Show Me Pictures Of Bed Bug Bites

What Bit Me? Spot These 11 Bug Bites

Bug bites are irritating, and some can be harmful. Learn to identify the type of bug bite and when to seek emergency medical care.

Getting a bug bite can be a creepy experience, especially if you don’t know what tiny creature left you with that red, throbbing welt on your skin. Don’t panic. Most bug bites and stings from common insects are harmless and heal quickly. But some bug bites and stings, like those from fire ants, wasps, hornets, and bees, may cause intense pain or even a serious allergic reaction. Others, like poisonous spider bites, require immediate emergency medical care.

Symptoms of bug bites provide clues to the cause and severity. For example, most bug bites cause red bumps with pain, itching, or burning. Some bug bites also feature blisters or welts. Here are some common bug bite clues:

  • Bedbugs leave a small bite mark on the skin that is red and itchy or causes a serious allergic reaction.
  • Bee stings cause a red skin bump with white around it.
  • Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs.
  • Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction.
  • Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.
  • Ticks can carry Lyme disease and their bite leaves a rash that looks like an expanding bull’s-eye.

Most bug bites are transmitted directly from the insect and occur outdoors. Two exceptions are bedbugs (tiny mites that live in and near beds) and lice, which spread through contact with an infected person, a comb, or clothing.

Certain bug bites can also spread illnesses, such as the Zika virus and West Nile virus (both transmitted by mosquitoes), Lyme disease (from a black-legged tick), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (from a dog or wood tick), or Chagas disease (from kissing bugs).

In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned Americans that diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have soared in recent years.

How can you prevent bug bites? Here are some tips:

  • Avoid insects.
  • Don’t eat foods or wear fragrances that attract bugs.
  • Know your own personal risk for having an allergic reaction to a bug bite.
  • Use pesticide.
  • Wear protective clothing.

No matter what type of bug bite you have, it is good to know what bit you. Learning to identify a bug bite by how it looks and feels will help you know whether to treat the bug bite at home or seek immediate medical care.

If you have known allergies to bug bites, talk with your physician about emergency care. Some people with severe allergies to bug bites need to have allergy medicine, including an EpiPen, with them always.

Mosquito Bites Can Cause a Serious Illness

A mosquito bite appears as an itchy, round red or pink skin bump. It’s usually a harmless bug bite but can sometimes cause a serious illness, such as the Zika virus (particularly harmful in pregnant women), the West Nile virus, or malaria. For most people, Zika causes a brief, flulike illness. But newborns of pregnant women infected with Zika have an alarming rate of microcephaly birth defects, a debilitatingly small head and brain size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a 2016 travel alert advising pregnant women to delay travel to 50 areas where Zika is active, including Latin America and the Caribbean.

About 2,000 cases of the West Nile virus were reported in the United States to the CDC in 2014. Symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after the bite and can include headaches, body aches, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a skin rash. People with a more severe West Nile infection may develop meningitis or encephalitis, and have symptoms including neck stiffness, severe headache, disorientation, high fever, and convulsions.

The bite of a parasite-infected mosquito can cause malaria, a rare occurrence in the United States, with only about 1,500 cases reported by the CDC each year. Symptoms are similar to the flu and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting from 10 days to 4 weeks after the bite. Malaria is serious, but it’s good to know it is preventable and treatable, according to the CDC.

What do Bedbug Bites Look Like?

You probably won’t feel pain when a bedbug bites, but you may see three or more clustered red marks, often forming a line. Some people develop a mild or severe allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva between 24 hours and 3 days later. This can result in a raised, red skin bump or welt that’s intensely itchy and inflamed for several days.

How to get rid of bedbug bites? If your bedbug bites cause hives, it may mean a trip to your healthcare provider for treatment, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Bedbug bites can occur anywhere on your body but typically show up on uncovered areas, such as your neck, face, arms, and hands. It’s good to know that although they’re common, bedbugs do not carry disease, according to the CDC.

Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites

Ticks

Many bugs give us reason for pause, including spiders, chiggers, bees and lice. But few get under our skin — quite literally — like the tick. If you enjoy the outdoors, be careful of ticks — they can attach as you brush past grass and plants. Ticks don’t always carry diseases, and most bites are not serious. But they can carry diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Tick Bites

Once a tick latches onto skin, it often moves to the warm, moist armpits and groin — feeding on blood and passing on any disease it carries. A tick bite can also trigger an allergic reaction. If you have a tick, it is important to remove it properly. To prevent tick bites, keep your arms, legs, and head covered when outdoors. Use tick repellant with DEET on skin or clothing, or products with permethrin on clothing. Check for ticks after spending time in grassy or wooded areas.

Lyme Disease

In the U.S., the Western black–legged tick and the deer tick can carry Lyme disease bacteria. Infected ticks usually don’t spread the disease until they’ve been attached for at least 36 hours. The first sign of infection is often a circular skin rash. Early symptoms may also include fever, headache, and fatigue. Untreated Lyme disease may spread to other parts of the body, including the muscles, joints, heart, and nervous system. If you have symptoms or are worried, see your doctor.

Black Widow Spiders: Venomous!

Wood piles and tree stumps — that’s where venomous female black widows hide. She is long-legged and glossy black, with a distinctive orange, red, or yellow "hourglass" shape on her underside. These spiders are roughly 1/3 inch wide and 1.5 inches long, counting their long legs.

Black Widow Spider Bites

Black widow spider bites may cause stabbing pain in the bite area, but they can also be painless. Look for one or two red fang marks, redness, tenderness, and a nodule at the bite site. Severe muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, seizure, and a rise in blood pressure may follow soon after. Get medical care immediately. Anti-venom medicine is available. If possible, bring the spider with you for positive identification.

Brown Recluse Spiders Can Have a Nasty Bite

Hiding in attics and closets — in Midwestern and Southern states — that’s where you’ll find brown recluse spiders. The spiders range in color from yellowish-tan to dark brown, with darker legs. Their venom is toxic, and their bite can sometimes cause serious wounds and infection. Yet you may not even feel their bite until later.

Brown Recluse Spider Bites

When the brown recluse bites, it is often painless — then skin may redden, turn white, blister, and becomes painful. Sometimes an ulcer forms. These bites can be deadly in extremely rare cases. Get medical care if you have been bitten by a spider. If you can, bring the spider with you for positive identification.

Head Lice: Itchy!

In hair — that’s where you’ll find lice. They like to hide in the neck area of the scalp and behind the ears. If you have lice, you likely got it from sharing a hat, brush, or other item with a person who has lice. Lice are itchy, but scratching can lead to infection. In severe cases, hair may fall out.

Head Lice Remedies

To kill lice and their eggs (called nits), use lotions, creams, or shampoos from the drug store or prescribed by your doctor which are designed specifically for lice. You’ll also need to use a comb to get rid of the nits. In some areas, lice are resistant to permethrin; check with your doctor about which treatment is best.В Wash clothing, bedding, and brushes in hot water and dry in a hot dryer of dry clean to prevent the spread of lice. Check all household members, and treat everyone who has nits or lice.В

Fleas: Not for Pets Only

Fleas are small, wingless, agile insects that live off the blood of their host — and they don’t just bite pets. They dine on people, too.

Flea Bites

Some people are very sensitive to flea bites — but scratching can cause a wound or infection. The best solution is to get rid of fleas on pets and in your home. Keep pets out of your bed and be sure to vacuum rugs daily. Spray insecticides according to directions on infested areas. Consider using a veterinary approved insecticide on your pet.

Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket

When certain types of bees sting, they lose their stinger and die. But a wasp, hornet, or yellow jacket can inflict multiple stings because it does not lose the stinger. These stings can cause serious reactions in people who are allergic to them.

Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket Stings

If you don’t have an allergic reaction, simply remove the stinger, clean the sting site, apply ice, take oral antihistamine for itching, and take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain relief. If you have a severe anaphylactic reaction, use an epinephrine auto-injector if you have one. Call for emergency care. Lie down and carefully remove the stinger without squeezing the venom sac.В

Fire Ants: Ouch!

