How do I Know if I have Scabies or Bed bug?

While scabies and bed bug symptoms are almost similar and it may be difficult to identify the two without a doctor’s advice, there are still many difference between the two as either skin infection is caused by different species of insects. While both the bed bug and scabies insects feed on human blood, the bed bug feeds from the outside, and the scabies mite burrows inside the skin.

Scabies and bed bugs both are equally irritating and problematic. While bed bugs have specially designed mouth that allows them to stay on the human skin and suck blood and then scurry off to their hiding spot, scabies mites burrow under the sink, lay eggs, and feed on the blood.

Bed bugs are really small in size, and are masters at hiding. It is therefore very difficult to spot them with the naked eye. Scabies mites are again microscopic. These, also known as human itch mites, cannot be seen from the naked eye, even when they are on the skin.

Bed bug bites generally occur around the arms, legs, shoulders, back and on the face. Scabies mites prefer moist areas of the skin. Scabies generally sprouts between the fingers and toes, in the armpits, under the nails or around the waist and groin area.

When the two skin infections are so similar, who do you know when you have either of the two?

Some simple ways to tell the difference between a bed bugs and scabies include:

It is to be noted that scabies is typically more visible and it produces intense itching, especially when the infected person sleeps at night. Scabies can also lead to open sores, rashes and infection, though these can happen with bed bug bites too.

Bed bugs bites lead to raised red welts that generally three in a row. Scabies mite burrows on the other hand appear as reddish white lines. At the onset of scabies, the bites can look pretty similar to bed bug bites.

When scabies goes untreated, and the infection spreads under the skin, the infected person can develop yellow crusting and skin lesions in large patches all over the skin.

Where’s the difference and how to treat?

Difference – Bed Bug Bites and Scabies
Bed bugs occur in a pattern on the skin Scabies can spread around a large area on the skin
The bug bites are visible as red swollen bumps on shoulders, neck, back, face or arms and legs Usually seen as white and red lines or burrows between the fingers and toes, around the waist, under the armpits or other comparatively moist areas on the skin
Bed bugs feed on human blood and then  return to their hiding spots Scabies mites dig burrows in the human skin, lay eggs, feed on the blood and remain in the burrows
Beg bugs are to be treated with pesticides Scabies can be treated with special creams and lotions
Bed bugs are not contagious, but they can spread from bedding, clothing etc Scabies is contagious, it spread through direct contact and through bedding, clothing and other household items


This is the bottom line – whenever you suspect either bed bugs or scabies, you must promptly identify the pest. As you must have learnt from the information above, it’s not going to easy for you. So the best idea is to consider immediate professional assistance.

A doctor, more specifically a dermatologist can help identify the infection for you and treat you accordingly.

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