Difference Between Bedbug and Tick

Bedbugs and ticks are both parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. Although they share some similarities, there are distinct differences between the two species. Understanding these differences is important for effective control and prevention of infestations.

What are Bedbugs?

A bedbug is a brown, flat and oval-shaped blood-sucking parasite; it is mostly likened to an apple seed. They belong to a specific family of insect known as Cimicidae. There are several species of bedbugs; however, Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus, are the most common species that infest humans.

Bedbugs live on the cracks of beds, bed frames and headboards. They live on the bedside because they usually feed on humans when they are asleep. Their bites are painless hence the attacked person notices the attack way later. The bitten skin turns red and has a darker spot in the middle. They are known to bite the neck, hands, arms and face of a human. In some people, the bites cause allergic reactions, for instance, severe itching.

Bedbugs do not, however, transmit or spread any human diseases. Bedbugs are tough to get rid of since their population grows fast. It is therefore advisable to invest in a professional pest controller once you detect their presence.

What are Ticks?

A tick is a tiny and wingless parasite. It belongs to the Arachnid class. There are various types of ticks for instance cattle tick, American deer tick and sheep tick. There are three families that ticks can be classified into −

  • Ixodidae (hard ticks)

  • Argasidae (soft ticks)

  • Nuttalliellidae

Ticks mostly thrive in areas that are warm and humid. For metamorphosis to take place, they need air that is moisturized at a certain percentage. Ticks stay at the end of leaves of both plants and shrubs as they wait for their hosts. Once the hosts come to feed, the ticks drop on them.

The tick bites cause bumps and itching on the host due to the anticoagulant. Since ticks cannot jump or fly they usually crawl around. Using their legs, they can detect changes in the host’s skin using a sensory organ called Haller’s organ.

Ticks are dangerous because they quickly spread diseases to the host since they feed on multiple hosts during their lifecycle.

Differences: Bedbugs and Ticks

In this section, let's find out the differences between Bedbugs and Ticks −

Appearance: Bedbug and Tick

The most obvious difference between bedbugs and ticks is their appearance. Bedbugs are small, flat insects that are reddish-brown in color. They have six legs and are roughly the size and shape of an apple seed. Ticks, on the other hand, are arachnids and have eight legs. They are also much larger than bedbugs, with some species measuring up to an inch in length. Ticks have a distinct oval-shaped body that is usually brown or black in color.

Habitat: Bedbug and Tick

Bedbugs are typically found in areas where people sleep or rest, such as mattresses, box springs, and headboards. They can also be found in cracks and crevices in walls, floors, and furniture. Bedbugs are primarily nocturnal and come out at night to feed on their hosts.

Ticks, on the other hand, are typically found in grassy, wooded areas and are most active during the warmer months. They can also be found on pets and livestock. Ticks wait for their hosts by climbing to the top of blades of grass or other vegetation, where they can easily latch onto passing animals or people.

Feeding Behavior

Both bedbugs and ticks feed on blood, but their feeding behaviors are quite different. Bedbugs usually feed on their hosts while they are sleeping, biting and then withdrawing to digest their meal. They do not stay attached to their hosts for long periods of time.

Ticks, on the other hand, stay attached to their hosts for extended periods of time, sometimes several days. During this time, they will feed on blood and can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick-borne encephalitis.

Health Risks

While both bedbugs and ticks can be a nuisance, ticks pose a greater health risk to humans and animals. As mentioned, ticks can transmit a variety of diseases, some of which can be serious or even fatal. Bedbugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can cause itching and discomfort, and in some cases, an allergic reaction.

Treatment and Prevention

The treatment and prevention strategies for bedbugs and ticks are also different. Bedbugs can be difficult to eradicate once they have infested a home or other structure. Treatment typically involves a combination of insecticides, vacuuming, and steam cleaning. Prevention strategies include regularly washing bedding and clothing, inspecting secondhand furniture before bringing it into the home, and sealing cracks and crevices where bedbugs can hide.

Preventing tick bites involves taking precautions when spending time outdoors, such as wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent, and checking for ticks after spending time in wooded or grassy areas. If a tick is found, it should be removed promptly using tweezers or a tick removal tool.

The following table highlights the major differences between Bedbugs and Ticks −




Type of host

Bedbugs feed on humans only.

Ticks feed on both human and animals.


Bedbugs only cause bumps and itches without spreading any disease.

Ticks feed on different hosts hence spread infections like tularemia and Lyme disease.

Number of legs

Bedbugs are insects they, therefore, have six legs.

ticks are arachnids like the spiders and therefore have eight legs.


To prevent bedbugs, you need to be cautious when unpacking before, after and during a trip. You also need to check for bedbugs in used furniture and clothing before taking them home.

For tick infestation prevention you need to avoid going to tick-infested areas. Wear protective clothing if you must go to the infested areas.


In conclusion, while bedbugs and ticks share some similarities, there are important differences between the two species in terms of appearance, habitat, feeding behavior, health risks, and treatment and prevention strategies. Understanding these differences is important for effective control and prevention of infestations, as well as for protecting oneself from the health risks associated with tick bites.

Updated on: 12-May-2023


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