Difference between Ticks and Bed bugs

 

Key difference: Ticks are tiny, wingless, ectoparasites that belong to the Arachnida class, the same class that spiders belong to. In order to attach to a host, the ticks climb to the ends of leaves, plants and shrubs and wait for the host to pass by them. They then attach themselves to the host and find an appropriate place to feed, which include traveling all over the body. The bed bug, on the other hand, is a reddish brown, oval and flat insect, shaped like an apple seed. They usually live and hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames.

 

Ticks are tiny, wingless, ectoparasites that belong to the Arachnida class, the same class that spiders belong to. There are various different types of ticks such as the American deer tick, sheep tick, and cattle tick. Ticks can be classified into three families: Ixodidae (hard ticks), Argasidae (soft ticks) and Nuttalliellidae. The hard ticks often have a small hard shell on the back of their mouths. They are often found all over the world, commonly in warm, wooded and humid conditions. Ticks require a certain amount of moisture in the air for metamorphosis. Ticks do not spend their whole lives on one host and depend on a variety of hosts from a variety of species for nutrition.

 

Ticks are divided into two primary sections: the anterior capitulum and the posterior idiosoma. The anterior capitulum contains the head and mouth of the ticks, while the posterior idiosoma contains the legs, stomach and reproductive organs. Like all arachnids, ticks have eight legs. They have a two year life cycle, during which they can infect up to three hosts. In order to attach to a host, the ticks climb to the ends of leaves, plants and shrubs and wait for the host to pass by them. They then attach themselves to the host and find an appropriate place to feed, which include traveling all over the body. They also like shaded areas such as the ears, hair, the inside of the arms, etc. After the ticks are full, they drop from the human and hide until they require another feeding for metamorphosis.

 

The ticks feed by inserting their pincers into the host and excreting an anticoagulant to keep the blood from clogging. The anticoagulant is what often causes the bumps and the itchiness. The ticks cannot jump or fly and are usually crawl to get anywhere they want. Their legs also contain a unique sensory organ known as the Haller's organ, which can detect odors and chemical changes to the host’s skin. Ticks are considered dangerous because they are known to spread diseases and pathogens to the host. Also since they do not spend their whole lives attach to one host, they can often spread germs and diseases from one host to another.

 

The bed bug, on the other hand, is a reddish brown, oval and flat insect, shaped like an apple seed. The newly hatched bed bug nymphs are colorless and have a translucent exoskeleton. They usually live and hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames.

 

The bed bugs usually feed at night when the person in sleeping. The bite of a bed bug is usually red, and often has a darker red spot in the middle. The bites are mainly arranged in a cluster or a line pattern and they may or may not itch depending on the person. Bed bugs are known to bite on the face, neck, arms and hands of the person. Some people might have an allergic reaction to the bite that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.

 

While, both are parasitic infections, there are certain differences between the two. The main difference is that bed bugs are insects, while ticks are arachnids like spiders. However, both feed on the blood of humans and animals. Ticks usually attack individually and especially outside, whereas bed bugs will lead to an infestation within the house, mainly beds, other furniture, floorboards and crevices. Ticks will just attach themselves to the host and feed until it is full, then drop. While, bed bugs come out at night from their hiding places and attack their hosts while they are sleeping. Once the bed bugs are full, they will disappear back into their hiding places until the next night.

 

A detailed comparison between ticks and bed bugs:

 

 

Ticks

Bed bugs

Kingdom

Animalia

Animalia

Phylum

Arthropoda

Arthropoda

Class

Arachnida

Insecta

Subclass

Acari

Pterygota

Infraclass

 

Neoptera

Superorder

Parasitiformes

Paraneoptera

Order

Ixodida

Hemiptera

Species

Tick species are divided among three families: Ixodidae, Argasidae and Nuttalliellidae. Ixodidae has around 700 familes, while Argasidae has over 190 speices. Nuttalliellidae only has one speices.

Cimex lectularius is the most common bed bug that affects humans. Other species that may affect other animals include, bat bugs, C. pipistrelli (Europe), C. pilosellus (western US), and C. adjunctus (entire eastern US). Most species feed on humans only when other prey is unavailable.

Nature

Parasite – small arachnid

Parasite – insect

Description

Ticks’ bodies are divided into two sections: the anterior capitulum and the posterior idiosoma. The former contains the head and mouth parts, while the latter holds the legs, stomach and reproductive organs.  Ticks have eight legs like all arachnids. Ticks have four live stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph and adult.

