How Are Bed Bug Bites Different From Mosquito Bites

5 ways to tell the difference between a bed bug or mosquito bite

Mosquito bites and bed bug bites have a lot of traits in common.

What makes it even more challenging to identify the two, is that not everyone has the same reaction (or reacts at all) to bed bug bites. (In fact, some people don’t even know what a bed bug bite looks like.) The bites might look like red welts on one person, rashes on another, and raised blisters on the next person. Due to the wide range of reactions, it’s not visually easy to determine if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug.

But nevertheless, you can use some context clues to decipher which insect is your culprit.

Here are five signs to look out for that will help you determine if you’re dealing with bed bugs or mosquitoes.

Bed bug bites occur in clusters.

One of the best ways to tell the difference between mosquito and bed bug bites is to look at where the bites are occurring on your body.

Mosquito bites usually occur one their own in random and isolated spots. Bed bug bites, on the other hand, pop up in clusters. The pattern of bed bug bites often appear as a line or zigzag, aligning with the edge of a sheet or mattress , according to the pest control company Terminix.

Mosquito bites don’t last as long.

As much as you might despise mosquito bites, the great thing to remember is that they will disappear soon enough if you leave them alone. The unsightly red bumps and itching sensation that come along with the bites can only last so long.

Compared to bed bug bites, mosquito bites typically subside and heal much faster , according to the pest control company Orkin.

Mosquito bites become itchy quicker.

If you’ve gotten even just one mosquito bite in your life, you know that they start itching almost immediately. Often, you’ll even feel an itching sensation before the red bump pops up.

When it comes to bed bug bite, however, you’ll typically see the bump or rash from the bite before it begins to itch, according to the blog

The American Academy of Dermatology says that some people develop itchy welts within a few days of their first bites, but it can take up to 14 days for others to feel the areas itch .

Bed bugs may leave a surprise on your bed sheets.

One tell-tale sign that you’ve been bitten by a bed bug is when you find dark red or black stains on your bed sheets. If you discover stains and bite marks on your body, it’s a good indication you’re dealing with bed bugs and not mosquitoes, according to the blog

Disclaimer: Put down your lunch if you’re eating while reading this.

The dark black or red stains found on the sheets are actually digested blood. After bedbugs feast on their host (i.e. you), they may excrete some of the digested blood onto the sheets. Gross, yes. But the upside is that the stains offer you an easy way for you to tell what kind of bug you’re dealing with.

Bed bug bites may be accompanied by a rash.

Visually, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish between bed bug bites from mosquito bites – especially since everyone reacts to bed bug bites differently. Nonetheless, one difference you might find is that some bed bug bites are accompanied by rashes.

Depending on how allergic you are to the anticoagulant bed bugs inject into your skin, you may see a rash around the bite sites.

Experts recommend that if your skin does develop a rash, you should avoid scratching the affected area and contact a medical professional before it becomes infected.

Difference between Bed Bug Bites and Mosquito Bites

Sometimes you wake up and start scratching from an insect bite and you can’t figure out what insect the bite came from. It is important that you find out as soon as possible so that you can take the best course of action, such as visiting a doctor if necessary or calling pest control professionals to handle the insects. Among the most common types are mosquito bites and bed bug bites.


Bed bug bitesoften look similar to mosquito bites. Bed bug bites are lumps that appear on the skin due to bed bugs that tend to align themselves with where your body comes into contact with the mattress or the edge of a bed sheet. This means that the bites will mostly appear as a line or row on your skin.

Mosquito bite

Mosquito bitesare random and isolated lumps on the skin caused by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito, mostly on exposed skin.

Comparison Chart

Bed Bug bitesMosquito bites
Can crawl under clothes and bite the skin that is covered by clothesCan’t bite through clothes
Bites are often aligned as a line or rowBites are often random and isolated
Take time to show and feel itchyInstantly itchy and visible
Self-resolve after a relatively long period of timeSelf-resolve faster than bed bug bites
Cannot transmit diseasesCan transmit diseases such as malaria

Bed Bug Bites vs Mosquito Bites

What is the difference between bed bug bites and mosquito bites? Since they are similar, secondary evidence, such as location and reaction time, is required to distinguish a mosquito bite from a bed bug bite.

