Ticks and Bed Bugs – Are They Related?
Many assume that ticks and bed bugs are the same, as they both feed on blood. Aside from the differences in how they look, there are many other factors that make them different from each other. People and pets living in one house are prone to dealing with insect problems as both can carry different insects into their home after going outside.
While people can bring in bed bugs from a different place, pets, especially dogs, can have ticks that they contracted from other animals whenever you bring them outside. To deal with a bed bug or tick problem, it is necessary to correctly identify the pest in your home and the source of the problem.
The Difference Between Ticks and Bed Bugs
Before going through the differences, let’s look at one of the similarities of these pests. Do bed bugs and ticks look similar? One thing that makes people mistake ticks for bed bugs, or vice versa, is how they look.
Both have six legs and a relatively flat body. Tick nymphs that feed for the first time can be mistaken as adult bed bugs and vice versa. This is why you must use other factors to identify each pest. It is important to know the hazards and treatment that must be done to get rid of an infestation of either insect.
The Size of Ticks vs Bed Bugs
When it comes to their size, adult bed bugs are smaller than a fully fed adult tick. Take note of this factor as you can easily tell which pest is present in your home. Ticks that are fully fed are usually round and grayish in colour. Soft ticks filled with blood grow a few sizes larger than their normal size as they feed regularly. On the other hand, adult bed bugs are smaller and only look similar to that of unfed tick nymphs.
Habitats and Hosts
When it comes to habitats, ticks are most likely found outdoors hiding in tall grass or any potential habitat. You’ll probably find ticks attached to outdoor items that are rarely disturbed, while reddish-brown bed bugs tend to hide in box springs, mattresses, cracks and crevices and prefer the indoors.
Another notable difference between these pests is their preferred host. While bed bugs feed on humans, ticks feed on animals - seldom on humans.
Are Ticks And Bed Bugs The Same - When do They Bite?
Differentiating the bites can be a bit challenging, as every person has a different reaction to them. However, one must take note that when ticks bite, they tend to cling onto the skin of the host. This is contrary to bed bugs that take a full blood meal by biting at least three times then go back to their hiding spots.
Health Risks Associated with Bites
When it comes to health hazards associated with bites, bed bugs have no known issues as they do not carry diseases nor transmit anything through their bites. Yes, a bed bug bite can be irritating and may cause severe allergic reactions for some people, but it is safe to say that you won’t get any health issues if you are bitten.
Unlike bed bugs, ticks are notorious for transmittable diseases. They carry a wide range of illnesses, one of the popular ones being Lyme disease. Other diseases they can spread include tularemia, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness (STARI), ehrlichiosis spotted fever and babesiosis.
Regardless of which insect has bitten you, it is recommended that you immediately seek medical attention, especially if you develop allergic reactions hours or days after the bite has occurred.
How to Get Rid of the Pests and Stop Getting these Bites
The most important step to follow first is to identify the insect lurking in your home. Aside from the bites and other signs of the pests’ presence, seeing a live insect in your home is one way to know what you are dealing with.
Once you find out which pest is infesting your home, it is essential that you learn how to control them, eventually get rid of them, and prevent them from coming back. You can also call a pest control professional to help you deal with tick or bed bug infestations in your home. Making sure that your home is treated properly for pests infesting your home will eventually stop their population from increasing and avoid getting bitten by them.