Bed Bugs vs. Scabies

Identification & Differences Between Bed Bugs & Scabies
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Bed Bugs Vs. Scabies In New Jersey

Bed bugs have often been confused with fleas and carpet beetles and have been mistaken for ticks and cockroach nymphs among other biting insects. Less common but still worthy of discussing is the similarities and differences between bed bugs and scabies. Yes… we said scabies.

Bed Bugs

bed bug crawling on homeowner after finding its way into a new jersey home

  • Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed
  • 6 legs
  • Oval in shape
  • Wingless
  • Flat (unless they’ve recently had a blood meal)


rendering of a scabies mite feeding on a new jersey homeowner

  • Less than a half a millimeter long and resemble tiny black dots on skin
  • 8 legs
  • Round in shape
  • Eyeless & wingless
  • Sac-like bodies

What are bed bugs?

The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a small insect that prefers to feed on the blood of humans. They will also feed on warm-blooded animals. They frequently infest areas where people congregate and are attracted to the carbon dioxide levels in human respiration.

What is scabies? defines scabies an infestation of tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei. Not an infection, these mites burrow or “tunnel” through the outer layers of skin, laying two to three eggs a day. They will continue to tunnel in the skin for up to 10mm.  

What are the signs of a bed bug infestation?

Common signs of bed bugs include:

  •   Live bugs on mattresses and box springs, bed frames, and other furniture
  •   Bites on arms, legs, and other extremities
  •   Fresh or dried blood stains on fabric including bed sheets and furniture upholstery
  •   Tiny black droppings on infested items including mattresses and boxsprings, bedding, and furniture

To learn more about other signs of a bed bug infestation and bed bug prevention tips, click the button below. 

Signs Of A Bed Bug Infestation

What are the signs or symptoms of scabies?

  •   Intense itching, mainly at night.
  •   Rash that causes bumps that may look like hives, tiny bites, or pimples.
  •   Sores that result from scratching and that can lead to an infection.
  •   Irritability especially in babies and children.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), scabies can develop anywhere on the skin but are more likely to be discovered on hands (in the skin between the fingers and around the nails), arms (they have a preference for elbows and wrists), and burrowed in skin covered by clothing and/or jewelry (i.e., chest, privates, and the belt line). It is important to note, that in the case of scabies in children, the rash can cover most of the body while in adults, scabies rarely burrow into skin above the neck.

Telling the difference between bed bug bites and scabies rash

Bed bug bites

bed bug bites on a new jersey homeowners neck

  • Bed bug bites are typically red in color.
  • Bites may show up in clusters or in a line often noted as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Bed bug bites are often raised bumps or welts.

Scabies bites

arm of new jersey homeowner after being bite by scabies mites

  • Scabies rash may present red and sometimes has whitish gray or skin-colored lines.
  • Scabies rash is often found in patches and sometimes in irregular rows.
  • Scabies rash may resemble raised lines, tiny bites, blisters, pimple-like bumps, and scales.

Treating bed bugs versus treating scabies

To resolve an infestation of scabies on your person, you will need to contact your physician. There are products, called scabidcides on the market to treat human scabies but are available by prescription only. Please note, that if you have developed scabies and live-in close proximity or have had prolonged skin-to-skin contact with other individuals, they should be evaluated for treatment as well. 

If you’re concerned that furniture, carpeting, or other areas of your home have been infested by scabies, please note that scabies mites cannot survive more than three days away from human skin. While the CDC states that fumigation of living areas is not necessary, they do recommend:

  • Washing bedding, clothing, and towels used by a person with scabies in hot water and drying using the hottest temperature permissible.
  • Removing items that cannot be washed from any body contact for at least 72 hours.

Getting rid of bed bugs is quite different from the treatment of scabies and requires professional bed bug control to successfully eradicate these biting pests. While there are many ways to kill bed bugs, Arrow Pest Control of Morganville, New Jersey utilizes a proven bed bug treatment protocol that includes:

  • A thorough bed bug inspection to confirm the presence of bed bugs and to determine the severity of the infestation.
  • An intensive initial service that includes the use of physical, thermal, and conventional means to eliminate adult bed bugs, bed bug nymphs, and eggs.
  • Two (2) follow visits spread out over a six (6) week period to ensure that the entire bed bug population has been eradicated.

Don’t lose sleep over bed bugs!

If you’re waking up to bites and itching and are concerned that you’re sharing your home with bed bugs, scabies, or another biting insect, please contact Arrow Pest Control.  Serving AberdeenNeptune, Chatham, and Bloomfield as well as communities throughout our multi-county service area, our team of local pest control pros are ready to help you determine if there is an active infestation of bed bugs and if so, provide you with a plan and pricing to eliminate them from your home. Don’t lose another night’s sleep, contact us for the best in bed bug control today! 

Dr. Lisa L.


‟Arrow and Brian with Arrow were amazing! He came same day when we heard scary noises in our attic. He found mice and a loose wire and even took a photo so we could see. He worked hard to crawl into a tiny space and we are so appreciate!! We can sleep tonight thanks to him.”
Dr. Lisa L.
East Brunswick, NJ
Arrow Pest Control received an average rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars from 1380 reviews. 5.0 Read Google Reviews

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