Flea Bites vs Mosquito Bites: What’s the Difference

Flea Bites vs Mosquito Bites

If you’re itching a sizable red sore on your body and want to know what kind of blood-sucking insect caused it, this article might help. Flea bites and mosquito bites have one thing in common: they’re both incredibly uncomfortable, irritating, and itching. 

Fleas can transmit illnesses to humans. Mosquito, tick, and flea bite illnesses have increased in the United States, with over 640,000 cases documented between 2004 and 2016. Apart from these similarities, there are significant differences between flea bites vs mosquito bites. 

Common Insect Bites Besides Flea Bites and Mosquito Bites

Insects and other organisms such as fleas and mosquitoes aren’t the only ones that may cause comparable bites. Here are some other common bites including insect bites :

  • Bed bug bites
  • Spider Bites- black widow spider bites or brown recluse bites such as brown recluse spider bites are extremely dangerous
  • Tick bites -some carry Lyme disease
  • Ant bites and stings
  • Mite and chigger bites -cause intense itching
  • Deer fly bites 

Flea Bites vs Mosquito Bites

Although blood-sucking insects produce both flea and mosquito bites, there are some noticeable variations in the appearance and feel of these bites. Flea bites cause an itching welt on the epidermis, ankles, and legs in most cases. Mosquito bites on the other hand create a raised, painful pink mark on the skin that can, on rare occasions, trigger severe allergic responses for example meat allergy. 

6 main differences between flea bites and mosquito bites

Here are the top 6 main differences that can help you distinguish between flea bites and mosquito bites.  

1.  Appearance

Flea bites frequently appear in clusters. It’s a red lump that’s exceedingly irritating and painful. They may occur in clusters, but the color of each bite varies from pink to dark crimson. 

Mosquito bites are pink-skin bumps. The pink skin bump is isolated and emerges randomly on parts of the human body that aren’t covered by clothing. 

2.  Reaction time

Mosquito bites can be uncomfortable. The skin reaction might emerge minutes or hours after a mosquito has bitten you. A mosquito bite is itchy for the first few hours after being bitten, then the itching plus skin irritation goes away, while the lump goes away after a few days. 

An allergy to mosquito bites might cause a more severe reaction and even a risk of infection by diseases from mosquito. You may get welts, hives, or blisters. Mosquito bites can create bumps of varying degrees and sizes. The area around the bite will enlarge and get red. The welts may be painful to touch. 

In comparison, the bites of fleas can blister and even develop into tiny wounds in rare situations. Being attacked by fleas regularly might aggravate your response and require a medical emergency. The skin around the flea bites may swell or grow to reddish bumps red. If fleas bite you regularly, it might lead to a chronic illness known as papular urticaria within a couple of days. This is a kind of hive that can appear anywhere on the body. 

3.  Infection

Mosquito bites can cause dangerous infectious diseases besides the common symptoms like itchy spots, dark spots, or discomfort on the bite spot. These illnesses kill over 725,000 individuals each year, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Mosquitoes transmit a variety of illnesses, mostly infections through blood especially in high risk areas, but the following are the most common mosquito-borne diseases; 

  • Dengue fever
  • West Nile fever
  • Zika
  • Yellow fever
  • Malaria
  • Fever tularemia
  • Muscular pain

Flea infections

Flea bites can cause symptoms within hours of being bitten and usually develop in 2-3 bite groups. Rashes of tiny, red bumps that may or may not bleed are all symptoms. When you press on a flea-bite rash, it becomes white and grows larger or spread. According to NIH National Library of Medicine, scratching the inflammation might cause a skin infection, which may require medical care for the flea treatment. 

Fleas can be infected with the bacteria causing plague in exceedingly rare circumstances. Wild rodents can transmit the disease to pets and people.  According to CDC, there have been between 1 – 17 cases of plague documented in the United States in the last ten years, with the majority occurring in the rural West. Swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, and chills are all symptoms of plague, and they develop one to six days after the bite. Flea-borne diseases can also be dangerous. 

4.  Symptoms

The symptoms of flea bites and mosquito bites are distinct, which may aid in determining which type a person has.

Most people experience itchy pink bumps with puncture holes in the center because of mosquito bites. They usually show a few hours or days after the bite has occurred. 2-3 bites are enough to trigger symptoms.  

Mosquito bite symptoms

People who are allergic to mosquito bites may have the following symptoms: 

  • Blisters,
  • Fever.
  • Swollen joints
  • Anaphylaxis- occurs in people who have severe allergies.