Fire ants look much like ordinary ants — and are found in most of the Southern states. They produce large mounds in open areas and are aggressive when disturbed. During an attack, the fire ant latches onto the skin with its jaw, then stings from its abdomen. It may inject venom many times.

Fire Ant Stings

The fire ant sting typically causes red lesions that burn and itch. Painful pus-filled lesions can also occur. Cold packs, pain relievers, and antihistamines can help relieve the discomfort. A large number of stings may trigger a toxic or severe life-threatening allergic reaction. Get emergency care immediately if needed.

Chiggers: Itchy!

Contrary to popular belief, chiggers are not insects; they are arachnids. Specifically, chiggers are the juvenile (or larval) form of a family of mites called Trombiculidae. They only dine on humans in their juvenile form. Their bites are painless, but lesions are very itchy. Itching usually peaks a day or two after the bite occurs.

Chigger Bites

After a few days of being attached to the skin, chiggers fall off — leaving itchy red welts. Over-the-counter products can help relieve itching. See your doctor if the skin appears infected or the welts appear to be spreading.

Scabies: Stealthy Pests

When scabies mites get into the skin, they can cause a big skin problem. The mites spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person — or by sharing towels, bed linens, and other objects.

Treating Scabies

Intense itching and skin sores don’t appear until several weeks after mites get into skin. The itching is very severe and usually worse at night. The rash typically is seen on the sides and webs of the fingers, the wrist, elbows, genitals, and buttock. You’ll need prescription lotion or pills to get rid of scabies. Wash all clothes, towels, and bedding in hot water and dry in a hot dryer or dry clean.

Bedbugs: Hitching a Ride

Their name tells the tale, as these tiny insects tend to hide in bedding. They are often found in hotels, shelters, and apartment complexes — and can hitch a ride into your home aboard luggage, pets, and boxes.

Bedbug Bites

Bedbugs leave itchy, red bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, it is possible to develop an infection from scratching. If you have an allergic skin reaction, use creams with corticosteroids and take oral antihistamines — and see your doctor.

Puss Caterpillar: Southern Stinger!

The most poisonous caterpillar in the U.S., puss caterpillars can be found in Southern states where they feed on shade trees like elm, oak, and sycamore. The poison is hidden in hollow spines among the hairs.

Puss Caterpillar Stings

When a puss caterpillar stings, you may get waves of intense pain, rash, fever, vomiting, and muscle cramps. Remove the broken-off spines by using cellophane tape or a commercial facial peel — and call your doctor.

Scorpions: Deadly!

All scorpions are venomous, but only a few species are dangerous to people. Scorpions are found mostly in the Southern and Western states. Symptoms of a sting include pain, swelling, itching, vomiting, increased sweating, and vision problems. Get medical care immediately.

Deerflies: Painful!

These biting flies live in wetlands, forests, and other damp environs. Keep these painful bites clean and avoid scratching to help prevent infection. Some types of deerflies spread Tularemia, an infectious bacterial disease that requires medical attention. Insect repellant and protective clothing help prevent deerfly bites.

Mosquitoes: More Than Irritating!

Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, they rank anong the world’s deadliest animals.В Scratching a bite can cause a skin infection. Also, mosquitoes can carry West Nile virus, dengue fever virus, and other diseases including malaria. To protect yourself from mosquitoes, apply insect repellent and cover up when you go outdoors. Use window screens, and get rid of standing water in your yard.

Houseflies: Dirty, Hairy!

A housefly is a dirty insect — carrying more than 1 million bacteria on its body. It can spread intestinal infections by contaminating food. To control flies, keep food and garbage in closed containers and use window screens on your home.

Cockroaches: Ugly Trouble

They’re not just ugly. Cockroaches carry diseases like salmonella. They can trigger allergic reactions and asthma. If you live in a warm climate, getting rid of cockroaches can be difficult. It helps to use pesticides (or an exterminator), keep a clean kitchen, and repair cracks and holes in floors and walls.

