Parasites that live on the outer surface of a host are termed ectoparasites. The very nature of the parasitic niche means that parasites are highly specialized, possessing numerous adaptations, many of which are associated with their host and mode of life. The mosquito and the bed bug are such insect ectoparasites of mammals and humans, as well. Both are blood parasites.
Bed Bug Bite
The bed bug is an apple seed shaped insect, which prefers closed surroundings such as beds and house crevices in the floor to live. These areas should be near the places where warm –blooded animals sleep. The newly hatched bed bug nymphs are colourless and have a translucent exoskeleton. They molt through four stages to become an adult. The adults after a blood meal would be red in colour. The bed bugs feed at night when the mammalian hosts /human are sleeping. They pierce the skin using their elongated beak or the stylet fascicle. It is composed of elongated maxilla, mandibles and the labium. The edges of the maxilla, mandibles have modified to form pointed edges except the right maxillae, which has a hook like end. The maxillae further glues together to form a food and salivary channel. The points pierce the skin and the hook like mandible anchors the beak to the skin. The left maxillae cut through the tissue in a back and forth motion to reach the blood vessel. The blood is then drawn in to the mouth through the food channel with the help of the labium. The bite can cause itchy red welts and blotches. Although they are known to carry 24 known human pathogens, they do not transmit any of them from or to humans.
The mosquito is also a blood-feeding insect of mammals. But primarily they feed on plant juices and nectar. The female mosquitos feed on mammalian blood for their need of supplemental proteins and minerals. The female mosquitoes detect their host by organic substances such as carbon dioxide, perspiration, body odor, lactic acid and heat. They have developed a mouth part called the proboscis. It is covered with labium and has sharp-ended elongated maxillae and mandibles. The maxillae anchor the proboscis while the hypopharynx inserts anticoagulant containing saliva. The blood is then drawn through the hypopharynx with the help of the upper labium. The anticoagulant causes an allergic reaction to humans, which will cause reddening, swelling and itching in the area of the bite. Through the injection of the anticoagulant, the mosquito also transmits any viruses or parasites the mosquito might contain. Diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria and west Nile virus spread through this vector.
What is the difference between Mosquito Bite and Bed Bug Bite?
• The bed bug and the mosquito bites are similar in many ways. The bite always happens on warm blooded mammalian hosts. The parasite is mainly attracted to heat and organic substances like CO2 in the host.
• Both bites cause itching, reddening, swelling, and blotches. It will also similarly cause a loss of blood in the host.
• The mode of blood sucking is also similar; both parasites use their maxillae to cut the host skin and anchor the other mouthparts to the host. They also use the labium to suck the blood into the mouth.
• But the mosquito injects anticoagulant containing saliva into the host while the bed bug does not. This saliva can contain many viruses and parasites, which can cause disease, making the mosquito a vector of diseases. The bed bug does not transmit any disease to humans or mammals.
• The mosquitoes are mostly crepuscular in their feeding and are active at night, as well. But the bed bug bites only during the night when the hosts are sleeping.
• Although both male and female bed bugs feed on humans opposed to the sole female feeding on the mosquito’s part, it is to be seen that the mosquito bite is more harmful to the host.