10 Common Insect Bites: What to Expect, and How Recognize & Treat Them

August 3, 2019 Updated: August 5, 2019

It’s safe to say that we all hate being bitten by insects. Not all bugs are made equal, and some bites can be more severe than others. So it’s essential to know how to identify and treat each bite.

Here is a list of the 10 bug bites you are most likely to experience.

1. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes usually appear during the summer months. They love locations that come with a water source nearby. Their bites are mostly harmless. But in some areas, these relentless insects can carry dangerous diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, or yellow fever.

Illustration – Pixabay | 41330

Once you’ve been bitten, you will notice a red swollen bump within minutes, which can become extremely itchy.

It sounds almost impossible, but it is preferable to not scratch your bite, as it can turn into a blister. Instead, try cleaning the area with water and soap, apply an ice pack directly on the lesion, and take an antihistamine to help relieve the itch.

2. Fleas

Contrary to popular belief, fleas are not exclusive to your pets. They can also bite you. These little insects are parasites that like living on cats and dogs for food. In the case of an infestation, you can also find them in your carpets and bedding.

Illustration – Shutterstock | ancroft

Most bites will be on your legs, and they look like tiny little clustered bumps. They are also incredibly itchy. But try not to scratch, as that can make it a lot worse. Instead, try taking an antihistamine, press an ice pack on the bites, and apply an anti-itch ointment.

You can get rid of fleas by applying flea treatment to your pets and thoroughly cleaning your home.

3. Horseflies

Horseflies are bigger than your typical house fly. They tend to be more active during summer, and they thrive in states with wet, humid weather.

Illustration – Pixabay | ekamelev

Horsefly bites can be very painful. If you get bitten, you will notice a sharp burning pain. Additionally, a swollen bump surrounded by hives will appear on your skin’s surface.

You should clean the area with soap and water and use a cold compress to soothe the swelling.

If you notice any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing and swelling, see a doctor immediately.

4. Deer Flies

Deer flies are smaller than horse flies, but their bites are also very painful. They usually appear around spring in areas surrounded by lakes.

Illustration – Pixabay | skeeze

It’s rare for these insects to bite, but when they do, they carry a high risk of transmitting an infection called tulameria.

It’s common for them to bite the areas around your face mostly. To treat the red, swollen bite, wash it and apply ice to reduce pain. You might also want to try taking an antihistamine tablet, which can reduce itching and help prevent infection.

4. Wasps

You will likely find yourself stung by wasps during the spring and summer months. While pretty harmless, wasp stings can be very painful and unpleasant.

Illustration – Pixabay | skeeze

If you are unfortunate enough to get stung, the area will look like a red swollen bump with a white tip. You may experience a painful burning sensation followed by an itch.

To treat the sting, make sure you find and remove the stinger. Then keep the area clean, apply some ice, and try to avoid scratching it. You can also try some Tylenol and ibuprofen to relieve the pain.

Although wasp stings are not that potent, an allergic reaction to wasp stings can be fatal, and precautions should be taken before venturing into their habitat.

5. Honeybees

Unlike wasps, honeybees only attack if they feel threatened. That is because if they sting, they die.

Illustration – Pixabay | seagul

If you do find yourself stung by one, remove the stinger (you can use a credit card) and apply cold compresses to help relieve the pain and soreness.

6. Ticks

Ticks are insidious little insects that can latch on to you or your pet from leaves and trees. What makes them different from other bugs is that they can literally insert themselves under your skin.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Aksenova Natalya

While most bites are harmless, ticks can cause allergic reactions and also Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.

A tick bite will look red and swollen. If you experience a full-body rash, nausea, or a headache, make sure you see a doctor as your tick bite probably caused an allergic reaction.

Prevention is easier than treatment. So if you find yourself exploring the outdoors or on a camping trip, make sure you invest in repellents with DEET and products that contain permethrin. Also, ensure your clothes don’t leave your arms and legs exposed.

7. Hornets

Hornets are a lot larger than your average wasp, and their sting can cause significantly more damage. That is due to them carrying a more substantial amount of venom.

Illustration – Pixabay | Skovpallemand

A hornet’s sting can cause swelling redness and sometimes blisters in the entire area. But while unpleasant, it can be treated the same as a wasp’s sting. Do seek medical advice if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, and take necessary precautions.

8. Bedbugs

Bed bugs are tiny little insects that need human and animal blood to survive. They are nocturnal creatures and will most like feeding on you while you sleep. You will notice small, red bite bumps on any area of the skin that was exposed during the night.

Illustration – Shutterstock | simon berenyi

The bites can become very itchy. But try to keep the area clean and avoid scratching.

These little insects are very annoying and hard to get rid of, but they are harmless. If you find that your house is infested, you need to give it a thorough clean. In some cases, you may need to get rid of your bedding and mattress.

9. Fire Ants

While most ants are just a bit of a nuisance, red ants can be very dangerous if they decide to attack you.

Illustration – Shutterstock | AOKSANG STUDIO

The bites look like small, red, swollen hives filled with puss. They can cause extreme pain and discomfort.

If fire ants have bitten you, try applying a cold compress and some hydrocortisone cream, and take some allergy medication like Benadryl for the swelling.

Seek medical advice if you experience an allergic reaction.

To sum it up, experiencing any type of bug bite can be distressing. Unfortunately, insects thrive during the warm seasons, when coincidentally you want to spend more time outdoors. So be mindful of the most common pests and don’t let them take away your enjoyment of summer.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.