How to Distinguish a Mosquito Bite From Other Insect Bites

Updated March 27, 2017

Mosquito bites can be itchy, sore, and sometimes even dangerous. They can become infected -- and mosquitoes can carry hazardous diseases such as the West Nile Virus. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 2,500 species of mosquitoes in the world. Most everyone will be bitten by a mosquito at some point in their life. It can be difficult to tell the difference between mosquito bites and other insect bites, especially fleas and bed bugs.

Observe the bites. Mosquito bites will be in areas of skin that were exposed, such as arms or legs. Whereas, flea and bed bug bites may be anywhere on your body.

Note the time of day, when you noticed the bite. Mosquitoes are more common at dawn and dusk. You would likely notice bed bug bites when you first wake up in the morning.

Examine the bite any surrounding bites. Fleas and bed bugs generally bite in a cluster. Most insect bites appear to be a small, red swollen lump.

Notice your reaction. Mosquito bites are often very itchy. Flea bites can be quite itchy as well but will usually are harder lumps. Bed bug bites can be itchy, but not for everyone. Other insect bites, such as fire ants, will be more painful than itchy.

Check your environment. Both bed bugs and fleas will leave behind evidence. Bed bugs will often leave fecal stains around your bedding. These stains will appear to be black and will smear if you try to brush it off. You may also find a bed bug, if you are cleaning your sheets. They can stay hidden well, but they are visible to the naked eye. Fleas are also visible. They are small, black jumping insects. If you have pets, check them for signs of bites or fleas first.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.