Pest Away Tips

Scabies vs Bed Bugs: How to Identify Treat and Prevent

Scabies vs

Bed Bugs: How to Tell Them Apart

If you’re experiencing itchy rashes and interrupted sleep, you may be dealing with a parasite infestation. Two common culprits are scabies and bed bugs.

While both result in itchiness and discomfort, there are key differences between the two that can help you identify which parasite you’re dealing with. In this article, we’ll explore the physical appearance, habitat, and symptoms of scabies and bed bugs to help you tell them apart.

Physical Appearance

Scabies Mites

Scabies are microscopic arachnids that burrow into the skin. They have eight legs and mouthparts that allow them to feed on human skin.

While the mites themselves are too small to see, their burrowing creates distinct patterns on the skin that can be seen with the naked eye. These patterns appear as red, itchy bumps or blisters that often appear in a line or zigzag shape.

Scabies mites cause intense itching, especially at night when the mites are most active. The itching can be so severe that it can cause insomnia and anxiety.

Scratching the affected area can also lead to open sores and secondary bacterial infections.


Scabies mites prefer warm, moist environments and are commonly found in skin folds and crevices, such as between the fingers, wrists, and buttocks. They can also infest the scalp, face, and neck of infants and young children.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are reddish-brown, oval-shaped insects that are visible to the naked eye. They have six legs and are flat when unfed, but become plumper and more elongated after feeding.

Their straw/light tan color indicates their hunger and their color darkens to brownish-red after feeding on human blood. Bed bugs often hide during the day in dark crevices around furniture and bedding, including mattresses, box springs, headboards, and bed frames.

They can also be found in picture frames, electrical outlets, and other small crevices in the room.



The primary symptom of scabies is intense itching that worsens at night. Itchiness is often accompanied by the appearance of a rash, which can take the form of red, itchy bumps or blisters.

The rash tends to appear in certain areas of the body, such as the wrists, between the fingers, and around the waistband. In addition to itching and a rash, other symptoms of scabies include:

– Thin, pencil-mark-like lines on the skin

– Pimple-like bumps

– Sores and crusts from scratching

Bed Bugs

The primary symptom of bed bugs is also itching, but the bites tend to be concentrated in areas exposed while sleeping, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. The bites appear as red, itchy welts that may have a darker red spot in the middle.

Other symptoms of bed bug infestations include:

– Blood stains on sheets and clothing

– Bed bug fecal matter (small, black or dark brown spots)

– An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands

Prevention and Treatment


Scabies is highly contagious and can be passed through skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. Infected individuals should avoid close, prolonged contact with others until treatment is complete.

Treatment options for scabies include:

– Topical creams and ointments that kill the mites and their eggs

– Oral medications for more severe cases

– Washing bedding, clothing, and towels in hot water and drying them on high heat to kill any remaining mites or eggs

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease but their bites can result in significant discomfort. If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, it’s important to take action promptly to prevent further spread.

Treatment options for bed bugs include:

– Professional extermination services

– Do-it-yourself treatments using insecticides and other products specifically designed for bed bugs. – Ensuring proper sanitation and tidiness to minimize potential hiding spots


Scabies and bed bugs may share some similarities in causing itchiness and discomfort, however, their physical appearance, habitat, and symptoms can give you a clue as to which infestation you’re dealing with. By taking steps to prevent infestations and seeking prompt treatment when necessary, you can avoid the misery and discomfort caused by these parasites.

Lifecycle and


Bed Bugs vs Scabies

When dealing with an infestation, it is important to know the lifecycle and reproduction habits of the parasites in question. In this section, we’ll explore the lifecycle and reproduction strategies of bed bugs and scabies to aid in identification and treatment.

Scabies Lifecycle

Scabies mites have a simple life cycle that lasts for approximately 21 days. The cycle begins with a female laying her eggs in the burrows created in the skin.

The eggs hatch into larvae and then molt into nymphs. After two molts, the nymphs become adults.

The adults have a round body and four pairs of legs and are only about 0.3-0.4 mm long. Scabies mites mate on the skin surface and the females burrow into the skin to lay their eggs at a depth of 1-2 mm.

The larvae that hatch from the eggs immediately start to burrow and feed on the skin. After about 10-14 days, they molt into nymphs that then migrate to the skin surface where they mature into adults.

Once the adult mites mate and lay their eggs, the cycle continues.

Bed Bug Lifecycle

The lifecycle of bed bugs has five stages: egg, five nymphal stages, and adult. The eggs are laid in secluded places and can be identified as small, white, and sticky.

A female bed bug produces several eggs daily and can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch into nymphs in about a week and the bright red nymphs soon molt into a slightly larger nymph with progressively darker exoskeletons and develop more pronounced antennae.

Molted skins are often found near harborage sites after bed bugs develop through their five nymphal developmental stages, and at each molt, they require a blood meal. The fifth and final nymphal stage molts into an adult bed bug.

Once bed bugs reach adulthood, they do not grow any larger in size. Females need a blood meal to reproduce and lay eggs, and they can do so regularly once they have found a host.


Reproduction is essential for the continuation of parasitic populations. Scabies have a high reproductive rate, and females can produce several dozen eggs during their lifetime.

The females lay eggs in the burrows that they create in the skin. Males find females on the skin surface and burrow their way to the females to mate.

After mating, females deposit eggs in the burrows and cover them with yolk secretions, which nutritionally sustain the developing larvae. Bed bugs reproduction is heavily dependent on blood meals to grow and multiply.

A female bed bug needs a blood meal to produce eggs, and they are capable of laying eggs without mating. However, mating can enhance the reproductive potential of the female, and once inseminated, they lay eggs daily for the remainder of their lifespan.

