flea bites vs mosquito bites

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Fleas bites are often confused with mosquito bites.

That’s no surprise as both are small, blood sucking insects that leave small, red bite marks.

Nonetheless, correctly identifying which of these two pests bit you is vital to treat them.

In this article, we’ll go over all the differences between fleas and mosquitoes.

Let’s dive in.

Flea Bites Vs Mosquito Bites

Symptoms: A mosquito bite looks like a red, round, and puffy bump. They will become red and swollen soon after they bite you. In contrast, flea bites look like small red bumps with a pink halo. Flea bites generally begin to welt within an hour after the bite. 

Pattern: Mosquito bites typically come with multiple bite marks in the same area. Flea bites generally appear in small clusters.

Location: Mosquitoes will bite in any exposed skin. In contrast, Flea tend to bite below your waistline. Some common places include your ankles, lower legs, and feet. They also tend to happen where the skin folds, such as behind the knee or your elbow. 

Development: Severe reactions to mosquito bites can cause significant swelling, hives, and fever. Flea bites may develop into a blister or small wound after a day or so. It’s also common to develop secondary infections due to excessive scratching. Severe reactions to flea bites can include shortness of breath, nausea, and chest pain.

Frequency: Mosquitoes will suck your blood until they are full. Once done, they will rest for two or three days. Most fleas bite their host within the first hour. Once a flea gets on its host, they stay to mate, feed, and lay eggs. A single flea can bite up to 400 times per day. 

Flea Bites Vs. Mosquito Bites: Treatment

Mosquito Bite Treatment:

  1. Resist the Urge to Scratch. Excessive scratching can become infected.
  2. Wash affected area with soapy water. Washing your bite will help remove the germs on your skin and prevent infection.
  3. Apply an anti-itch cream or ice on the bite to alleviate discomfort.
  4. Take an oral antihistamine to minimize itching or apply an ice pack or cold compress. 
  5. If your bites get worse over time, visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to address any excess inflammation or infections with proper treatments.

Flea Bite Treatment:

  1. Resist the Urge to Scratch.
  2. Wash affected area with soapy water. Washing your bite will help remove the germs on your skin and prevent infection.
  3. Apply Antiseptic. Aside from using soap to clean the bite, you can also use alcohol as an antiseptic. Pour alcohol on a cotton ball and apply it to the bites. Other antiseptic alternatives you can use are witch hazel and tea tree oil.
  4. Apply an anti-itch cream or ice on the bite to alleviate discomfort.
  5. Take an oral antihistamine to minimize itching or apply an ice pack / cold compress. 
  6. If your bites get worse over time, visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to address any excess inflammation or infections with proper treatments.

Flea Vs Mosquito: Appearance

flea vs mosquito

Color: Fleas are light brown to dark brown in color. Mosquitoes, on the other hand have a variety of colors depending on the species. Common mosquito colors are white, green, silver and green.

Size: Mosquitoes can grow anywhere between 2.5 to 10mm long. Fleas are a bit smaller at 2- 4mm.

Shape: Mosquitoes are long and narrow. Fleas, on the other hand, are more rectangular.

Legs: Both fleas and mosquitoes have six legs. But mosquito legs are much longer than fleas. Also, fleas have distinct back legs similar to crickets, which allow them to jump. They also have distinct legs right below their mouth. 

Mouth: Mosquitoes have a straw-like tube called a proboscis for sucking blood. Fleas have spines around their head and mouth. They have several mouthparts that are designed to pierce the skin and suck blood.

Wings: Mosquitoes have two developed wings that allow them to fly. Their wings can be distinguished from other insects by the scales in their wings. In contrast, fleas do not have wings. They are part of the insect order of Siphonaptera, which are wingless. The Greek prefix siphon means to tube, and the suffix aptera means wingless

Flea Vs Mosquito: Distribution

In What Region Do Fleas Live?

You can find fleas across the U.S., but they are most common in the West Coast and Southeast.

Dog and cat fleas are most common in states with warm and humid conditions such as Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, Oregon, Washington, and California.

They are the least common in desert regions in the U.S., including Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

In What Region Do Mosquitoes Live?

Mosquitoes are found in all 50 states in the U.S. 

Some of the worst states for mosquitoes are Georgia, Detroit, Florida, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma.