Bedbugs are reddish brown, oval and flat, about the size of an apple seed. They have no hind wings. The front wings are vestigial and reduced to pad-like structures. Bed bugs have segmented abdomens with microscopic hairs that give them a banded appearance. Adults grow to 4–5 mm in length and 1.5–3 mm wide. Can survive a wide range of temperatures and atmospheric compositions. Can survive for at least five days at −10 °C (14 °F), but will die after 15 minutes of exposure to −32 °C (−26 °F)

Affects

Ticks only attach them to hosts when they require feed and fall of after the feeding is complete. They often attach and feed on animals, birds and mammals.

Live in cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames. Are active only at night.

Causes

Ticks attach themselves to leaves, plants, shrubs etc. waiting for the arrival of a host. Once the host brushes past the tick, it firmly attaches itself to the host before finding a good place to feed. They are often found on arms, stomach, behind ears and hairs. They can also be spread from clothes to skin or from animals to humans.

Breed in cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames. Dwellings can become infested in a variety of ways, such as: bugs and eggs inadvertently brought in from other infested dwellings by visiting pets; or a visiting person's clothing or luggage; infested items (such as furniture, clothing, or backpacks) brought in; nearby dwellings are infected; wild animals may introduced bugs or eggs in the dwelling; people or pets visit an infested area (such as an apartment, subway, movie theatre, or hotel) and carry the bugs back.

Risk factors

The greatest risk of getting ticks in addition to loss of blood is that ticks can spread diseases fast. When they attach themselves to the host, they insert their mouth into the skin and can also leave behind pathogens. They may also secrete a substance that would keep the host from knowing that it is being fed on.

Bedbugs are usually active at night and early morning, when its prey is sleeping heavily. The bulk of the activity usually takes place between 5 am and 6 am. They feed for 3 to 10 minutes then leave to hide. During the day, they hide in cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards and bed frames. They may even hide in floorboards, walls and neighboring rooms. They can travel very fast. Hence, it is often very difficult to pin point an infestation. Many even attribute bedbug bites to rashes and allergies, as they often do not find the bedbugs.

Symptoms

Their bites can cause irritation, serious discomfort and loss of blood.

Symptoms appear a while after Red bumps, often with a darker red spot in the middle, may or may not itch.

Severity

Ticks can leave behind pathogens inside the body, making the body vulnerable to diseases. They may also result in a huge loss of blood if the infestation increases.

Severe allergic reaction may include severe itching, blisters or hives.

Prevention

Avoid going to tick-infested areas. Be fully clothed if you are required to go out. Wear light color clothing as ticks can be more visible on them. Preventive clothing also includes socks, sturdy shoes and head coverings.

Bed bugs enter a home through many possible ways, such as through traveling, visiting an infested area etc. To prevent beg bugs, one should check for bed bugs before unpacking during a trip, inspect luggage and other personal items for bed bugs after a trip, isolate infected items and treat for bedbugs, check used furniture and clothing before bringing them home, etc.

Treatment

Apply insect repellent containing 10% to 30% DEET primarily to clothes. Thoroughly check clothing, skin and hair for ticks. If ticks are crawling on clothes, use tape to remove them, do not touch them with bare hands. If tick has started feeding, using tweezers grasp it as close to the head as possible and pull it up straight do not wiggle or move side to side. Wash and clean the bitten area and apply antiseptic.

 

Wear covering garments while sleeping, pesticide permethrin on mosquito netting may keep them as bay. Treatment includes oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), skin cream containing hydrocortisone.

Diseases

Ticks have been known to cause certain diseases, such as Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, African tick bite fever, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Tick paralysis and tick-borne meningoencephalitis and bovine anaplasmosis.

Bed bugs can carry up to 24 different pathogens; however, they are not known to transmit any of these to humans. The greatest risk posed by bed bugs is the irritation of bites.

When to see a doctor

If the itching and redness persists or any other symptoms show up after tick bite. It is best to show a doctor incase pathogens have been released into the system.

If there is a severe allergic reaction, including severe itching, blisters or hives. If the bites do not go away and remain inflamed.

 

 

Image Courtesy: tickinfo.com

Image Courtesy: pestid.msu.edu

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