Different Types of Bug Bites

August 25, 2014 | 0

Stings and bites from bugs are common everywhere. They could result in redness, swelling, pain and itching in the affected area. Most bites are usually harmless but a few of them could cause permanent skin diseases by transmitting pathogens like viruses, bacteria, or parasites to humans. Out of a million species of insects on earth, more than 80,000 are true bugs, living anywhere in the world, on land or in the water. With their specialized mouth parts,  they suck fluid from plants and feed on animals.

What are bugs?

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Bugs are arthropods living primarily on land and in some places on water. With a million species they are at the helm of present-day land fauna representing about three-fourths of known animal life. Their actual number is unknown but is estimated to be around 10 million.

bug bites pictures

Types of Bug bites

While many bugs leave us with skin irritation and pain for a few hours to a day or two, there are others that could get under the skin giving serious skin diseases and fever. Since it’s not feasible to study each one, we can categorize the most common bug bites as follows:

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  1. Mosquito bite: A mosquito bite causes an itchy round and red skin bump. A serious mosquito bite starts showing the symptoms in 5 to 15 days. It gives a headache and body ache, fever, swollen glands and a skin rash. People with severe infection may develop encephalitis.
  2. Bed bug bite: It is usually not painful but causes an allergic reaction because of the bug’s saliva that may last for several days. The skin becomes intensely itchy and red. Such bites can occur anywhere on the body but mostly on uncovered areas such as neck, face, arms and hands.
  3. Spider Bite: This might not be poisonous but is similar to a bee sting when it comes to the symptoms (red skin, swelling, pain). Allergic reactions might develop at times such as tight chest, difficulty in breathing and a swollen face. It may not be painful but one can experience muscle pain and rigidity, stomach and back pain, nausea and vomiting.
  4.  Flea Bites: In this situation the symptoms begin within a few hours such as a small, red skin rash that may bleed as well, severe itching, and swelling around the sore. Flea bites are more common on the ankles, armpits, and waist, in the bends of knees and elbows. The rash generally spreads with time.
  5. Lice Bites: Found in the hair they also hidden in the neck area of the scalp or behind the ear. Being very small in size, they usually don’t hurt but itch a lot sometimes causing a larger, uncomfortable skin rash. Continual scratching leads to swollen lymph nodes and red skin. People usually get it from others who have lice.
  6. Ticks: When outdoors, one must be careful of ticks especially around grass and plants. They carry diseases such as Lyme disease and fever. After affecting the skin this bug moves to the moist areas such as armpits and feeds on blood passing the pathogens it carries. Once found, it is important to quickly remove them with a repellant or DEET.
  7. Ant bites and stings: One of the most painful, these first hold on to the skin and then sting that could last up to a week. Some types of ants like the fire ants are venomous and produce a sharp pain with a burning sensation and a blister in severe cases. Another kind is the carpenter ant which is relatively less poisonous but sprays formic acid into the bite causing a burning sensation.
  8. Mite bites: Mites usually feed on insects but also sting other animals as well as humans. Such bites generally go unnoticed till they get itchy, causing red marks that might look like a skin rash.

types of bug bites

Chiggers are also a form of mite that bites to inject their saliva so that it liquefies skin, making it easy for them to eat. The affected skin around the bite hardens and develops a red welt.

Avoiding bug bites

With a few precautions one can avoid being bitten or stung.

  • Avoiding exposing skin and areas that are most vulnerable by covering, especially outdoors and at a place with a lot of grass and plants.
  • Applying insect repellent particularly in summer or autumn is most effective.
  • Using products with strong perfume can attract insects, so avoiding them could be of help.
  • Restraining from flowering plants outdoors and taking care of rubbish and compost to avoid breeding.
  • One must evade from camping near water, such as ponds and swamps – where these bugs are commonly found.
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