Flea Vs Mosquito: Habitat

Where Do Fleas Live?

Fleas are commonly found in areas where animals frequent, such as barns, back yards, decks and patio furniture.

In homes with flea infested pets, you’ll typically find flea eggs, larvae and droppings (flea dirt) harboring inside carpets, near pet bedding, and furniture near pet loafing sites.

If your pets lay on your chairs or beds, you may also find fleas there. Some common areas are under couch cushions and beds.

The best way to know where to treat fleas is to know your pets behavior and favorite spots.

Where Do Mosquitoes Live?

Mosquitoes need water for development. 

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on water. The eggs will eventually turn into a large and pupa, both of which are aquatic.

The ideal location for mosquitoes to thrive is non moving water.

That’s because mosquitoes need to breathe air through the surface of the water. They are very susceptible to wave action.

As such, you won’t find mosquitoes in open bodies of water like lakes or ponds.

Other than water, mosquitoes also need food to develop.

Mosquito larva eats microorganisms and floating organic matter. As such, you will see mosquitoes in places with plenty of vegetation.

You can find mosquitoes in saltwater and freshwater.

Mosquitoes are common in:

  • Swamps
  • Salt and freshwater marsh
  • Ponds
  • Drainage ditches
  • Plants
  • Tree holes
  • Rain and floodwater pools
  • Containers such as tires, tarps, pots, and buckets.
  • Neglected hot tub and pool
  • Water bottles and lids
  • Bird baths
Mosquitoes prefer to live in shady areas, but can also develop in sunny locations.
 

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Diet

What Do Fleas Eat?

Like bed bugs, fleas only feed on the blood of mammals.

The difference is the type of blood they prefer.

Bed bugs prefer humans, while fleas prefer pets and other mammals.

Adult fleas feed only on blood.

Their larvae are scavengers and will eat almost any organic matter. They primarily feed on dried blood and adult flea droppings.

What Do Mosquitoes Eat?

Mosquito larva eats microorganisms and floating organic matter.

Adult male mosquito feed on nectar and sugars.

Female mosquitoes feed on blood as well as nectar and sugar.

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Flight

Do Mosquitoes Fly?

Mosquitoes are in the order of Diptera, meaning they develop two functional wings.

They fly to find food and sites to lay their eggs.

Mosquitoes’ flight distances vary greatly per species.

Most of them can fly anywhere between one to five miles.

Adult Salt flight mosquitoes can fly more than 20 miles.

In contrast, the Aedes mosquitoes can only fly a few hundred feet.

 

Do Fleas Fly?

Similar to bed bugs, fleas do not fly. Instead, they jump to secure a host.

Fleas can jump up to 120 times their body length. In particular, they can jump as high as six inches and as far as 12 inches.

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Dangers

Are Fleas Harmful?

Yes. Fleas can carry and transmit several serious diseases, including typhus and plague.

The most noted disease transmitted by fleas is the Bubonic Plague. The plague has been responsible for millions of human deaths.

Bubonic Plague transmitted from rats to humans by fleas.

Fleas transmit disease by biting infected animals, such as rats, and then biting a person or a pet after.

They can also transmit disease with their poop. Flea droppings can cause infections when they come in direct contact with an exposed wound and when breathed in.

Are Mosquitoes Harmful?

Yes. Mosquitoes can transmit pathogens such as malaria, encephalitis, Zica, Dengue, and Chikungunya.

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Baby

What Do Baby Fleas Look Like?

After hatching, flea larvae are tiny at about 2mm. Over time they can grow up to about 5mm in length.

Flea larvae are white to cream-colored with a brownish head. Their bodies are cylindrical with thirteen segments and are covered with long stiff hairs or bristles.

The larvae mouths, but they don’t have legs or eyes.

Depending upon species and environmental conditions, larvae can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months before entering pupation.

Pupation is the process of the larvae forming a silken cocoon around itself.

The cocoon is about 1/16 of an inch long and has an elliptical shape. It’s generally covered with debris, which helps the cocoon blend into the environment.

The larva generally develops into an adult flea within two to three weeks.

If there are no available host around, the flea will choose to stay in the cocoon.

That’s because the flea cannot live longer than a few weeks without a blood meal.

But, inside the cocoon, it can survive for longer than a year.