  • Mosquito bites tend to be random and isolated on the skin and mostly affect the exposed parts of the body such as the arms, legs and head. Since bed bugs can crawl under clothes, their bites can be found all over the body and often appear in clusters of three or more. Bed bug bites are sometimes aligned as if in a line or row due to the bugs biting the skin where it comes into contact with bedding.
  • When a mosquito bites, it takes a few minutes for its bite to show and feel itchy. A raised and oddly shaped welt with red boundaries forms on the skin. Within a day, the welt turns into a red bump. Mosquito bites disappear faster compared to bed bug bites. Conversely, bed bug bites may take several minutes or hours to show. At first, a flat and red welt is formed that doesn’t itch. With time, the welt turns into an itchy bump.

Bed Bug Bite Vs. Mosquito Bite

In addition to skin reactions to bites, the primary ways to differentiate bed bug bites and mosquito bites include the differences in bite location on the body, the pattern of bites on the body and the estimated time when a bite occurred.


Mosquito Bites:Usually appears as puffy white and reddish bumps that begin a few minutes after the bite and become a reddish-brown bump a day or so after the bite. In some instances a host may have small blisters and dark spots that look like bruises in extreme cases.

Bed Bug Bites:Symptoms are variable and may result in no visible symptoms at first. However, symptoms of reddish bumps on skin, inflammation and red blotches that can become areas of raised, itchy bumps that eventually cause a burning sensation.


Sensitivity to Bites:

  • Mosquito Bites:Generally, sensitivity to mosquito bites tends to decrease as the number of times someone is bitten increases. This may partially explain why children are usually more sensitive to mosquito bites than adults.
  • Bed Bug Bites:Generally, the opposite relationship to number of bites and sensitivity occurs with bed bug bites. Often someone who is bitten by a bed bug doesn’t even realize the bug has fed, but as the number times they are bitten increases, the sensitivity to those bites also increases.
  • Mosquito Bite Symptoms:Moderately painful, very irritating, itchy and leave round, red or pink mark on the skin. Mosquito bites may occur anytime during the day, at dusk or at night.
  • Bed Bug Bite Symptoms:Usually are generally unnoticed and can be almost painless at the time of the bite. In fact, much of the time a person does not even realize they were bitten unless they notice the bite welts.
  • Time to Heal:Mosquito bites usually clear up and “heal” much quicker than bed bug bites, which may persist for a few days or even longer.
  • Mosquito bites are generally distributed in a random manner over parts of the body that are not protected by clothing (legs, face, back neck, etc.).
  • Bed bug bites are more clustered and often occur in a distinct bite pattern that can be described as being multiple and arranged in a linear or circular fashion. Common locations include the neck, face, back, chest, arms, legs and around the crotch.
  • In many instances a bed bug is unable to digest all of the blood meal it takes from a host, so it may actually excrete a portion of that blood meal onto the sheets the host is sleeping on. Therefore, if you see small, round bloodstains on your sheets, chances are good that a bed bug feed on you during the night.
  • Hosts for both mosquitoes and bed bugs vary in attractiveness to the insects, which points out that both of these insects may bite one person and almost completely ignore someone else who is nearby. This behavior is very important to recognize since bed bugs are known to bite one person who is asleep and not bite another person who is asleep nearby.


  • Mosquitoes develop by complete metamorphosis, which means they go through four stages in their developmental cycle that is entirely different – egg, larvae, pupae and adults. Only the female mosquito adult bites and feeds on blood.

  • Bed bugs develop by incomplete metamorphosis, which means they go through only three life stages – egg, nymphs and adults – and both the male and female nymphs and adults feed on blood.

    • Mosquitoes are known transmitters of many diseases that affect people or animals.
    • Bed bugs are not proven transmitters of any known diseases to people or animals.
    • If someone continues to scratch either mosquito or bed bug bites and does not keep the bite clean and medicated, there is a risk of a secondary infection.


    Should either mosquitoes or bed bugs become a pest issue, the best course of action is to contact your pest management professional. It is important to request an inspection, plus an integrated management plan that includes science-based information, recommendations, products and methods to be used.

    Is That A Mosquito Bite Or A Bed Bug Bite?

    Is That A Mosquito Bite Or A Bed Bug Bite?

    Mosquitoes are flying insects that range between ¼ of an inch and 3/8 of an inch long. The female mosquito is the biter, as she needs your blood to help nourish her eggs. She’ll use her specialized mouthparts to pierce your skin and inject a blood anti-coagulant that allows her to draw up your blood more easily. The reaction your body has to this anti-coagulant is what causes your body’s reaction to this bite. Their bites are usually delivered while you are spending time outdoors, especially near areas of vegetation or standing water. Amosquito bitetypically results in a red and itchy welt that can sometimes become swollen and the surrounding area can feel warm to the touch. Mosquitoes are known to carry and spread many different diseases, including the potentially life threatening West Nile virus and the relative newcomer, Zika virus, that can cause microcephaly in babies in any stage of pregnancy. Click here for more information on Zika cases reported in Kansas and throughout the U.S.

    Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on your blood while you sleep. They are small, about the size of an apple seed (around 3/16 of an inch) and they do not fly. Both male and female bed bugs will feed on your blood. They feed similarly to mosquitoes, in that they use their specialized mouthparts to pierce your skin, inject their anti-coagulant into your system and then draw up your blood. You can get these bites inside homes or businesses; anywhere that people regularly frequent. Bed bug bites look a lot like mosquito bites, but you’ll see they are usually in groups of three or more and you often notice them upon waking. The bites result in itchy red welts on some people and have no effect on others. Bed bugs are currently not known to transmit any diseases but they can cause stress and anxiety for anyone that has an infestation of them. Because they spread easily, it can be difficult to get rid of bed bugs.

    If you think you have mosquito bites, here are some prevention tips to help limit the mosquito populations around your home and prevent their itchy bites.

    1. Eliminate areas where mosquitoes breed. These include areas of standing water, like children’s pools, anything on your property that can collect rainwater and clogged ditches and gutters.
    2. Keep grass and weeds cut short; mosquitoes will spend time in tall grasses if given the opportunity.
    3. Use DEET, Picardin or other effective insect repellent on clothing or skin when spending time outdoors.
    4. Keep your skin covered up while outdoors.
    5. Avoid spending time outside during peak mosquito activity times, which include dawn and dusk.

    If you suspect your bites may be from bed bugs, here places you should look out for bed bugs, as well as signs of bed bug activity inside your home.

    1. Bed bugs can be found around beds, but in others places as well, including inside upholstered furniture, inside bedside tables, along the seams of curtains and carpets, behind electrical outlets on the walls or behind hanging picture frames.
    2. Signs of bed bugscan include dark brown/reddish blood spots on bed linens, mattresses, head boards, box springs or furniture.
    3. Cast bed bug skins clustered near areas where bed bugs hide can be signs of these insects.
    4. Bed bugs can be picked up in hotel rooms, on public transportation and even in movie theaters. If you’ve been to any public areas recently, you could have picked these insects up there and brought them home with you.

    These tips should help you determine whether you simply have bites from mosquitoes or if you could possibly have bed bug bites. Contacting the pest control professionals at Schendel Pest Services for either problem is a good course of action. We offer mosquito control services that are designed to help limit the number of mosquitoes you have on your property, and our bed bug treatments are available in Topeka, Kansas City and throughout our large service area. These are not pests you want to try to get rid of on your own. You shouldn’t have to spend your summer itching; if you think you may have an infestation of either of these pests on your property or just want an inspection done by a professional to help determine what you’re having a problem with, contact the biting insect control pros at Schendel today!

    This post was originally published July 23, 2013. It has been updated to reflect the most relevant information on bed bugs and mosquitoes.

    About Schendel Pest Services

    When you choose Schendel to protect your home and your family, you can count on our team to implement a home pest control program that eliminates existing pest activity and prevents pests from re-infesting. We treat houses following a carefully developed and proven seven step process – The Premium Care Program.

    We are proud to serve Midwest cities & towns including:

    Fill out the form below or visit our Contact Us page to get started on your FREE quote!


    What’re the differences between bed bug bites vs mosquito bites? We wake up in the morning and find rashes, red swellings or streaks and get torn to whether it was a mosquito or bedbug that bit us.

    It is difficult to tell the similarities and differences between bed bug bites vs mosquito bites – unless you have actually seen the parasite itself.

    Both bites will appear as small raised lumps, itchy and won’t bust. Bedbugs bits, however, will take longer to heal compared to mosquito bites. Related: what caused bed bugs?

    Similarities: Bed Bug Bites Vs Mosquito Bites – Differences?

    1. Appearance

    Both appear as red, raised lumps. Both can range in color from light pink to a brownish look. Both bites are also slightly raised from your skin. In addition, both are smooth when you touch them and appear swollen.

    When left untreated, the bitten area might attract germs and infections that can be harmful to our health. Below is how you can treat them.

    There are certain things which you can do while you are bitten by a mosquito or a bed bug. They are not too dangerous but to avoid having severe symptoms, try to cure it before it’s out of hand. Related: steamers for bed bugs.

    2. Itchiness

    Both bites are itchy because their saliva contains chemicals. Your skin will itch upon a bite from either of them because they contain two different chemicals: Anticoagulant and Anesthetics.

