Flea Bites vs. Mosquito Bites | Understanding Itchy Bumps

By proofPest

During warm weather, it’s no surprise to find bug bites littering your arms and legs. Creepy creatures come out in full force during the spring and summer, only tapering off in the fall and winter months. 

Between ants, wasps, spiders, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, it’s almost impossible to discern what pest bit you! After spending a long day outdoors in your backyard, you may have difficulty finding the difference between flea bites vs. mosquito bites.

Keep reading to learn more about the signature bite marks from these pesky insects! Plus, we’ll supply you with the best tips to keep these pets at bay!

When are Fleas and Mosquitoes Active?

Like most insects, mosquitoes and fleas are active primarily during warmer weather. 

According to the American Kennel Club, fleas are a year-round problem for a few of proof.’s service areas like Nevada and Arizona. In other locations like Michigan, New York, Colorado, Utah, and Massachusetts, fleas plague residents from around March to December. 

In humid or hot climates, mosquitoes can stick around throughout the year, but these pests are usually only active from early spring until fall. Mosquitoes don’t live longer than a few weeks, so one generation shouldn’t bother you for the entire summer. 

Flea Bites Vs. Mosquito Bites: Physical Appearance

Thankfully, unlike other common insect bites, it’s relatively easy to tell the difference between mosquito and flea bites. 

Flea bites are much smaller than mosquito bites, typically measuring only a few millimeters long. Mosquito bites vary in size but are only around half an inch in diameter. Depending on your reaction to mosquitoes, these bumps can grow much larger. 

Once a mosquito bites your skin, it injects its saliva into your blood. Like other allergens, your body creates histamine to fight the foreign intrusion, causing the bite and surrounding skin to swell. 

Similarly, flea bites can cause the same reaction, albeit with decreased swelling. Flea bites won’t provoke severe reactions for most individuals, but they can develop into small raised blisters. 

While flea and mosquito bites may feel and look slightly similar, there are ways to tell the two apart. Flea bites are bunched together in groups of three to five and are dark red. Mosquito bites may appear close together but can spread across your skin. 

Mosquito bites are much lighter than flea bites. After swelling, the surrounding skin will appear red and inflamed. Once you scratch your skin, your mosquito bite may look paler in color when contrasted against the red skin irritation. 

Where are Flea Bites vs. Mosquito Bites Located?

If you’re still struggling to figure out which pest has bitten you, the location of the insect bite is an excellent indication of what bug is ‘bugging’ you!

Both mosquitoes and fleas require blood to reproduce. Neither insect could successfully lay eggs without a human’s or animal’s blood. 

Because their primary diet involves blood, these pests can go to great lengths to reach their next meal. Despite our best efforts to keep mosquitoes away, these pests always manage to sneak by bug spray and other protection methods. 

Unlike other blood-sucking insects, mosquitoes have long sharp mouthpieces that can pierce through thin layers of clothing. While they prefer to bite exposed skin, mosquitoes can bypass your outerwear to deliver their itchy bites. 

Thankfully, fleas can’t bite through clothing. Their inability to fly also limits the areas where they can bite you. While mosquitoes can bite anywhere on your body, fleas typically only leave behind small bumps on your ankles or legs. 

Small brown flea biting a person's skin

a little flea bites on a human

It’s not uncommon to find flea bites elsewhere, but if you have itchy bites on the upper half of your body, it’s safe to assume they’re mosquito bites. 

The Dangers of Insect Bites

Despite the difference between flea bites vs. mosquito bites, these bumps usually aren’t more than the occasional annoyance. 

After the initial bite, most mosquito or flea bumps remain itchy for a few days before slowly healing on their own. You can use at-home remedies like ice packs to cool the overbearing itch and swelling or turn to over-the-counter products to speed up healing. 

You might want to scratch the area whenever the itch becomes unbearable, but scratching can create significant problems. Repeated skin irritation complicates healing and may introduce bacteria into the wounds, causing an unpleasant infection. 

Flea and mosquitoes can even transmit harmful pathogens through their bites as well. 

Some common mosquito-related illnesses are:

  • West Nile virus
  • Malaria 
  • Zika virus
  • Dengue 
  • Yellow fever

These diseases are uncommon in North America, but the West Nile virus is still a concern for many of proof.’s service areas. 

Flea bites can also cause problems for humans and pets alike. Historically, fleas were partially responsible for the spread of the plague across Europe, a disease surprisingly prevalent today. These pests can also cause typhus and contribute to cat-scratch fever. 

For your furry friends, fleas can spread harmful tapeworms, create itchy skin welts, and infect cats with cat-scratch disease. 

For most of these illnesses, you won’t experience anything more than flu-like symptoms. However, some conditions can develop into ailments with debilitating side effects or even be fatal. 

Avoiding Fleas and Mosquitoes

Besides their itchy and sometimes painful welts, no one wants to get sick from a bug bite! 

Reduce mosquito attractants in your yard to decrease the number of mosquitoes on your property. Remove rainwater buckets and empty any containers that may have collected water like toys, bowls, or backyard objects and tools. 

Without available water sources, the mosquitoes won’t have areas to lay their young, decreasing the number of pests you’ll have to deal with during warm temperatures. 

You can also prevent mosquito bites by wearing full-coverage clothing, applying bug spray, or installing mosquito netting around your porch or deck areas. Some mosquito traps can keep these nuisances from bothering you as you spend time outside too. 

Fleas are more difficult to manage alone, especially if you have pets. Because these pests jump and latch onto your dog or cat as they spend time outdoors, you might not notice how many insects have invaded your home until your pet starts scratching. 

You can help prevent fleas by applying flea treatments to your dog’s or cat’s skin and fur. Choose whatever alternative works best for your animal, like flea baths, collars, or gel treatments. 

There aren’t many effective DIY options for outdoor flea pest control. Regularly mowing your lawn and keeping other pests like rodents away can limit the number of fleas in your yard, but there isn’t a guaranteed method to remove them unless you use pest control.

Check out this video about why fleas are difficult to eliminate!

Instead of spending time wondering about the difference between flea bites vs. mosquito bites, contact proof. pest control to take care of the pests for you! 

You can trust proof. to remove these pests with our residential flea and mosquito services. Contact us today to learn more!

Call proof. pest control at 888-291-5333, or send us a message online.

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