What Do Baby Mosquito Look Like?

Juvenile mosquito is called larvae or wigglers.

These larvas have worm-like bodies that are light to dark brown.

Mosquito larvae can grow anywhere between 5-8 mm.

They live in water, but they have to come out on the surface to breathe.

Mosquito larvae use siphons for breathing. Siphons are the equivalent of snorkels.

Like snorkels, the siphon allows the larva to breathe while remaining underneath the water.

Mosquito larvae go into a few molts (instar) before entering pupation.

In the pupal stage, mosquitoes transforms into tumblers.

Their bodies are light brown with paddles. They also have a trumpet, which allows them to breathe on the water surface.

Pupation takes 2-3 days.

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Eggs

What Do Fleas Eggs Look Like?

Flea eggs are barely visible to the naked eye at 0.5 mm in length.

They have an oval shape and milk-white color. 

Most flea species produce eggs with a smooth outer surface.

This feature allows the eggs to fall freely off the host to hatch in a more suitable environment.

Some flea species produce sticky eggs. The stickiness allows the eggs to adhere to nesting materials.

Flea eggs can hatch in as little as three days and as long as five weeks, depending on the conditions.

 

What Do Mosquitoes Look Like?

Mosquitoes are aquatic. The female mosquitoes lay their eggs on the water.

The only exception to this is the mosquito specie Aedes, which lay their eggs in containers above the water line. These eggs will hatch when the container is flooded with water via high tides, rains or flooded stream bottoms.

Mosquito eggs are about .25 to .5mm depending on the species. These eggs are initially white, but will eventually turn black within a day.

Some mosquitos species lay their eggs singly and with floating devices to keep them on the surface.

Others lay their eggs in groups or three hundred or more. These eggs are glued together and float on the surface of the water as rafts.

Mosquito eggs hatch within one to three days, depending on the water temperature.

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Lifecycle

What Is the Fleas Life Cycle?

Fleas have complete metamorphosis—their life-cycle consists of four stages: egg, larvae, pupae, and the adult stage.

The length of time it takes for fleas to complete a life cycle varies from a couple of weeks to a couple of years, depending on a few factors.

The first is the species. Certain flea species take longer to complete metamorphosis than others.

It is also greatly affected by environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Another big factor that affects flea development is the availability of a host.

If there are no available hosts around, the flea will choose to stay in the cocoon.

That’s because the flea cannot live longer than a few weeks without a blood meal.

But, inside the cocoon, it can survive for longer than a year.

Adult fleas emerge from the cocoon when they sense warmth and increase in CO2 levels. These two are an indication that there is a host close by. 

Adult fleas live between five to eighteen days. 

What Is the Mosquitoes Lifecycle?

Mosquitoes go through a complete metamorphosis. Their life-cycle consists of four stages: eggs, larva, pupa, and adult.

Mosquitoes are aquatic. The female mosquito needs to find a wet area to lay her eggs.

The eggs will eventually hatch into larvae. Mosquito larva lives in water and comes to the surface to breathe.

The larva will go through a few molts before it develops into a pupa. This process can take anywhere between a few days to a few weeks.

The pupa stage is the resting stage. The pupae live at the water surface to breathe, but they do not eat.

The pupal stage lasts anywhere from one to a few days, depending on the water temperature.

While inside the pupa, the mosquito develops wings and turns into an adult.

Mosquitoes’ total life cycle takes anywhere between four days to a month, depending on the conditions.

Adult female mosquitoes can for many weeks, while adult male mosquitoes die only a few days after they mate. 

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Causes

What Causes Fleas?

Fleas often enter homes when wildlife takes up residence under it.

Some of the most common sources of fleas are feral cats, opossums, raccoons, and rats.

Note that other types of wildlife, such as rabbits and squirrels, rarely cause a flea issue.

Fleas can also find a way into your home by hitching a ride on your clothing or shoes.

What Causes Mosquito?

Mosquitoes thrive and develop in non-moving water. They only need approximately 1 tsp of water to develop

As such, one of the leading causes of mosquitoes in homes is the presence of small water-holding containers such as pots, buckets, tires, or jars.

Mosquitoes may also develop if you don’t have a proper drainage system. Small and temporary pools of water can be a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. 

Flea Vs. Mosquito: Elimination

How To Get Rid Of Fleas?

