Bedbugs and fleas are two annoying, tiny creatures no one, absolutely no one wants to have in their home or anywhere close to them. Both bite and cause discomfort, so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.
How do you know you are dealing with a bedbug infestation or a flea infestation?
Can bedbug traps be used to catch fleas as well so you can save money on flea traps?
In this comprehensive guide, we are going to be looking at all this, plus how you can prevent an infestation of either insect.
What is the difference between bedbugs and fleas?
Fleas and bed bugs might be confusing at first, but once you can spot some key differences between them, then it will come as a breeze to distinguish them when you get confused again.
Firstly, fleas are smaller than bed bugs. It might be hard for you to see fleas with your naked eye, but you can identify a bed bug with your naked eyes. It would still be tiny though.
（Photos of bed bug)
( Photos of flea)
Another huge difference between bed bugs and fleas is that while bed bugs have a somewhat flattened body, the body of fleas is usually oval shaped if you look closely. Both are also reddish brown in appearance.
If you are not sure, just crush the insect. If it leaves a blood-like residue and smells musty, it must be bed bugs.
Another question you have to ask yourself is: does this insect jump or not?
Fleas are probably the best jumpers in the small insects’ league, so if you see insects rapidly jumping on you or your pets, then you are most likely dealing with fleas.
Flea bites vs. bed bug bites
Probably the best way to differentiate is through the bites of these insects. If you haven’t really had an encounter with any of them, you will think that the bites are in fact the same.
Both bed bug bites and flea bites can make your skin reddish either from excessive scratching or from small, itchy red dots.
When compared to bed bug bites, flea bites are usually a little smaller on human skin. While fleas would love to feast on your lower body, bed bugs would like to bite on any exposed place they can find while you are asleep.
A flea may go for damp places like inside your elbow, knees or around your armpit. On the other hand, you are likely to find bed bug bites on your arms, neck, shoulders or even your face.
Do bed bugs carry diseases?
No, bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases.
In fact, a box bug bite is harmless in most cases. Some people do not even feel bed bug bites or react to them.
However, if you scratch these bites, they might become infected and make you sick.
Other than that, a bed bug bite will just itch, unless you have a proven allergy to it. If you do, you might get an instant allergic reaction when bitten.
Fleas on the hand, are known to carry diseases such as typhus, tapeworms and heartworms if left untreated, and cat-scratch disease.
How do I know I have a bed bug infestation?
If you sight even a single bed bug in your home, there is every chance you could be dealing with common or tropical bed bugs. Why?
A single female bed bug can lay about 3 eggs each day, provided she is fertile and has had a blood meal recently. These eggs will hatch in about a week and turn into nymphs.
Like other insects, bedbug nymphs look exactly the same as adults, only that they are smaller.
The nymph will enter into a new stage every week for fine weeks, provided it can get a continuous supply of blood. After 5 weeks, it would become a full blown adult bed bug.
Signs of a bed bug infestation:
To ascertain if you are being attacked by bed bugs or not, you should check for bed bugs, their eggs or their droppings in the following places:
- Mattress piping
- Headboard and surrounding bed furniture
- Under the mattress and pillows too.
- In curtain and mattress seams
- Inside electrical appliances
- Inside holes in walls and cracks in wooden items.
- Bed spring.
- Loose wallpapers
- Couches in your living room, if they are being slept on.
If you find a lot of bed bugs or their eggs in these, it could mean you are dealing with a bed bug infestation.
Also, if you constantly see bed bug bites on your skin especially when you wake up, you should know that a bed bug is trying to take over your house.
*Are bed bug traps effective?
Yes, bed bug traps see effective. However, this depends on the type of trap you intend to use. There are basically three types of traps you can use to trap bed bugs:
- Bed bug interceptor traps,
- Pheromone traps, and
- Sticky traps.
Bed bug interceptors:
Bed bug interceptors or pitfall traps are one of the most useful gadgets for bed bug control. What are they? These are basic devices for stopping the movement of bed bugs over particular surfaces.
These interceptions use this principle: bed bugs have difficulty climbing vertical surfaces, especially those that are very smooth. The most common type of bed bug interceptors is interceptor cups, which are usually made out of plastic.
The cup interceptor is usually wide enough to accommodate one of your bedposts. Cup interceptors are not limited to beds, they can be used for stools, chairs, and just about any piece of furniture that has legs.
The cups come with canals, where bed bugs get stuck in. It’s hard for the bed bugs to get out of these canals when they get in.
Pitfall traps do not kill bed bugs, they just keep the bugs there till you dispose of them. To make it more difficult for the bed insect to escape the canal, you can add a light dusting of talcum powder to the inside of the cup.
The talcum powder doesn’t have any added advantage besides the fact that it makes it harder for bed bugs to escape.
Apart from using pitfall traps to intercept bed bugs that are coming from the bed or going towards it, these creative traps can also be used to estimate the population of bed bugs in a given room and check if applied bed bug treatments are working or not.
They can also be used to check for bedbugs from time to time, especially in commercial settings like hotels or restaurants.
Pheromone bed bug trap
These types of bed bug traps are more active than passive, meaning if you have an infestation at hand, you might want to get these instead. Bed bug pheromone traps are best used in a room where you do not usually sleep in. Why?
Because the synthetic pheromones in the trap and your natural pheromones may compete for the bed bug’s attention. If your pheromones are stronger than the traps, then the bed bug would not go to the trap but come to bite you.
Sticky traps are easier to use than the traps we mentioned before now, but they are also the least effective.
Bed bugs can easily free themselves from traps, unlike other pests because of how their bodies are built. Now, does this mean you shouldn’t use sticky traps?
No, you can still use them in conjunction with other traps.
Bear in mind they have to be kept out of the.m reach of children, pets and expensive furniture pieces as the glue can ruin them.
You can also use a DIY bed bug trap to get rid of all types of bed bugs, including the tropical bed bug. You can spray baking soda across your bed frame and on your pet beds to get rid of these annoying bugs and some other parasitic pests too.
Do bed bug traps work for fleas?
Yes, fleas will be caught in bed bug traps if they enter.
But before you start rejoicing, there are a few things you should know. A bed bug trap cannot lure fleas from their hiding places.
Remember that traps are made to catch bugs, and they are only effective if the bugs enter the trap. Some homeowners try to treat a flea infestation with bed bug traps, but it is not the best line of action.
Bed bugs and fleas must be treated differently. Another reason why it is not wise to use bed bug traps to eliminate fleas is that fleas can hop out of typical pitfall bed bug traps.
Again, many bed bug traps employ the use of bed bug specific pheromones. These pheromones do not work on fleas, so it would be a waste of time.
You might want to save on time and money if you have both a bed bug and flea problem, but it is better to get the right techniques to eliminate each insect, instead of using methods that will barely work.
Let’s see if bed bugs are effective or not.
It can be tricky to get out of bed bug infestations and flea infestations but once you can reduce the flea population or lure bed bugs and kill them with the pest control techniques mentioned above like glue traps, you will get rid of them in no time.
It is also advisable to check pet bedding for these insects, as they are known to love these places. You can kill fleas you find in these places with commercial flea traps or diatomaceous earth. You can also soak pet bedding in hot water.
In summary, bed bug traps work.