Bed Bugs vs Scabies

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Since both bed bugs and scabies rely on human blood to survive, they are spread in a related manner. But, each uses humans in their own way. Below you’ll learn the difference between the two of them and their signs and symptoms.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on your blood. Over the past 20 years, bed bugs have made a huge comeback. A National Pest Management Association 2015 study showed evidence of their increase revealing in the past year, around 99.6 percent of pest controllers have treated for these little critters, compared to 15 years earlier at 25 percent. Also according to the study, around 68 percent claimed bed bugs were the hardest pests to control than any other insect they encounter.

They like to be close to humans, hiding in dark places, and once you’re asleep, they crawl out to feed. It doesn’t matter if your home is dirty or the cleanest home ever, bed bugs may become a problem. Since they survive on human blood, even keeping your home immaculate, won’t keep them away. And, since it’s too easy for them to crawl into clothing, luggage or furniture without being noticed, it’s also easy to bring them home with you when you are traveling or are simply out and about.

Once they get into your home, they look for a place to hide. Couches, mattresses, headboards, box springs and small cracks make good hiding places for them.

Signs and Symptoms of Bed Bugs

An easy way to know that you are infested with bed bugs is the distinct marks they make on your skin, including your neck, face, hands, arms and other areas of your body when you’re sleeping. These bed bug bites causing itching and soreness. 

You may not develop these bite marks for a couple of weeks, therefore when trying to determine if you have an infestation, you’ll need to look for other signs such as:

  • A musty, sweet odor

  • Exoskeletons of the bugs after molting

  • Rust-colored blood marks on your furniture or mattress due to their excretion of blood-filled fecal matter

  • Bedbugs in the fold of sheets and mattresses

These insects are an uncomfortable and nasty problem that is difficult to detect and even more difficult to treat. While it may make you sweat, heat helps to get rid of them.


Scabies or scabies mites burrow under your skin in the upper layers, laying eggs and feeding on your blood. The bites are very itchy and cause redness, red bumps and gray lines on your skin. They’re spread by skin-to-skin contact with another person who’s infected or by prolonged contact with bedding, towels or clothing of a person infected.

It doesn’t matter what race or class you fit into, you can get scabies, but it is more common in crowded living environments. They’re hard to treat.

Scabies is among the most common dermatological conditions and in developing countries, account for a significant percentage of skin disease. Scabies affects over 130 million individuals at any given time on a global scale.

Signs and Symptoms of Scabies

A good sign of scabies mites are burrows representing the moving female’s intraepidermal tunnel. They appear as grayish, threadlike, wavy elevations in your superficial skin. Common burrow locations include:

  • Elbows

  • Belt line

  • Webbed spaces of your fingers

  • Areolate

  • Scrotum

  • Axillae

  • Wrist flexor surfaces

  • Feet

In the elderly, scabies have proneness for the back. In small children and infants, you’ll commonly find burrows on their soles and palms. You may have a rash.

It may be quite some time before you notice bedbugs or scabies. To combat them, it’s a good idea to know the symptoms and where to look for these pests. If you’re showing signs and symptoms of scabies or bedbugs, contact a doctor — either a dermatologist or primary care doctor. You’ll also need to contact your local exterminator to ensure you rid your home of any infestation.


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