1. Identification 

The first step to eliminating fleas in your home is to find possible locations for flea breeding. Look at the areas where your pets sleep, lounge, and eat.

2. Vacuum

Next, vacuum and or clean steam carpet to prepare them for treatment. Vacuuming and steaming help remove dried blood, live adult fleas, and flea eggs. It also helps straighten the carpet fibers to help it receive treatment.

3. Chemical Treatment

For flea treatment, I recommend using insecticide such as Pyrethroids in combination with slower-acting IGRs.

In many cases today you can find a pyrethroid with IGR’s combined into a single insecticide.

You can also use plant-derived insecticide such as orange oil and pyrethrins along with IGRs.

Pyrethroids

Pyrethroids are of the most widely used classes of insecticides in pest control. They are long-lasting and highly effective.

These are typically insecticide sprays that should be sprayed directly on affected areas such as rugs, furniture, and other locations around the house. 

These insecticides can kill on contact and also have a residual effect which can last between one and two months.  

IGRs

IGR’s are like “birth control” for insects. It stops infestations by making adult fleas unable to reproduce. It also blocks immature fleas from becoming an adult. 

If juvenile fleas are unable to grow into reproductive adults, their population will eventually die. IGRs have an excellent safety record for people and pets. 

4. Dust Treatments

Another common method of killing fleas is using dust treatment.

Dust treatments can be used as a lone treatment method as well as in combination with an insecticide spray.

Two of the most common methods are:

Diatomaceous Earth

Although to pets and humans, DE is just like any other powder, it has microscopic, razor-sharp edges to insects. Diatomaceous earth kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons. 

First, DE absorbs the oily and waxy outer cuticle layer found on insects exoskeleton.

This outer layer prevents insects from losing body water in dry environments. Once it’s destroyed, fleas lose water and die from dehydration.

Borate Salt

Borate salt is toxic to fleas when ingested. You can dust it to areas indoors where the fleas are aggregating, such as carpet, cushions, and bedding. Borate salt is safe for humans and pets.

5. Natural Treatments

Botanicals

If you want to use more natural ingredients to eliminate fleas, I recommend using plant-derived insecticides. For this, I recommend using the most active orange oil and pyrethrins. 

Orange oil has D-Limone, which repels and kills fleas. For the best results, I recommend using orange oil with slower-acting products like IGRs. 

When using orange oil, remember to practice caution. At high concentrations, these oils can be dangerous for pets. Always read and follow label directions carefully. 

How To Get Rid Of Mosquito?

Eliminate Standing Water

Mosquitoes thrive in shallow pools of stagnant water.

So, the first step to eliminating mosquitoes is to remove these.

To keep mosquitoes away, make sure you have a proper drainage system.

Also, ensure that your yard is designed to let the water flow away from your home when it rains. If that isn’t the case, contact a yard drainer professional to get your yard graded adequately.

Also, fix any uneven concrete that causes water to pool in one area during rainstorms.

Also, fix any plumbing issues that cause water to pool, including leaky faucets and other watering equipment.

Make sure to clean any clogged gutter to prevent water from pooling.

If you have any tree holes around your house that pools water, seal it with expandable water-resistant foam used for home insulation projects.

Remove any containers around your house that can cause water to pool.

Ensure you do not have plumbing issues and that your air conditioner drip line does not create water puddles.

If you have a birdbath in your home, drain it regularly to prevent mosquito development.

Space spray

To kill mosquitoes, professional pest control companies use either ground and aerial space spray.

Space sprays are liquid insecticides that are dispersed into the air instead of a surface. 

While these sprays can be highly effective, their efficacy is dependent on a few factors.

Space sprays are most effective in low wind and high-temperature environments. 

They are also useful while the droplets are in the air. As such, the mosquitoes need to be active or flying for the spray to be effective.

It’s also vital to have the correct droplet size for space sprays to stay airborne long enough to kill mosquitoes.


 

Mosquito Residual Adulticide

Residual adulticide is a treatment applied on surfaces where mosquitoes rest.

Unlike space sprays, you can apply residual adulticide at any time of day.

Another advantage of this method is that it provides long term control on resting mosquitoes.

That said, a significant disadvantage of this method is that it requires specialized training to be able to use this method effectively and safely.

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