Flea bite symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a flea bite differ. Symptoms may be more severe if the flea has an illness or if an allergic response occurs.

Typical signs and symptoms include: 

  • Skin that is inflamed and itchy.
  • The bite has a darkened ring around it. 

The following are examples of more severe symptoms depending on the flea species: 

  • Hives, shortness of breath, and swelling.
  • A flea-borne illness infection results in fever, headache, nausea, body aches, abdominal pain, and dizziness.
  • Flea-borne spotted fever
  • Infections through blood 

5. Treatment

Mosquito bites are rarely severe enough to require medical care. Anaphylactic reactions to mosquito bites are relatively uncommon. Mosquito bites are not deadly, but because of the itching, sharp pain, and redness, they are exceedingly annoying. Hives, blisters, and swelling are all potential side effects of the bites, adding misery. Topical treatment with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream can help relieve the itching. Apply a cold washcloth or an ice pack to the bite if it swells. If a blister forms, take care not to rupture it. You must wash mosquito bites with water and disinfected soap since they are deep wounds. 

The saliva of mosquitoes causes the symptoms on the human body, not by the bite itself. Cleaning the bite will remove any remaining saliva residues. You can relieve itching and swelling with antihistamines and topical gels. If you have an insect allergy, you may experience anaphylactic shock after being bitten. If the response appears to be extremely severe then conventional treatment is necessary, get emergency medical help. 

Although this is quite unusual, you should never be too careful when it comes to a significant allergic reaction.  Mosquitoes can also carry infections,  and that can cause other severe symptoms. 

Flea treatment

The flea bites rarely require medical attention. Over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-itch lotions or ointments can help reduce itchy skin and pain. However, if you experience more severe symptoms because of the itchy bites, visit your doctor for advice on conventional treatment.  

It’s common for a secondary infection to develop, especially in youngsters. To prevent scratching, keep your child’s nails short. Keep in mind that fleas defecate while feeding on your blood. It is why it’s so important to cleanse the afflicted region thoroughly. 

Flea bites have the potential to spread illnesses. Seek medical attention if you develop a high fever or other severe symptoms after being bitten. 

6. Prevention

There are a few precautions that individuals may take to reduce their chance of being bitten by insects. To prevent flea bites, you must first eliminate the fleas. Your pet is more prone to get bitten by fleas. Examine your pet’s ears, neck, back, and belly for fleas. 

If you have a pet, use flea shampoo or treatment that your veterinarian has recommended. If you have a flea infestation, wash bedding, all toys, and soft furnishings that may have come into touch with the fleas.  Keep the house clean always to discourage house flies. Everything that can’t be cleaned will have to be discarded—vacuum all surfaces, including the sofa, with a vacuum cleaner. To avoid reintroducing the fleas, remember to dump the vacuum far away from the house. 

You can avoid mosquito bites by keeping them out of your home. Avoid having standing or stagnant water near your property, such as ponds or water barrels, since they might serve as a mosquito breeding ground. Plant citronella outside on window sills to prevent mosquitos or use an incense burner with a few drops of citronella or lavender oil inside as a natural deterrent. 

Comparison Table Between Flea bites and Mosquito Bites

Here is a quick summary table to illustrate the key differences between flea bites and mosquito bites 

 Flea bitesMosquito bites
Bite symptomsFleabites form tiny, itchy bumps on the skin.Mosquito bites create a raised, painful pink mark on the skin with puncture holes in the center
Bite developmentThe center of some bites may be dark red. They may turn into blisters. And become infected by scratching these bites.A mosquito bite is itchy for the first few hours after being bitten, then the itching goes away, and the lump goes away after a few days
Bite patternFleabites can form lines or clusters.Mosquito bites are isolated
Bite frequencyFleas bite anytime they get the opportunity.Mosquitoes mostly bite at night or sunset


You now understand the differences, similarities, and dangers of both flea bites and mosquito bites. Have you ever been bitten by insects such as fleas or mosquitos and what was your experience? Remember that depending on the bite source, you can experience a wide range of risks beyond the bite spot.

Some bites can cause severe conditions besides the usual irritated skin and allergic reactions.  Some of these conditions include abdominal pain, allergic contact dermatitis, contact dermatitis diabetic ulcers, diastolic blood pressure, fever tularemia, flea-borne spotted fever, fever tick paralysis, tickborne diseases, etc.

Please feel free to share your experiences on any bites you might have encountered and remember to help a friend by sharing this article across social media.