Biting insects

Whether in humid areas such as lakes or rivers, in mountain hiking areas or in our own backyard, we can find different species of insects that bite. The types of insect bites vary from one insect to another, so their severity also depends on the poison they deposit. Most stings do not cause serious discomfort, although some can be fatal, especially if the person who receives it suffers from some type of allergy.


Bees are the most important pollinating insects, having an essential function for the balance of ecosystems. They are insects that have an average life of five years and do not measure more than 1.5 cm. They are very sociable, living in colonies stabilized in swarms and organized in a hierarchy: queen bee, drones and worker bees.

The sting of bees in most people produces a mild reaction , however, in some occasions they can cause death , if these people are allergic or if there is poisoning by stings of swarming bees. To avoid a bee sting, you must remain calm, since they sting to defend themselves, so if we panic and attack them, they will try to sting us, but it is only a defense mechanism. Bees lose their stingers when they sting and die.


Wasps are solitary insects, although they are also sometimes found living in colonies, and are generally harmless to humans. In fact, these instead of being harmful, benefit humans since they help control pests. They can be confused with bees, but wasps, unlike bees, have a pointed lower abdomen and a narrow waist. Here you can learn more about the Difference between bee, wasp and bumblebee .

The stings of wasps can become very painful, they also produce swelling and redness of the affected area around a white weal. Unlike bees, they do not lose their stinger. They bite to defend themselves when they feel attacked.


Mites belong to the arthropod family , they are very small so it is very difficult to identify them, for example, dust mites measure between 0.2 and 0.5 mm. They live in areas where there is dust so they can be found in any type of fabric, such as mattresses, pillows, rugs, bedding, etc. Apart from the dust mite, there are many species of mites and they abound in areas with a lot of vegetation, among decomposing waste products and in association with lichens and mosses.


Bed bugs are tiny insects the size of an apple seed, they are reddish parasites that usually hide in cracks and bed bases, as well as in headboards, bed frames or objects that are around them.

They bite the skin of humans and animals while they sleep to feed on their blood . Although they are not known for spreading diseases, they can become a health problem at different levels, as well as an economic problem (to eradicate them or replace real estate) or public health.

It is very common to find bed bugs in places that have a high volume of overnight guests such as hospitals, shelters or hotels. For its extermination it is always better to have the work of a professional.


Ticks are medium arthropods that can measure between 3 and 8 mm, although females can reach up to 1 cm. They belong to the order Acarina and are biologically similar to scorpions and spiders. They have a life cycle of 4 phases: egg, larva, nymph and adult.

To go from nymph to adult, they need to feed on blood, so these, through a system of retrograde teeth, are anchored to the skin of their host, human or animal. During anchoring and sucking, they inoculate saliva, a substance made up of anesthetic components so that the sting is painless. They tend to itch in the hottest and humid areas of the body.

The tick bites can cause fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, impaired memory and sleep, among other symptoms.

Red Ant

The red ant belongs to the order Hymenoptera and, as its name indicates, it has a red head and thorax with brown spots, although its abdomen is darker, being practically black. These live in colonies and are organized in hierarchy, both the males and the queens have wings with which they perform the nuptial flight, however, although the workers are also female, they do not have wings and have an underdeveloped reproductive system.

When they feel in danger, they expel formic acid that acts as a poison and introduce it into the skin of their aggressor, it does so thanks to their strong jaws. The sting of fire ants can cause pain, swelling, redness in the area of ​​the sting, itching, hives, pustules, and even in the most severe cases anaphylaxis.

Black fly

The black fly, an indigenous insect of Iberian ecosystems, is an insect that is annoying to us, which does not measure more than 6 mm and is similar to the wasp.

The bite of the black fly is very intense, rather than biting it produces a bite on the skin, leaving a large bruise that can remain on the skin for several days and even a week. When it bites it does so stealthily, resting its pastes as little as possible on the skin. The anesthetic it injects is very powerful and it also injects an anticoagulant to make the blood more fluid.

The stinging of the skin also causes swelling, severe itching and dermatitis. The black fly bites humans and animals, especially goats, horses, sheep, cows and dogs, among others, and is a species that is favored by high temperatures.


Mosquitoes belong to the order of Diptera. They are insects that present four stages in their life: egg, larva, pupa and adult, and they need environments with water to be able to complete their life cycle, since the larvae are aquatic. There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world and most of these transmit diseases that end up causing at least two million deaths of people each year.

It is only the females that bite and locate people and animals by detecting carbon dioxide in perspiration, body odors and breath. The mosquito bite is characterized by being a red bump on the skin, the swelling of the bump can vary depending on the immune response of each person.


Lice are small parasitic insects that need the blood of humans and other animals to feed. There are three types: those known as hair lice, which are those found on the head, especially in the area of ​​the neck and behind the ears; body lice, which move across the skin to feed; or pubic lice, known as crabs, found on the skin where there is pubic hair.

They spread easily, especially it is very common among boys and girls of school age. Symptoms of lice bites are severe itching, sores on the scalp, shoulders, and neck, and bite lesions. They can become very annoying until they are completely eradicated, so going to the pharmacy as soon as possible to find a solution treatment can save us many days of despair due to itching and discomfort.


Fleas, especially from the Ctenophthalmidae and Rhopalopsyllidae families, are those that bite humans and animals, such as cats or dogs. An adult flea is 1-8 mm in size, they are aptera, strongly sclerotized and compressed on the sides.

The flea bite is identified by the appearance of tiny spots surrounded by a reddish area, the area does not suffer too much swelling and although they are not painful, it can end up causing an unbearable itch. The parts of the body where fleas tend to bite are on the lower legs and near the feet. A flea bite can also lead to diseases such as tularemia, tungiansis, murine typhus or bubonic plague, which are diseases that cause a huge number of deaths.


Horseflies belong to the brachycephalic dipteran family of insects, they have two functional wings, are up to 2.5 cm in size, are normally dark in color and have a cutter-sucking apparatus that produces a cut in the epidermis producing an accumulation of blood. which they later suck on.

The bite of the horsefly produces a very painful cutaneous nodule, in addition to producing hives or even anaphylaxis, in a case of a generalized systemic allergic reaction.

Other biting insects

Other species of biting insects are as follows, but there are many more.

  • Bullet ant 
  • Jumping ant 
  • Fire ants 
  • Cardboard wasp 
  • Asian wasp 
  • European Hornet 
  • Scorpion Beetle
  • Plague flea 
  • Chinche tropical 
  • Chinche negra
  • Mosca tsetse 
Arachnid bites

In general, arachnid stings or bites are harmless and harmless. They are just a few types of spiders that really have fangs long enough to pierce the skin of the human being and a really strong and aggressive poison to damage the human being. The effects of a spider bite can range from redness, swelling, and pain in the mildest cases to severe abdominal pain or death of the surrounding skin in the most severe cases. Also, other arachnids that can sting and be dangerous are scorpions, depending on the species they can be more or less.

Here is a list of some species of arachnids that can be dangerous due to their bite :

  • The brown recluse spider
  • The black widow spider
  • The hobo spider
  • The grass spider
  • The mouse spider
  • The intercotidal spider
  • The wolf spider

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