NOBODY likes being pinched by critters, but in the summer it seems inevitable.
While a bug bite isn’t usually a big problem, some can cause itching or become quite sore.
Everyone’s immune system reacts differently to bites and stings, and some people can have more severe reactions than others – especially when it comes to stings from flying insects like bees or wasps.
Itching is common and the area around the bite can often be tender and painful to the touch.
If your symptoms persist, it is important to see a doctor to make sure you are not infected and are not suffering from an insect-borne disease.
It’s hard to know which insect bought you lunch unless you catch the culprit in the act – easier said than done when most insects are microscopic.
Here are 11 of the most common bites and stings — along with their culprits — so you can figure out which pest bit you in the first place.
1. Flea bite
Flea bites are small red bumps that appear in clusters. They are small and often have small red rings around them.
They typically prefer animals, according to the NHS, but can also seek out warm areas like the groin and armpits.
Symptoms: They usually itch and leave red patches.
How to treat: Try not to scratch the area, keep it clean, and use antiseptic creams.
2. Tick bite
Ticks like to feed on your blood and are therefore usually easy to find as they often remain attached to the spot where they bit.
They usually leave a red mark, but not all people show this reaction.
Ticks like warm blood and therefore like to feed on warmer parts of the body such as the armpits, back of the knees and groin.
Symptoms: If you have been bitten by a tick, it can usually cause severe itching.
Your reaction will depend on the type of tick that has settled on you.
Lyme disease is a signal, as are other tick-borne diseases, including tularemia and anaplasmosis.
How to treat: Try not to itch the bite. If it becomes uncomfortable, you can use an ice pack or apply calamine lotion or antiseptic creams to stop the itching.
3. Spider Bite
If you see a spider scurrying away or have two small puncture wounds on your skin, it is most likely a spider bite.
Most spiders only bite when provoked, and their bites usually leave skin red and slightly swollen.
Symptoms: Expect some pain, but if you’ve been bitten by a black widow or recluse bite, you may experience tremors and nausea.
If you think you’ve been bitten by one of these spiders, you should contact a professional.
How to treat: Using an ice pack will help reduce the swelling, and if you’ve been bitten on your leg it’s a good idea to hold it up.
Everything you need to know about spiders
4. Fly bite
Fly bites are common when spending a lot of time outdoors, and even more so when around horses, and can be very painful.
Symptoms: They are often raised and a little itchy, but most are harmless.
How to treat: To relieve the bite, you can apply ice and keep the area clean.
5. Mosquito bite
Mosquito bites are a common – and unwelcome – summer souvenir.
The little pests like to attack your ankles, knees and neck. Their bites form bumps that usually turn red.
Symptoms: You won’t feel much pain at first, but these bites can be very itchy.
If you’re experiencing cold or flu symptoms, you may have contracted an illness, as some mosquitoes carry dengue, Zika, and West Nile viruses.
How to treat: You can take an over-the-counter antihistamine and make sure the area stays clean.
Top tips on bites and stings
Although every bite and sting is different, here are some simple steps to help with every bite or sting.
Emma Blackman, CEO of science of skin said wearing long pants when walking through fields is a good prevention method.
After a bite, the following may help:
- Remove the sting if it is still in the skin. Try to scrape it out so you don’t squeeze the area and release more venom into the skin.
- Wash the bite area with soap and water
- Cover the sting with a cold compress or ice pack for about 15 minutes
- Avoid scratching the bite, as this can increase itching and swelling and increase the risk of infection
6. Bee Sting
Bee stings can be fatal for some, and they usually leave a white spot where they have stung.
Sometimes the stinger gets stuck on the stinger and needs to be pulled out.
Symptoms: You will have moderate pain that should go away within a few hours.
How to treat: You can use a cold compress to reduce swelling. However, if you think you’re having an allergic reaction, your best bet is to go to the emergency room.
7. Bed bug bite
These can sometimes look like mosquito bites, appearing as small, red, swollen lumps in a cluster of three or more.
They appear on the skin exposed to your bed covers at night. Bed bugs often live in the corners of your mattress.
Symptoms: The bites may be itchy and swollen but will not spread disease.
How to treat: First you need to get rid of the bed bugs in your home. To do this, you need to make sure you wash your linens frequently and vacuum all areas around the bed.
You can also scrub the mattress seams to remove the eggs.
You can use over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines to stop the itching.
8. Ant bite or sting
This can be a double burden as some ants can bite and sting. Most cause pimple-like spots.
Symptoms: If you have been bitten by a fire ant it will be painful as they have a strong venom and it can take weeks to go away.
How to treat: Cool and cool the sting and apply to the area. You can also take antihistamines.
9. Sand fly bite
Sandfly bites can transmit parasitic infections that cause skin lesions and ulcers.
They appear in small red clusters and can also cause blisters.
Symptoms: They will be painful and itchy.
How to treat: Antihistamines usually help.
10. Chigger bite
These bites are usually invisible to the naked eye and cause tiny bumps.
Symptoms: You will feel severe discomfort, but the mites will not spread disease or burrow into your skin.
How to treat: They usually get better without treatment, but if you have problems you can use antiseptic creams or calamine lotion.
11. Head lice bite
Head lice leave red, chafed patches on the scalp.
The bites are small, but your body’s response to them causes them to grow.
Scratching can also cause wounds.
Symptoms: You may first see a few eggs, which then hatch into lice.
If you feel something moving your hair, it’s probably crawling lice.
How to treat: After washing the hair with shampoo and conditioner, you need to comb through it with a fine comb to remove lice and eggs.
Lotion can also be used to prevent lice from reappearing.