Bed Bugs vs. Ticks – How to Distinguish Them

Unexplained blood stains on your bedding, waking up with welts and bumps and itchy bites are all signs that you have a resident pest feeding on your blood. If you have ruled out mosquitoes, you may be dealing either with bed bugs or ticks and determining which one isn’t always obvious especially if there have been reports of both these pests in your area.

Differences between Bed Bugs and Ticks

Successful bed bug extermination largely relies on your ability to correctly identify the pest. Although both these pests are small and feed exclusively on blood, there are a number of subtle and large differences that can help you tell them apart.

Appearance

It may be hard to tell without close observation or even using a magnifying glass but there are physical differences between ticks and bed bugs. Bed bugs on average are larger than ticks, measuring about 3/8thof an inch. Both are wingless, flat and oval-shaped. Bed bugs have six legs while ticks have eight.

Feeding Habits

Bed bugs are nocturnal and feed on the host for a few minutes at a time before retreating back to their hiding place. Ticks, on the other hand, attach to the host and can stay attached for up to a few days at a time if left undisturbed.

Habitat

As the name suggests, bed bugs like to infest beds and mattresses although they will infest couches and other furniture on which humans spend extended periods of time. They thrive indoors while ticks prefer the outdoors and are more common in the underbrush, tall grass, and yards and on pets and pet beddings.

Size of Infestation

Since bed bugs thrive indoors, a big pest problem in your house is more likely attributed to bed bugs rather than ticks. You are also more likely to pick up bed bugs where humans congregate such as offices, libraries, planes, hotels, subways and so on. Ticks are often picked up in outdoor places or from pets that roam freely.

Spread Diseases

There is no scientific proof that suggests bed bugs spread diseases although a small number of people develop severe reactions to the pest’s saliva. Ticks spread diseases including Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever among others. You should consult a doctor immediately you begin to develop symptoms such as fever and joint pain after being bitten.

Other Pests Confused With Bed Bugs

There are other bloodsuckers that are often confused with bed bugs. Pest control cannot be effective without positive identification. Other common pests that are often mistaken for bed bugs include;

Carpet Beetles

Although carpet beetles do not look like bed bugs except for the shape, they do mimic bed bug bites. Carpet beetles do not bite but rather their larvae causes an allergic reaction in most humans. The larvae are covered in a hairy coat which brushes against humans. Carpet beetles also moult and the discarded larvae casings are virtually identical to those of bed bug larvae.

Mites

Mites are more common in pets and smaller animals but they will infest humans in case of a shortage of animal hosts. Mites are especially common if you are dealing with a rodent or wildlife problem. These insects are tiny and difficult to mistake for bed bugs except for their bite that appears quite similar. There is little chance that you will see a mite for positive identification owing to their small size.

Lice

Lice roughly appear similar to bed bugs especially for the brown and red colours.  Apart from head lice, pubic lice and body lice can cause bites and discomfort all over the body which is easy to mistake for bed bugs.

Hire a Professional Pest Control Company

Hire a professional and licensed exterminator in Toronto to identify pests in your house. It is easy to misidentify the culprit which makes it impossible to eliminate the pest if you are treating for the wrong one. Even with a positive identification, there is almost no chance that you will be able to exterminate bed bugs on your own. These pests are about the size of an apple seed which offers them infinite hiding places including under wallpaper, in picture frames and inside appliances. Furthermore, over-the-counter pesticides and treatments are ineffective since most household pests have developed resistance to these chemicals. A professional exterminator will positively identify the pest and take the appropriate measures to treat and eliminate the bed bugs permanently. Hire an exterminator with a good warranty for the service.

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Joe The Exterminator
Joe The Exterminator

Joe is a professional pest control exterminator with over 15 years of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge about different pests and how you can deal with them.