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IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

(1) В Scott Camazine / Photo Researchers, Inc
(2) В В©2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved.
(3) В Photo courtesy of CDC
(4) В Photo courtesy of CDC
(5)В В Photo courtesy of David O’Connor
(6) В Photo courtesy of Vickie Rauh
(7) В Photo courtesy of CDC
(8) В A. Muraawski / National Geographic / Getty Images
(9) В В©2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved.
(10) Andy Crawford / Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images
(11) В©2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved.
(12) Eric Delmar / iStockphoto
(13) Courtesy of JK Keller
В В В В В Courtesy of Peter Stott
(14) James H. Robinson / Photo Researchers, Inc.
(15) В©2007 Matt Odom
(16) Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc / Phototake — All rights reserved.
(17) Photo courtesy of Ryan Archer
(18) Credit: Eye of Science / Photo Researchers, Inc
(19) В©2007 Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved.
(20) Photo courtesy of CDC
(21) Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin
(22) Photo courtesy of CDC
(23) Photo courtesy of Armed Forces Pest Management Board
(24) Warren Brooks / iStockphoto
(25) Bryan Reynolds / Science Faction / Getty Images
(26) Photo courtesy of CDC
(27) Konrad Wothe / Minden Pictures / Getty Images
(28) Photo courtesy of Jinah Ibraheem

National Institutes of Health web site.
Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa web site.
Tennessee Department of Agriculture web site.
The University of Minnesota web site.
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources web site.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site.
Texas A&M University Department of Entomology web site.
Missouri Department of Conservation: "Chiggers!"
Ohio State University, Extension Fact Sheet: "Chiggers."

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, "Horse Flies and Deer Flies."

KidsHealth.Org, ""Bug Bites and Stings."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on April 07, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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Bedbug Bites

Childhood Skin Problems

Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

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The first sign of bedbugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin, usually on the arms or shoulders. Bedbugs tend to leave straight rows of bites, unlike some other insects that leave bites here and there.

Bedbugs do not seem to spread disease to people. But itching from the bites can be so bad that some people will scratch enough to cause breaks in the skin that get infected easily. The bites can also cause an allergic reaction in some people. Read more about bedbug bites – symptoms, treatments and prevention.

Sources

Image: Photo courtesy of Phil Pellitteri, University of Wisconsin

Text: "Bedbugs – Overview", WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

What Bit Me? Spot These 11 Bug Bites

Bug bites are irritating, and some can be harmful. Learn to identify the type of bug bite and when to seek emergency medical care.

Getting a bug bite can be a creepy experience, especially if you don’t know what tiny creature left you with that red, throbbing welt on your skin. Don’t panic. Most bug bites and stings from common insects are harmless and heal quickly. But some bug bites and stings, like those from fire ants, wasps, hornets, and bees, may cause intense pain or even a serious allergic reaction. Others, like poisonous spider bites, require immediate emergency medical care.

Symptoms of bug bites provide clues to the cause and severity. For example, most bug bites cause red bumps with pain, itching, or burning. Some bug bites also feature blisters or welts. Here are some common bug bite clues:

  • Bedbugs leave a small bite mark on the skin that is red and itchy or causes a serious allergic reaction.
  • Bee stings cause a red skin bump with white around it.
  • Flea bites leave an itchy welt on the skin, often on the ankles and legs.
  • Mosquitoes leave a raised, itchy pink skin bump or in rare cases a severe allergic reaction.
  • Spider bites cause minor symptoms like red skin, swelling, and pain at the site or very serious symptoms that need emergency care.
  • Ticks can carry Lyme disease and their bite leaves a rash that looks like an expanding bull’s-eye.

Most bug bites are transmitted directly from the insect and occur outdoors. Two exceptions are bedbugs (tiny mites that live in and near beds) and lice, which spread through contact with an infected person, a comb, or clothing.

Certain bug bites can also spread illnesses, such as the Zika virus and West Nile virus (both transmitted by mosquitoes), Lyme disease (from a black-legged tick), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (from a dog or wood tick), or Chagas disease (from kissing bugs).

