The Difference between Mosquito and Bed Bug Bites

The Difference between Mosquito and Bed Bug Bites

Many mistake bed bug bites to various insect bites. When comparing mosquito bites to bed bug bites it is important to tell the difference. Most people assume that the bites are the same as these insects both feed on blood. However, there are specific signs that make the two different from each other.

One of the similarities is that both insects enjoy blood meals and will release an anticoagulant. This is a numbing agent on the skin that does not let you feel pain while they’re feeding on you. However, this painkiller lasts longer with a bed bug bite. This results in not feeling the bed bugs while they are biting during prolonged feeding.

Another reason why you should know the difference between the two is that bed bugs only feed on blood while mosquitoes do the same, but they also transmit a variety of dangerous diseases.

The Difference in their Life Cycle

 The two insects have different life cycles. While mosquitoes go through a complete metamorphosis, bed bugs go through an incomplete metamorphosis.

With mosquitoes, the lifecycle starts from an egg, larvae and pupae before developing into an adult. Female mosquitoes are the only ones that bite and feed on blood. On the other hand, bed bugs only go through three stages which are: eggs, nymphs then adults. With bed bugs, both female and male nymphs, as well as adults, feed on blood.

The General Symptoms of Mosquito and Bed Bug Bites

There are distinct differences between mosquito and bed bug bites. Though the two insects don’t look alike, their bites do, which makes it difficult to tell them apart.


Bed Bug Bites

Mosquito Bites

Appearance on skin

Big red welts that may appear as a group of bites. It looks like a pattern.

Isolated large, white welts and never in groups. Scratching will make the bitten part red.

How long each bite lasts

Without scratching, it takes about a week before going away. You can treat it with a prescription cream or apply aloe vera.

Without scratching for a week, the bite marks should be gone. A cream for insect bites can relieve and aid in the itching and healing.

When the bite marks will start to appear

About 24 hours to a couple of days.

During and right after the bite. You can also see the bite mark once it flies away.


They bite on exposed skin. These insects don’t go under or bite through clothes.

They can bite you anywhere. Whether it is exposed skin or through thin clothing, they will bite you for a blood meal.

Who may develop bite reactions

People develop different reactions from bed bug bites. While others simply develop red patches, some develop blisters. It depends on how every person reacts to the organism.

Everyone will develop a reaction after a mosquito bite.

Possible health threats

One may develop a secondary infection due to scratching, as well as psychological issues due to reduced sleep. However, bed bugs do not transmit any disease.

Mosquitoes are known to transmit a wide range of highly dangerous diseases.


Treatments for Bed Bug Bites and Mosquito Bites

Bites from both insects can be treated easily. Aside from good hygiene, OTC topical creams work like magic. However, specific treatments depend on the symptoms associated with the bite you are experiencing.

What to Do Once You Have Been Bitten

Once you notice the bite, it is best to clean the affected area. Simply washing it with soap and water can help prevent secondary infections from developing. Applying some moisturizer after every wash can also relieve itching and pain. Dry skin may result in more itching, so it is best that you moisturize the area.

Home Remedies for Mosquito Bites

The following are some of the best and most effective home remedies that you can use for mosquito bites:

  • Aloe Vera

Whether straight from the plant or a commercial product, aloe vera can help in relieving bite marks. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular remedy for minor wounds as well as bite marks.

  • Hydrocortisone Creams

These creams are perhaps the most effective solution for relieving mosquito bites.

  • Bug Bite Topical Ointments

Ointments with benzocaine and lidocaine as the main ingredients are highly recommended in relieving itching as well as pain associated with the bites.

  • Chamomile or Chamomile Tea Bags

Recommended for its soothing properties, you can use chamomile for mosquito bites. A used and cold chamomile tea bag can relieve the pain and itching on the bitten area and can stop inflammation.

Home Remedies for Bed Bug Bites

The following are some home remedies to try for bed bug bites:

  • Antihistamine Medications

This may come in tablets or creams and can help in relieving the itch due to the bites. Ask your doctor for advice on whether you should use tablets or creams.

  • Applying An Ice Pack
For temporary relief of itching, apply an ice pack over the affected area.
  • Corticosteroid Creams or Tablets

Similar to mosquito bites, you can use this as a treatment for your bites.

To prevent bed bugs from continuously choosing you as their host, make sure that you use detection, monitoring and trapping equipment. For worse cases, use pest exterminators to get rid of these pests.

Treatment for a Bite Infection

Scratching can cause an infection over the bitten marks as you are letting bacteria in as you break the skin further. Stop scratching and apply a topical antibiotic if an infection develops.

Cover the affected area thinly, then apply a bandage to keep the medication in place. There are also antibacterial sprays that will relieve the pain and will not leave a greasy trace after application.

A Few Other Insect Bites To Consider

Aside from mosquito bites, you can mistake bed bugs as bite marks from other insects such as spiders, ticks and lice. Each one is associated with different symptoms such as pain, swelling, red bumps and itchy spots.

Other insects that may cause bite marks are fire ants, fleas and mites. Unlike the insects mentioned above, these may leave burning itchy bumps, swelling, development of hard white pustule, blisters and open sores.

Kissing bugs, also called assassin bugs, look like bed bugs and their bites are similar. However, these carry the T. Cruzi parasite that is found on their feces. This parasite causes Chagas, a deadly disease for humans. Fortunately, bed bugs don’t carry the same parasite. Kissing bugs are only common in South and Central America and tend to bite around a person’s mouth while they are sleeping.


Bed bugs and mosquitoes provide the same level of inconvenience as they are efficient when looking for a host they can feed on. Though their methods are different, both are hard to detect and may cause problems when identifying which insect you are dealing with.

Regardless of what has bitten you, it is necessary that you determine and get rid of the insects that are causing these bites. Though bed bugs are not known to carry any form of disease, they cause itchy, painful and ugly bite marks. Therefore, it is best to act right away and prevent insects from using you as their host for blood.

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