15 Bugs That Look Like Fleas: Are They A Real Thing?

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Bugs that look like fleas are a real thing, and they can cause serious health problems. These bugs are called trombiculid mites, and they can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If you see a bug that looks like a flea, don’t touch it. Instead, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Bugs That Look Like Fleas

Herein below, I have provided details regarding each flea-like bug, as well as short summaries of the significant differences and risks.

Fleas vs. gnats


Fleas and gnats are both small, flying insects that can bite humans. However, there are certain differences between the two.

Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of their host, while gnats are mostly harmless and only bite humans when they’re disturbed.

Gnat bites are quite big, red, and itchy, while flea bites are small and often go unnoticed.

Flea vs. bed bug

Fleas and bed bugs are small, brownish insects that are often mistaken for each other. They both have flattened bodies, but there are a few key differences.

Fleas typically have a reddish hue, while bed bugs tend to be more of deep mahogany color. Bed bugs also tend to be larger than fleas.

Furthermore, bed bugs only feed on blood, while flea eggs are pearl white. Fleas also jump, while bed bugs do not. If you’re unsure what kind of bug you’re dealing with, it’s best to consult a professional.

Flea vs. tick

Ticks are brown in color (dark-brown or grey), whereas fleas are typically reddish-brown. Fleas also have a jumping motion, which ticks do not.

Fleas can spread serious diseases, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Ticks can spread various diseases, including Lyme disease, human babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Powassan virus.

Ticks are larger and more reddish in color than fleas. They can be difficult to spot on a human body, but they get big, like a small grain of rice.

If you find one or more ticks on your pets or family members, remember about proper tick removal techniques to avoid any leftovers under the skin.

Flea vs. lice

Fleas are small, brown insects that can cause a lot of itchiness and discomfort. They are not bloodsuckers – they get the nutrients they need from skin debris. Lice, on the other hand, are parasites that feed on human blood.

The fleas can jump, which is how they spread from animal to animal, while lice cannot. This is why infestations of lice amongst pets that don’t come in contact with random animals outside are very rare but common for stray animals.

Both of these pests cause a great deal of itching in their hosts, and they can both be treated with the same methods.

However, it is important to make sure you correctly identify the parasite before beginning treatment, as some treatments may not work for lice if fleas are present.

Flea vs. fruit fly

Fleas and fruit flies are two types of insects that can be easily confused because of their small size and three pairs of legs. However, there are a few key differences that can help you tell them apart.

For one, fruit flies typically have red eyes while fleas do not. Additionally, fruit flies lay eggs on the surface of fermenting fruits or vegetables, while flea eggs are deposited on the host animal.

Furthermore, fleas aren’t considered dangerous, but fruit flies can spread contaminants around the house if they’re present.

Springtails vs. fleas

Springtails have a furcula- a spring-loaded tale that lets them jump high in the air. Fleas do not have this option.

Additionally, fleas are parasitic and live off of the blood of their hosts, while springtails eat organic matter.

Fleas always get inside households on a human or animal carrier; Springtails usually appear in moist places, such as basements and spots under leaking pipes, where they eat fungi and mold.

Carpet beetle vs. flea

Fleas are parasites that live on or in humans and animals. They are small, reddish-brown, and have piercing-sucking mouthparts.

Carpet beetles are scavengers that feed on a variety of items, including carpet, clothing, furniture, and even dead insects. They are oval-shaped and range in color from black to brown to yellow.

Fleas are popular for their ability to jump long distances, while springtails cannot. This is often the way to distinguish between the two bugs- by checking to see if the bug can jump. If it cannot, then it is likely a springtail.

Baby Crickets vs. flea

Baby crickets are smaller than adult crickets and lack the ability to fly. They can often be mistaken for fleas, but there are a few key differences.

Baby crickets have antennae that are twice as long as their body, while fleas do not. Baby crickets also have a clear thorax, while fleas have a dark thorax.

Finally, the easiest way to tell them apart is by their behavior; baby crickets will jump away when you touch them, while fleas will stay put.

Baby Cockroaches /Cockroach Nymphs vs. flea

There are various bugs that can be mistaken for fleas. Baby cockroaches, or cockroach nymphs, can be one of these. They are small and brown with a flattened body, and they can be difficult to tell apart from fleas.

However, there are some key differences. Baby cockroaches have two antennae on their head, while fleas do not. Baby cockroaches also have wings, which fleas do not possess. Finally, baby cockroaches move much more slowly than fleas.

Chiggers vs. flea


Chiggers are red and tiny- about the size of a poppy seed. They are most commonly found in wooded areas and grassy fields. Fleas, on the other hand, are brown or black and can be up to 2mm long.

They typically infest animals such as cats and dogs but can also live on humans. Fleas are known for their characteristic bite, which is often itchy and swollen.

Flea bites and chigger bites both result in itchy skin. However, fleas cause a black dot on the bitten area, while chiggers cause a red bump.

Unlike fleas, chiggers do not generally survive on humans for very long, but they can survive on animals for a few weeks.

Booklice vs. flea

Booklice are smaller than fleas and do not have the jumping capability that fleas have. Additionally, booklice feed on mold and other fungi, while fleas feed on blood.

They also have a reddish-brown color and consume mold and mildew, while fleas consume blood.

Booklice do not bite as fleas do and don’t fly or jump as other pests do. They can be distinguished by their appearance, behavior, and habitat.

Bat Bugs vs. flea

Bat bugs are blood-sucking bug that is often mistaken for fleas. They invade homes that have bats and can be difficult to get rid of. They are known to cause skin irritation and can be dangerous to people with compromised immune systems.

These bugs are very similar in appearance to fleas, but there is one key difference – bat bugs can only enter homes when flying in with bats. This means that if you see a bug on your dog and it doesn’t jump, it’s likely not a flea – it’s more likely a bat bug.

Black Bean Aphids vs. flea

Black Bean Aphids are small, oval-shaped bugs that invade crops and vegetables in the garden. They can be distinguished from fleas by their black color and bean-shaped body. They feed on the sap of plants, which can damage the plant and reduce its yield.

Furthermore, Aphids have an elongated body while fleas are more round. Additionally, aphids typically have two cornicles- small tubes on their back- which fleas do not have. Finally, aphids feed on plant sap while fleas feed on blood.

Flour Beetles vs. flea

Flour beetles tend to be found in pantries and other food storage areas, while fleas are more commonly associated with animals and pets. Additionally, flour beetles do not bite or suck blood as fleas do.

There are a number of different types of beetles that can be mistaken for fleas. These bugs can be difficult to kill with insecticide and often come back to the same food sources. If you are unsure whether or not you have an infestation of fleas, it is best to consult a professional.

Drugstore Beetles vs. flea

bugs that look like fleas

Drugstore beetles are small, brown, and resemble fleas. They feed on pharmaceutical products, herbal extracts, and old textiles. Although they may look like fleas, they are not the same species.

For example, drugstore beetles look very similar to fleas, but they are eliminated by the use of an insecticide. However, most infestations are dealt with by vacuuming and cleaning.

Some of the items that need to be cleaned include old clothes, which might need to be sealed in a plastic bag for disposal.


Fleas are tiny, brownish insects that live by sucking the blood of warm-blooded animals. They are parasites and can be found on a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, skunks, deer, and humans. They make their way around by jumping, which is one of the easiest methods of differentiating it from most other types of similar bugs.

You can identify fleas in your pets or your house by looking for their characteristic jumping movement as well as their reddish-brown color.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.