General Question

nocountry2's avatar

How can you tell the difference between a spider bite and a flea bite?

Asked by nocountry2 (3670 points ) April 30th, 2008 from iPhone

Any personal experiences? Can pet fleas bite people in their sleep? I really I have too many bites at once for it to be a spider…

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16 Answers

peedub's avatar

From my experience, spider bites become much more raised and last longer. Plus, coinciding with what you mentioned, I don’t think spiders tend to leave a bunch of bites at once, but bed bugs do!!!

shilolo's avatar

Where do you live? Are there actual spiders in your area? In my experience, a lot of people attribute painful skin infections, abscesses, boils, etc. to spider bites when in fact spider bites are quite rare. Also, they typically have a central painful black area called an eschar with a surrounding area of redness.
Fleas absolutely bite people, usually at night, and usually in exposed areas like the ankles and wrists. You might actually see/catch fleas, but they are very small and quick. Other things that can bite at night include mites, mosquitoes and the dreaded bed bugs.

gailcalled's avatar

See nocountry’s other question about bites in bed

And I thought that the mites that hide in bed linens were microscopic and caused allergic reactions. What kind bite? Do I really want to know? I have enough concerns w. Lyme ticks to keep me busy.

Mrs_Dr_Frank_N_Furter's avatar

when you get a spider bite doesn’t it show like little red spots around the bite?

gailcalled's avatar

See first hit for spider bites.

They are nasty and vary in severity, depending on the kind of spider.

@Mrs: happy to google for you this once.

gailcalled's avatar

It gets worse; shilolo drove me to this. bed bug bites

shilolo's avatar

@Peedub, My understanding is that unless there is a very heavy infestation, bedbugs are actually quite difficult to see with the naked eye. Moreover, they don’t necessarily live in the bed, but can live in the headboard, cracks in the floor, closet, etc. Here is a useful website from the Harvard School of Public Health. Some people only find blood streaks in the bed but never actually witness a bed bug.

shilolo's avatar

@Gail, I looked at the link you posted for spider bites. Of the three images, only the first and the second might be spider bites. The one on the left is consistent with a staphylococcal superinfection of a spider bite, while the middle one may be an early spider bite. The last is a picture of someone with necrotizing fasciitis, the so called flesh eating bacteria. Just clarifying.

nocountry2's avatar

Good stuff people, thanks for your help. I’ve actually experienced bed bugs in Honduras, and for me they basically bit up every part of my body that was touching the bed. These bites are scattered from my ankle to thigh, mostly on the top and various shapes and sizes, so I’m starting to lean towards the flea theory….guess the 6 pets in the house need some Advantage, eh

gailcalled's avatar

Well, guess who is sleeping standing up tonight?

buster's avatar

you see two fangholes with a spiderbite at some point. other bites usually just one knot .

shilolo's avatar

@nocountry. Your description sounds like fleas to me. You should definitely inspect your pets, and their beds. You might even catch a few (on you)... Be wary, they are very jumpy. You might even need to get yourself some Fleabusters.

peedub's avatar

@shilolo- The name ‘bedbugs’ might be a misnomer in that they may live in other areas than a bed, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that many do live in beds. Secondly, I live in Brooklyn and I’ve seen bedbugs firsthand on more than one occasion. The fact that one doesn’t often see them, if this is in fact the case, does not mean that they cannot be seen by the naked eye, and let me just say they are gross.

cheebdragon's avatar

most flea bites itch like crazy but spider bites hurt more most of time, i got bit by a spider on my knee once omg my knee was seriously almost 3 times the size as my other knee for 2 days and then it just went back to normal one night while i was sleeping. i hate spiders…

jaketulane's avatar

Who keeps fleas for pets? What a kooky kid… but I’ll throw an answer at you anyway.

Look for more than one entry wound with a spider bite. Just wear a flea collar to bed. If it works for poochie it might work for you!

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