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Scabies vs. Bed Bugs: What is the Difference?

Scabies. Bed bugs. The words alone can make one shiver and tremble with revolt. Unfortunately, these pests are real and they do affect many homes every year. Knowing how to identify them is the best way to protect your house from a future invasion. Above all, the best thing to do if you notice any of the below listed symptoms is to stay calm. Hiring a scabies/bed bug exterminator will certainly get rid of the pests, but this process will be facilitated the sooner you know exactly what you are dealing with. Here is a brief overview of the differences between scabies and bed bugs; make sure to read through this list thoroughly, as it can be difficult to distinguish them.

How to tell if you have Scabies or Bed Bugs

  • Scabies live inside skin, while bed bugs live inside furniture
  • Scabies are smaller; bed bugs congregate in host areas and bite inhabitants
  • Bed bugs tend to bite (generally painless) their victims in clusters of three; this is how most doctors diagnose their patients
  • Scabies prefer to burrow in folds of skin; check the inner linings between your fingers, armpits and backs of knees for quick detection
  • Bedbugs are nocturnal; turning a light on in the middle of the night will give you a glimpse of what is going on. These critters will quickly run and hide, however, so be sure to keep an eye out

The key difference between scabies and bed bugs is that the former live inside of us, while the latter live inside our furniture. As disgusting as that sounds, this information is vital for detection purposes. In addition, scabies tend to be much smaller; bed bugs are like fleas and ticks. They grow with size as they live off of blood. The bites from these pests tend to be concentrated in clusters of three; chances are, your doctor will be examining the rash on your body thoroughly for this symptom.

One way to tell if you have scabies is to check the skin between your fingers, under your armpits and behind your knees. These are the places they love to hide (warm, moist and dark), and as such are the first places you should look. Lastly, you can tell if you have a bed bug infestation by turning on the light in your room during the middle of the night. These insects are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. For a moment, you may visibly see them scurry into the crevices of your furniture. Given that you will likely not be going back to sleep after this experience; be sure to call a bed bug exterminator immediately.

  • Shannon Tobey

    Went to doctor yesterday. She looked only at my boyfriend’s back and decided he/ we have bedbugs…but all the signs are of scabies. Seems to be same medicine and cleaning process though to get rid of the little bastards.

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