bed bug control, we’ll schedule an evaluation and then based on that on-site visit, we’ll recommend a course of action that we feel will be best for your situation. 

Our solution to flea infestations

A highly trained and licensed pest management specialist will be dispatched to your home to find and eliminate fleas both inside and on your property. During this time, we highly recommend having your pet treated by your vet to prevent another infestation down the road. 

For protection against fleas AND other house-infesting pests in Maine, consider signing up for one of Pine State’s Home Protection Plans!

Home Protection Plan

Starting as low as $35/month*

local maine pest control specialist knocking down cobwebs

Pine State’s Home Protection is an affordable pest control plan that is ideal for homeowners who want general pest control services that target common house-infesting insects and rodents.

When you sign up for this ongoing service, you’ll receive an initial service visit to treat the existing pest problem and then seasonal service visits spread out over the year to ensure pests stay out. That’s a total of four services annually.

Pests covered under Pine State’s Home Protection plan include carpenter ants, cornfield ants, crazy ants, field ants, little black ants, pavement ants, carpet beetles, cigarette beetles, drugstore beetles, flour beetles, ground beetles, hide beetles, larder beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, warehouse beetles, boxelder bugs, carpenter bees, centipedes, clover mites, American cockroaches, brown-banded cockroaches, wood cockroaches, field crickets, house crickets,  European earwigs, firebrats, bald-faced hornets, European hornets,  deer mice, house mice, millipedes, Angoumois grain moths, drain moths, Indian meal moths, Mediterranean flour moths, mud daubers, Norway rats, paper wasps, pill bugs, rice weevils, silverfish, sow bugs, springtails, cellar spiders, daddy longlegs spiders, house spiders, jumping spiders, sac spiders, wolf spiders, Western conifer seed bugs, and yellow jackets.


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*Some exclusions apply- please see your agreement

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