There are over 10 quintillion insects in this world, but not all of them bite, sting or poison. Of the ones that do, there is a narrow few that will attack humans. Rest assured, though, that these insects will protect themselves. So when asking what bug bit me, the answers will vary based on the size of the bite, shape, puncture, how it feels, and a host of other criteria. And many people respond differently to each kind of bite.
In the world of insect bites, it’s important to keep in mind that not all bites are defensive. Some insects bite in order to feed on blood or skin. Some insects burrow to lay eggs into their host. And still others will sting as a last ditch suicidal attempt to protect their colony. Here is a list of what to look for when identifying an insect bite.
Mosquito bites are probably the most common bug bite known to man. The area around the bite is raised and often in a round or circular shape. There is usually a red dot in the middle where the proboscis, or mouth parts, pierced the skin. The female mosquito is the only one that bites. She uses the blood for the production of eggs. Her saliva irritates the skin, which is what results in the bump and inching sensation. As she drinks, her stomach filters out the water from the red blood cells, and excretes the water out the rear of the mosquito. This gives her the ability to get a lot more nutrients from the blood.
Mosquito bites are the most deadly on earth. Transmission of deadly diseases when biting their host is the greatest factor to these deaths. Zika, West Nile Virus and Malaria are the big three diseases when discussing mosquito bites. Zika causes major issues with pregnant women and their babies. Malaria and West Nile cause flu like symptoms that can be life threatening. Zika is mostly a symptomless disease, but west nile and malaria are not. The symptoms of west nile can include headaches, body aches, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and a skin rash. The symptoms of malaria an include fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. If you believe that you have any one of these diseases, its important to seek medical attention immediately.
Bed bugs are another blood sucking bug that bite humans. These bites are often found in multiple bites clustered, and often forming a line. Their saliva can cause an allergic reaction up to three days later, causing a raised red bump that is itchy. It’s possible that these bites can cause hives. If you are experiencing hives from bed bug bites, its important to seek medical attention immediately.
The good news is that bed bugs don’t carry any sort of disease, according to the CDC. But it is important to note that scratching these bites can lead to an infection. There are many anti itch creams on the market that can alleviate the uncomfortable itching.
Small, itchy red bumps could be a sign that you’ve been bitten by a chigger. The bright red spot in the middle of the inflamed area is what’s left of the tube formed by the chiggers saliva. Often, these bumps are in groups and are found in enclosed areas that are under more tightly fitting clothing. One will find them on ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, and folds of skin like armpits and the backs of knees,
Chiggers are actually the larvae form of a mite found in high grass and wooded areas. In this larvae form, they seek human skin to eat. Their saliva liquifies skin so that they can eat it. They are very small (1/150th of an inch) and red in color, until they eat human flesh. After feeding they become yellow.
Fleas often bite in small groups of three or four. The bite will cause a rash of small red bumps that will sometimes bleed. These bites will develop red circular areas around the bite and will turn white when pressed. Flea bites are usually found around the legs, ankles, armpits, elbows, and the area behind knees.
These tiny creatures can leap long distances, and usually do so off of pets. When these are found, treatment of pets and the home must go hand in hand. You will need to contact your exterminator and veterinarian for home and pet treatment. Excessive itching of these bites can also cause infections, so anti itch creams can be a big help.
The tick bite looks like a dime sized red dot with a black dot in the middle. These bites are often mistaken for other kinds of insect bites. Sometimes the head of the tick remains in the skin and can be seen. They are found in wooded and grassy areas. When they feed on your blood, they usually are looking for warm, covered areas like the groin, hair covered areas and folds of skin. If the tick fully removes itself from the skin, the bite will heal on its own. But if the head breaks off inside and is not removed, complications can follow.
These complications can lead to two different diseases : Rocky mountain fever, or lyme disease. In the case of lyme disease, a second red circle will form around the inflamed area. Other symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, fatigue, headache, aching muscles or joints, or swollen lymph nodes. Rocky mountain fever usually cause a rash around the ankles and feet and spread up the body, sometimes accompanied by head and muscle aches. Its important to seek medical attention in the case of either of these diseases. They can be fatal.