Bed Bugs vs. Scabies
While the two are sometimes confused, bed bugs and scabies are actually very different pests.
Also known as Human Mange, Scabies are a type of mite that is transferred from human to human when people are in very close proximity with one another, similar to Head Lice. These microscopic mites burrow into the shallow layers of your skin, remaining there to live out their lives, breed and lay their eggs. Contrary to popular belief, they do not come from exposure to a dog with Mange, as Human Mange is a different subspecies of mite that requires a human host – only surviving a matter of days without one.
Bed Bugs, on the other hand, can live an entire year without a blood-meal interaction with their human host. These creepy pests are insects and can be transferred from location to location on clothes, bags, luggage, etc. – not requiring human interaction.
There are two things to look for when identifying scabies bites: burrows and a rash. As a collection, the bites will appear as a pimple-like rash with scaly skin and tiny blisters. This rash is notoriously very itchy and can become infected if it splits open. Finding small burrows in the clusters of red bites is a clear sign that the rash you have is indeed caused by Scabies. These are very miniscule tubular shaped caverns raised a bit above the skin surface and surrounded by gray/white skin. Scabies bites can often be found on the webbing between fingers or toes, wrists, armpits, elbows and more.
Bed Bug Bites
Unlike the bites of scabies, Bed Bug bites are small itchy red bumps often arranged in lines. Bed Bugs have a tendency to bite… walk a ways… bite again… and so on, hence the linear pattern. Bed bugs also tend to target exposed skin so parts of your body not covered by pajamas like your arms, legs, ankles, neck, etc., are at risk of being bit.
While we can treat homes for bed bugs, scabies are a different story entirely. These mites can only be eradicated with Prescription Ointments. If you suspect your biting pests may be scabies, not bed bugs, we recommend calling your doctor right away to seek proper treatment.
Parasites: Scabies (2010) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Global Health Division of Parasitic Diseases. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/index.html (Accessed: April 2020).