In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned Americans that diseases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have soared in recent years.

How can you prevent bug bites? Here are some tips:

  • Avoid insects.
  • Don’t eat foods or wear fragrances that attract bugs.
  • Know your own personal risk for having an allergic reaction to a bug bite.
  • Use pesticide.
  • Wear protective clothing.

No matter what type of bug bite you have, it is good to know what bit you. Learning to identify a bug bite by how it looks and feels will help you know whether to treat the bug bite at home or seek immediate medical care.

If you have known allergies to bug bites, talk with your physician about emergency care. Some people with severe allergies to bug bites need to have allergy medicine, including an EpiPen, with them always.

Mosquito Bites Can Cause a Serious Illness

A mosquito bite appears as an itchy, round red or pink skin bump. It’s usually a harmless bug bite but can sometimes cause a serious illness, such as the Zika virus (particularly harmful in pregnant women), the West Nile virus, or malaria. For most people, Zika causes a brief, flulike illness. But newborns of pregnant women infected with Zika have an alarming rate of microcephaly birth defects, a debilitatingly small head and brain size. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted a 2016 travel alert advising pregnant women to delay travel to 50 areas where Zika is active, including Latin America and the Caribbean.

About 2,000 cases of the West Nile virus were reported in the United States to the CDC in 2014. Symptoms appear 2 to 14 days after the bite and can include headaches, body aches, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a skin rash. People with a more severe West Nile infection may develop meningitis or encephalitis, and have symptoms including neck stiffness, severe headache, disorientation, high fever, and convulsions.

The bite of a parasite-infected mosquito can cause malaria, a rare occurrence in the United States, with only about 1,500 cases reported by the CDC each year. Symptoms are similar to the flu and can include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting from 10 days to 4 weeks after the bite. Malaria is serious, but it’s good to know it is preventable and treatable, according to the CDC.

What do Bedbug Bites Look Like?

You probably won’t feel pain when a bedbug bites, but you may see three or more clustered red marks, often forming a line. Some people develop a mild or severe allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva between 24 hours and 3 days later. This can result in a raised, red skin bump or welt that’s intensely itchy and inflamed for several days.

How to get rid of bedbug bites? If your bedbug bites cause hives, it may mean a trip to your healthcare provider for treatment, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Bedbug bites can occur anywhere on your body but typically show up on uncovered areas, such as your neck, face, arms, and hands. It’s good to know that although they’re common, bedbugs do not carry disease, according to the CDC.

Is Your Bug Bite Dangerous? These 6 Photos Can Help You Tell

Umm. is that a bullseye I see?

Bug bites are an unfortunate little annoyance in life, and the odds areprettttttyyyyhigh that you’ve been bitten by some creepy-crawly (er, or a variety of creepy-crawlies) in your lifetime. And while you probably just want to scratch the darn spot and move on, it’s wise to try and figure out what actually bit you.

Why? Some bug bites are relatively harmless, but others have the potential to bring on more serious health issues if you don’t treat them appropriately, and fast. Here are several fairly common insect bites you may experience, and how to know whether or not a bite warrants a trip to your doctor’s office.

Bed bug bites

While the thought of bed bug bites may skeeve you out, they’re more annoying to deal with than an actual threat to your health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bed bug bites are primarily just super itchy and can keep you up at night. The bigger issue with these pesky bugs is that they can spread really fast and lead to an infestation, and it can be an inconvenient and expensive process to get rid of one. (Also, the idea of little bugs feeding on your blood while you sleep isn’t exactly a comforting thought.)

People can have a range of reactions to bed bug bites, says Nancy Troyano, PhD, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control. Some people have no reaction at all when bitten, but most people will notice an itchy, red, welt-like mark that looks similar to a mosquito bite, Troyano says. “Bites may appear in a linear fashion if there are multiple bugs feeding, and bites can occur anywhere, but they are often found in areas where skin is readily exposed,” she notes.

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