It won’t be a surprise if you are among those who become confused about the difference between bites of ticks and bites of fleas. To begin with, we all know that both are parasitic creatures that pester children and adults as well as animals. Ticks and fleas are critters that easily adjust to their surroundings so that they can go on with enjoying a free meal – our blood and that of our pets. Yes, they both bite, leaving tell-tale marks on our skin. But when it comes to tick bites vs. flea bites, how do you tell the difference?
Learning the difference could become easier by understanding each creature first.
- Tiny and wingless insects
- Feeds on blood (human & animals)
- Agile with a flat body
- Dark in color
- Has tube-like mouth; useful in feeding
- Has long legs, the back pair of legs tailored to jump to more than 8 inches up or across
- Tiny, wingless arachnidan
- Has various types such as deer tick, cattle tick, sheep tick
- Has three classifications: Ixodidae (hard tick), Argasidae (soft tick) and Nuttalliellidae
- Seeks different hosts to serve variety of nutrition needs
Knowing tick bites vs. flea bites becomes easier when there is better understanding about their existence. Ticks are common world-wide but are creatures that don’t stay on their hosts. They simply feed and leave then return to feed again. Fleas also feed on blood but should a host be absent for some time, they are able to survive up to several months.
Compared to fleas, ticks are quite easy to spot but hard to find when they go hiding in your dog’s fur or your child’s clothing. Make sure you regularly flea comb your dogs and constantly check children’s clothing and areas in the body that could serve as hiding place. That includes the ears, armpits, spaces between toes and even the genitals.
Distinction: Tick Bites vs. Flea Bites
Ticks are so tiny and this size works to their advantage that they can stay hidden while feeding. What makes it more advantageous is the fact that their bites are practically painless so they can feed to their heart’s delight.
Likely, the time you would know that a tick is biting is by actually seeing one that is engorged. Once removed, the indication of a bite is the red mark where the tick punctured the skin. In 3 to 14 days and the bite site develops a rash accompanied by a fever and headache, see a doctor. An infection might be starting and could worsen without proper treatment.
With tick bites vs. flea bites, the latter often show an indication after about 30 minutes. Often, the bites happen in the lower limbs near the feet and ankles, the marks, generally in clusters or a series of bite marks. This is because fleas are skilled biters and can do about 400 bites in one attack. In some instances, the bite could look like a red bump bordered by a scarlet halo. In both cases, the bites stay itchy and irritated for weeks.
Your flea bite marks could confuse you to think they’re mosquito bites as the marks look similar. If you are sure that your home is mosquito-free, confirm your suspicion by doing a flea inspection on your pets and surrounding. If you are sensitive to flea bites, the possibility of the puncture wound developing into a more serious infection is high. The itching could worsen and swelling, pain and fever could be present. In such cases, consult a doctor so that the situation could be addressed promptly and properly.
As for dogs, flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) could occur and that means trouble. Your dog is sure to suffer from excessive itching leading to open sores, hair fall and further infections. Regularly check your dog’s skin for small red dots, the indication of bites. Finding them may be difficult under all that hair but doing so could prevent further bite reaction such as swelling and infection.
The Best Thing to Do – Prevention
There is no need to determine tick bites vs. flea bites if you could prevent the bites from happening in the first place. Stay on your guard against ticks or fleas. A bite is already an indication of the pests’ presence within your area. Yard, house and dog treatment is necessary to keep ticks and fleas at bay. Vigilance could help avoid re-infestation and would result to avoidance of tick or flea bites.