Scabies vs. Bed Bugs

Scabies and bed bugs are two widespread pests that may wreak havoc on our lives. This article includes key differences between these tiny tormentors, from their causes and symptoms to the methods of treatment and appearance.

What are Scabies Mites?

Scabies mites, scientifically known as Sarcoptes scabiei, represent tiny parasites that penetrate the skin, triggering intense itching and a rash. These contagious mites spread through close skin-to-skin contact and lay eggs in the skin’s outer layers. Scabies infestations demand medical treatment to address the mites and facilitate symptoms.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small and reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are nocturnal pests, hiding in cracks and crevices during the day and coming out at night to bite and feed. Bed bug infestations may be complicated to eradicate and usually demand professional pest control intervention.

What is the Difference?

Scabies mites and bed bugs are both parasitic pests that may infest human homes and trigger skin irritation. Nevertheless, they differ in a few ways. In particular, causes, symptoms, appearance, where they live, how they spread, and treatment methods of scabies mites and bed bugs are different. Proper identification is of decisive importance for effective treatment.


Scabies mites and bed bugs are common household pests with distinct causes. Scabies mites represent microscopic parasites that infest human skin, while bed bugs are blood-feeding insects that hide in bedding and furniture. Both scabies mites and bed bugs trigger skin irritation and discomfort.

Scabies mites

Scabies mites, or Sarcoptes scabiei, trigger scabies, a highly contagious skin infestation. These microscopic parasites penetrate into the skin, laying eggs and causing intense itching, rashes, and discomfort in affected people. Close contact with an infected individual is the major mode of transmission.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are commonly caused by infestations in homes, hotels, or other locations. They may be introduced through luggage, utilized furniture, or clothing. Lack of proper sanitation and regular pest control measures may likewise contribute to their presence.


Scabies mites and bed bugs both trigger itchy skin conditions. Scabies symptoms involve intense itching, rashes, and burrowed skin tracks. Bed bug bites lead to red, itchy welts commonly discovered on exposed areas such as arms and legs. Consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Scabies mites

Scabies mites may trigger relentless itching, usually worse at night since they burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Red, pimple-like rashes, tiny tracks, and sores may develop. These symptoms are commonly found in areas where mites have infested.

Bed Bugs

Bed bug symptoms involve itchy, red bites usually in clusters on the skin. These small, oval insects leave behind bloodstains on sheets and fecal spots. Some individuals may experience mild allergic reactions. Inspection and professional pest control are advisable for eradication.


Aside from having different causes and symptoms, scabies mites and bed bugs are not similar in appearance. Scabies mites are tiny, nearly invisible parasites that burrow into the skin. In contrast, bed bugs are reddish-brown insects with a flattened oval shape, usually visible to the naked eye.

Scabies mites

Scabies mites are minuscule and elusive. They burrow into the skin to lay eggs. Their presence results in a distressing, red, and itchy rash. As a rule, identifying these tiny pests may be complicated due to their size.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, flat, oval-shaped insects measuring around 5 mm in length. They are characterized by their reddish-brown coloration and absence of burrowing behavior. These blood-feeding pests are known for their ability to hide in cracks and crevices, making them a difficult nuisance to eliminate.

Where They Live

Scabies mites and bed bugs are tiny parasites that infest human environments. What makes them different is where they live. Scabies mites burrow into the skin, while bed bugs hide in mattresses and cracks. However, there is something in common between scabies mites and bed bugs. Both can thrive in warm and close quarters. This makes careful cleaning and pest control crucial.

Scabies mites

Being microscopic parasites, scabies mites burrow into human skin, favoring warm, moist areas such as between fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, beltline, and genitals. These tiny pests trigger intense itching and discomfort, making their choice of dwelling spots particularly distressing for affected individuals.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are known as nocturnal pests that inhabit the hidden spaces of our homes. They dwell in the crevices of furniture, mattresses, box springs, and bed frames, coming out under the cover of darkness to feed on unsuspecting hosts. Vigilance and professional pest control are of utmost importance for eliminating these stealthy invaders.

How They Spread

There is no doubt that scabies mites and bed bugs are pesky parasites. For instance, scabies mites may be easily spread through direct contact. They burrow into the skin, usually transmitting during close personal contact. At the same time, bed bugs hitch a ride on clothing, luggage, or furniture. Both pests may infest homes rapidly, triggering discomfort and demanding prompt eradication.


Scabies mites may spread through close, prolonged physical contact, sharing towels, clothes, or bedding, and even through sexual contact. These tiny parasites burrow into the skin and may cause intense itching and discomfort. Practicing good hygiene and avoiding close contact with infected individuals may assist in preventing scabies transmission.

Bed Bugs

Being notorious travelers, bed bugs spread by hitchhiking on luggage, clothes, and furniture. Unlike direct contact transmission, these sneaky pests stow away and infest new locations undetected. Vigilance in checking belongings may aid in preventing their unwanted journeys.

Getting Rid of Infestations

Scabies mites and bed bugs are widespread household pests that may trigger discomfort and skin irritations. To address unwanted infestations, careful cleaning, washing bedding in hot water, and utilizing insecticides or prescribed scabies treatments are required. In addition, you may consult a professional for severe cases to ensure effective eradication and prevention measures.


To address scabies mite infestations, prescription topical creams and oral medications are of decisive importance. These treatment methods effectively target the mites and their eggs. Moreover, washing clothes and bedding in hot water may assist individuals in preventing reinfestation, ensuring complete eradication of these troublesome parasites.

Bed Bugs

Getting rid of bed bug infestations demands professional extermination services, involving traps, heat treatments, and insecticides. Moreover, extreme cleaning measures like washing and vacuuming bedding may aid you in eliminating these stubborn pests. Rapid action and careful treatment are crucial to successfully eradicate bed bugs from your home.

Treatment Differences

Scabies mites and bedbugs, being parasitic pests, only bring irritation and discomfort to the skin. Although both infections may have similar symptoms, their treatment approaches differ significantly. It’s worth noting that scabies requires topical medications to kill the mites, and bed bugs are usually killed using insecticides and thorough cleaning of the infested areas.


Scabies treatment assumes addressing both affected individuals and their close contacts. Medicated creams such as Stromectol are regarded as the major approach to effectively kill mites. In some cases, various medications may be necessary for comprehensive management. Early intervention and careful treatment of all involved parties are crucial for successful scabies control.

Bed Bugs

When dealing with bed bugs, it is of paramount importance to give attention to treating the environment, not individuals. Effective methods involve insecticide application to infested areas and careful cleaning. Treating places, not people, is key to eradicating these resilient pests and preventing their resurgence.


To conclude, although scabies and bed bugs may share some similarities in triggering skin irritation and discomfort, they are distinct in their biology, symptoms, causes, and treatment methods. Recognizing the differences between the two is of decisive importance for effective management and prevention. Seeking professional medical assistance is key to addressing these infestations properly.


How do I know if I have scabies or bed bugs?

To determine whether you have scabies or bed bugs, you should pay attention to the location of symptoms, degree of itching, and bite patterns.

What’s worse bed bugs or scabies?

Both bed bugs and scabies may spell trouble for individuals.

Can scabies live in a mattress?

Scabies mites primarily live on the human body.

What does a scabies bite look like?

Common characteristics of scabies bites are red and pimple-like bumps. Sometimes they may appear in a row.