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Waking up to an irresistible itch is often encountered by everyone at least once in our lives. No one is spared from bites that cause itch and redness, whether a small baby or an adult.
As mosquitoes and bed bugs are commonly found wherever humans reside, have you ever wondered what the reason behind this itch and the bites that may sometimes take an ugly form and cause severe discomfort is?
Many possible insects tend to feed on human blood and thus bite us, leaving behind a mark and itch.
1. Common Insects
Many insects are found around humans, but only certain pose a threat to humans. Having a sound knowledge of insects and their characteristics is also essential.
The most common biting insects that breed around humans are:
- Bed bugs
- Scabies mites
- Bird mites
- Rodent mites
All of them bite the humans, but can you tell the difference, or have you ever wondered who might be the real culprit behind those itchy bites? Were those fire ant bites or spider bites?
The most common ones mentioned above are bed bugs and mosquitoes. These insects are commonly found to feed on human blood and leave a bite after their meal.
But the most crucial question is: who has caused that mark?
Whether it is a bed bug or a mosquito?
If you are in this dilemma, this article might help you find the perfect solution as it helps differentiate.
2. What is a Bed Bug?
The bed bug is an insect from the genus Cimex. They are usually found to breed around the human population and feed on human blood.
The bed bug is usually small, and they can’t fly as they do not have wings.
The bed bug is a nocturnal creature that comes out only at night. During the day, they hide under the cracks of the walls, creases, and beds.
Despite being unable to fly or jump, these insects can crawl fast and disappear within seconds, making them difficult to catch.
Another favorite place for the bed bugs to hide is the furniture and wooden articles, as they provide a favorable environment for their survival.
The bed bug can survive for at least 65 days without feeding, thus making it difficult to eradicate from home as they can hide and protect themselves.
3. Why Does a Bed Bug Bite Human?
To complete the life cycle of a bed bug, it needs to pass through the five stages and become a mature adult.
After every stage, they shed their skin and require a blood meal, leading them to bite the humans. Being nocturnal, they usually bite humans at night.
The bed bug can easily find humans by the warmth and heat they radiate through the body. To proceed to the next stage of their life cycle and complete it, biting a human and consuming the blood is necessary.
4. What is a Mosquito?
If a mosquito has ever bitten you, it is usually a female mosquito because a male mosquito does not bite a human. Yes, you heard it right.
A mosquito is a six-legged creature that can quickly fly around and has a mouthpart specially used to feed on nectar and human blood.
Mosquitoes are usually found to breed around humans and lay eggs in warm and moist places.
5. Why Does a Mosquito Bite Human?
A female mosquito bites humans to produce eggs. Thus, the blood meal is essential for completing the process of reproduction.
The mosquito usually finds humans by the body heat and the carbon dioxide released during breathing.
As mosquitoes are present around the places where humans reside, they are also responsible for spreading various diseases like malaria, dengue, and many others by biting an infected human and then an average human.
6. What Does a Mosquito Bite Look Like?
Mosquito bites are different from bites caused by other insects. But when identifying them, one must have a little knowledge to differentiate them from the other insect bites.
Mosquitoes usually bite during the daytime or evening rather than at night. Also, mosquitoes bite on exposed skin that is not covered by clothes.
A mosquito bite looks like an irritated skin hive or a single bump or red bump accompanied by an itching sensation. These are the normal skin reactions expected after a mosquito bite.
A mosquito bite itch is usually unbearable, starting immediately or within a few minutes or hours after the bite.
7. What Does a Bed Bug Bite Look Like?
A bed bug usually bites at night and on the areas in close contact with the bed, like the neck or the back. Unlike mosquito bites, bed bug bites are present in series or lines with a group of red bumps.
The reaction time to a bed bug’s bite is usually late compared to a mosquito bite. The bed bug signs like itchiness start about a week after the bed bug bites. Also, bed bug bites are more diminutive in size than mosquito bites.
Regarding symptoms of a bite, they usually overlap with the symptoms caused by other insect bites.
Thus, knowing the difference between bug bites and mosquito stings is necessary.
7.1 Mosquito Bite Symptoms
Itching is usually caused immediately after the bite of the mosquito. The main reason behind the itch is the mosquito saliva. The itch is usually irresistible and lasts for a long time.
2. Bite Places
The bite places are usually not fixed for a mosquito bite. Any exposed area can be a bite place for mosquitos.
3. Bite Pattern
The bites are usually present in a distinct pattern rather than cluster form. A single mosquito can cause multiple bites but at different places.
4. Skin Reaction Time
A mosquito bite has a quick skin reaction time of 1 to 2 minutes. These instant skin reactions are key characteristics of a mosquito bite.
A mosquito bite requires no special medical treatment and resolves spontaneously. Itching may be the only presenting symptom for a more extended period.
The application of anti-itch creams or an ointment helps resolve the symptoms early.
7.2 Bed Bug Bite Symptoms
Itching at the site of the bite is encountered after one week, which draws attention to the bite site.
2. Bite Sites
A bed bug usually chooses an area to bite near the bed, such as the back or neck. Unlike mosquito bites, where the bite is present, it does not need to be exposed or uncovered.
3. Bite Pattern
A bed bug bite has a classic pattern, making it easy to identify and conclude that it is only a bed bug bite. Bites are present in groups of 2 or 3 and within a limited area or in a pattern where the bed bug moves.
4. Skin Reaction Time
The time taken for a full-fledged skin reaction is about one week and may vary from person to person.
As seen in mosquito bites, no spontaneous skin reaction makes it challenging to locate and treat the bed bite early.
When a bed bug bite is discovered, the body has initiated an immune reaction, which may require immediate medical attention in hypersensitive people.
A bed bug bite is a severe issue indicating that there can be an infestation of bed bugs in the house, and its complete eradication can only stop recurrent bed bug bites from occurring.
8. Measures to Control Mosquito Bites
Though a mosquito bite may not take an ugly form as done by the bed bug bite, one must be aware of the potential diseases that a mosquito can transmit through its bite.
Thus, to avoid such a situation, you must take necessary measures to control the breeding of mosquitoes.
The application of mosquito repellents and not allowing water to collect in pots and vessels are measures you can take individually.
Treating the water bodies with pesticides and fumigating the streets regularly is also a crucial preventive measure.
This makes the public aware of the possible signs and symptoms, and seeking immediate medical help through newspapers, television, and radio is also very important.
9. Measures to Control Bed Bug Bites
A bed bug bite is a severe issue requiring quick action. Complete eradication of bed bugs is tedious and requires expert intervention.
Also, bed bugs are challenging to deal with as they can survive in extreme conditions, thus making them difficult to eradicate.
Prevention of bed bug bites is the earliest measure that can be taken, and this can only be done by regular insecticide spraying and keeping the house clean, along with a regular check on all the possible places where you can find a bed bug.
Insects are common everywhere and are a natural part of the ecosystem. Their dependence on the human blood to complete their life cycle is unchangeable.
Thus, prevention is the ultimate option available, and in case there are bite marks present, differentiating it and identifying the correct insect is very important.
Bed bug bites vs mosquito bites are prevalent topics in every household, and differentiating them is very confusing. Correctly identifying and treating them is very important.
Correct medical treatment and immediate measures to prevent further bites are key takeaways.