Feeding Habits

Scabies mites and bed bugs have distinct feeding habits. Scabies burrow into human skin and feed on the host’s epidermis (outermost layer of skin).

They can cause an allergic response or inflammation in the skin, causing immense discomfort and itching for the duration of their lifecycle. They have species-specific feeding behaviors and feed exclusively on human skin.

Bed bugs feed on the exposed skin of hosts, which could be humans or animals. They search for a blood meal by emitting feed-enhancing signals that attract their prey, and often feed on hosts while they are asleep.

Feeding can cause an allergic reaction in some people, which results in skin irritation, red bumps, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis, which is a serious allergic response that can be potentially fatal.


Knowing the lifecycle and reproduction behavior of scabies mites and bed bugs is important when dealing with an infestation. By understanding their feeding habits and targeted behavior, it is easier to identify the parasite and develop effective prevention and treatment strategies tailored to the specific parasite.

While both parasites can cause discomfort and irritation, with timely treatment, infestations can quickly be eradicated. Scabies Infestations: Causes, Symptoms, Spread, and


Scabies is a skin infestation caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite and is highly contagious.

Here, we’ll discuss its causes, symptoms, spread, and identification to help you better understand and identify a scabies infestation. Causes and


Scabies is caused by an infestation of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite.

The mite burrows into the skin, causing intense itching and a pimple-like rash. The rash can appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly found in the webbing between fingers, wrists, elbows, and armpits.

The itching is often most intense at night when the mites are most active. The itching can often last for weeks even once the infestation has been treated, due to the body’s reaction to the mites and the burrows they leave in the skin.

Spread and


Scabies is highly contagious and can be spread through both direct and indirect contact with an infected person. Direct contact includes skin-to-skin contact, while indirect contact can occur through shared clothing, bedding, and towels.

If you suspect you have scabies, it is important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. The distinctive signs of scabies include visible burrows created by the mites on the skin’s surface, which resemble thin, gray, and wavy lines.

A skin scraping test is usually conducted by a healthcare provider to check for the presence of mites, eggs, or feces under a microscope. Treatment for scabies typically involves applying topical creams and ointments that contain permethrin or lindane to kill the mites.

In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend oral medication or antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections. It is important to note that all family members and sexual partners of an infected person should be treated simultaneously to prevent re-infection.

Bed Bug Bites: Causes, Symptoms, and


Bed bugs are reddish-brown insects that are approximately the size of an apple seed. They feed on human blood and can infest any living space, including homes, hotels, and public transportation.

Learn about the causes, symptoms, and identification of bed bug bites to help identify and treat an infestation.

Causes and Symptoms

Bed bugs are attracted to warm-blooded mammals, including humans and pets. They hide in cracks and crevices during the day and come out at night to feed on exposed skin.

While bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, their bites can cause red, itchy welts on the skin. Bed bug bites often appear in clusters or a straight line of red, itchy welts and are usually small and round.

The severity of the reaction to bed bug bites varies from person to person, with some people experiencing an immediate reaction and others showing no symptoms at all.


One of the telltale signs of a bed bug infestation is the presence of bed bugs themselves. Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown and range in size from 4 to 5 mm.

Bed bugs are generally active at night, so look for them in and around bedding and furniture. They often leave dark fecal spots on bedding and furniture that can be seen with the naked eye, and their molted exoskeletons can also be found in harboring areas.

If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, it is important to seek professional help for treatment. You can begin by washing your bedding and clothing in hot water and vacuuming up any bed bugs and their eggs in cracks and crevices.

However, professional extermination services are often needed to completely eliminate the infestation.


Scabies and bed bug infestations can be both uncomfortable and challenging to treat, but early identification and prompt treatment can prevent the infestation from spreading. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and identification of these parasites, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your living environment.

Be sure to seek professional medical help if you suspect you have a scabies infestation or consult a professional exterminator for bed bugs. Treatment and Prevention: Scabies vs

Bed Bugs

Both scabies and bed bug infestations can be challenging to eradicate, but treatment is essential to prevent further discomfort and spreading of the infestation.

Scabies Treatment

Scabies is typically treated with topical creams, the most common being 5% permethrin cream. The cream is generally applied to the entire body, from the neck down, left on for several hours, then washed off.

Prescription medications like ivermectin may also be recommended for more severe cases. In addition to medication, it is important to decontaminate your living environment to prevent further infestations.

Failure to treat your environment can result in a recurrence of the infestation. This includes washing all bedding, clothing, and towels in hot water and drying them on high heat.

Any items that cannot be washed, such as stuffed animals or pillows, should be vacuumed thoroughly.

Bed Bug Treatment

Bed bugs can be challenging to eradicate because they can rapidly reproduce and are resistant to many insecticides. Treatment options include vacuuming, chemical treatments, cryonite, fumigation, steam treatment, and hiring a bed bug specialist.

The specialist can assess the severity of the infestation and recommend the most effective treatment plan.

Control and Prevention

Preventing re-infestation requires regular washing of bedding and clothing. Consider encasing mattresses and box springs in a bed bug-proof cover that prevents bugs from getting in or out.

Be sure to exercise caution when traveling and inspect hotel rooms carefully. Bed bugs can hitchhike on luggage and clothing, so keep your luggage on raised stands and away from walls and beds.

Maintain good hygiene practices to prevent an infestation from starting. Can You Have

Bed Bugs and Scabies at the Same Time? It is possible to have bed bugs and scabies at the same time, as they can inhabit the same living spaces.

However, it is not common. If you have symptoms of both infestations, it is important to seek professional

Popular Posts