    Anticoagulant stops blood from clotting. This allows them (bedbug and mosquitoes) to suck up blood for several minutes before the wound closes up.

    Anesthetic chemical leaves a numb feeling which prevents the bite from itching at first, this ensures you don’t notice them feasting you, well, at least for seconds.

    3. Swelling

    Both bites will appear swollen, can’t be squeezed and popped. The bitten area will swell as a response mechanism from your body to enable more blood reach it.

    More blood ensures sufficient white blood cells that can help fight the threat of infections. More blood concentration in the bit area will see it swell, but it can’t be squeezed nor popped. Related: Top Mosquito Killers

    Differences: Bed Bug Bites Vs Mosquito Bites

    1. Size

    Bedbug bite:About 4-5mm long and 1.5mm wide

    Mosquito Bite:Size depends on the length of time the mosquito’s labium remained stuck in your skin.

    The size of a bedbug bite is relatively bigger compared to mosquito bite, whose size depends on the length of time its labium remained stuck in your skin. The longer the time, the larger the bite.

    2. Reaction

    Mosquito Bite:Bite turns red immediately, a rash appears.Bedbug Bite:Reaction depends on individual, might take place between first 20 minutes to days after.

    Our bodies will detect a mosquito bite instantly and a rash will appear right after the bite.In some extreme cases, your body can form blisters in reaction to the mosquito bite.

    For bedbugs however, the reaction will depend on your body. It could be after 20 minutes or even days. Some of us won’t react to it at all. Related: Bed Bugs Sprays

    3. Length of Before Bite disappears.

    Mosquito Bite:Clears up faster, 3-4 days.

    Bedbug Bite:Takes longer to clear up, 1-3 weeks.

    Mosquito bites will disappear faster, usually after a maximum of 4 days depending on how your body reacted. Over that length of time, the bite will gradually lose its swelling and smoother into its normal color.

    For bedbug bites, however,it will take up to 3 weeks at most to clear up. Those of us with a strong reaction to it will see the bite take a longer period to clear up.

    4. How they feast

    Bedbug Bite:appears on parts of the body close to the mattress.

    Mosquito Bite:appears anywhere that was exposed.

    As you sleep, part of body that gets in conduct with the mattress is the one bedbugs will bite. Contrary to that, mosquito bites appear anywhere that was exposed.

    These areas are more likely to be your legs and arms given they easily get exposed. Check Out: Mosquito Repellent for Yard

    5. Transmission of Diseases

    Mosquito bites:transmits Malaria.

    Bedbug bite:don’t transmit diseases, they however contain pathogens that can be harmful.

    Mosquito bites spread several viruses like malaria, zika virus, and yellow fever among others. For bedbugs, they don’t carry any disease, however the wound when left untreated can lead to entry of germs in our bodies.

    6. Who They Bite.

    Mosquitoes not only bite humans but also many other animals like birds. Mosquitoes are categorized into different species and each have their preferences on what to feast on. Some prefer humans over other animals.

    Contrary to that, bedbugs have a specific diet: human blood. Although in some cases bedbugs do feed from other animals, they stick to humans for most part of their lives.

    They preference to human blood has been attributed to the convenience of the host, given they cannot fly nor jump. In addition, the human skin has an easier surface to bite through compared to that of furrier animals.

    Where are you likely to get Mosquitoes and Bedbugs?

    Both bedbugs and mosquitoes are scattered across the country depending on the nature of the location.

    Bedbugs are most common in populated settlements like cities and suburbs. The higher the population, the more the bedbugs. Close proximity of households enables easier movement of bedbugs from one house to another.

    Mosquitoes on the other hand, require standing water like ponds and pools to breed. You are therefore more likely to experience mosquito problems if you live near a lake, ocean, or neighborhood with un-maintained swimming pool.

    How to Treat the Bites Naturally

    1. Mosquito Bite Treatment

    – Apply honey as it is a natural antibiotic. This will help clean the germs and viruses.

    – Use a menthol flavor toothpaste over the bitten area to get rid of the itch.

    – Rub the fleshy side of a banana peel on the wound, it will fade the itch and Rub ice over the bitten area.

    – Other things that can help with the wound include vapor rub,aloe Vera oil and natural oils.

    2. Bedbug Bite Treatment

    -Wash the bitten area with soapy water to prevent any chances of infection. This will also reduce the itchiness.

    -Apply a corticosteroid cream to the bitten area. The cream is available at any of your nearest chemist. -If any of this doesn’t work, seek medical assistance immediately.

    Add Comments: