So exactly what kind of bugs and other creatures bite and sting? If you live in the United States, here's a list of some of the ones you might find around your home:
Mosquitoes, fleas and other little biters
- Mosquitoes like to be around pools of water, people, and food. They suck your blood and make small red bumps that can get very itchy. The more you scratch, the bigger the bumps get. Almost everybody gets mosquito bites, and they are hardly ever anything to worry about. Sometimes, though, they can carry disease, so if you start to feel sick, tell your mom, dad, or another adult.
- Fleas usually like to bite dogs, cats and other animals. This means they could take a bite out of you! The tiny brown bug leaves a small red bump when it bites and sucks blood. It itches and you might have more than one. Flea bites are annoying, but they rarely hurt.
- Bedbugs are small, flat bugs that might live in your house. They can be found in any home, but they really like to live in places where a lot of people come and go, like an apartment, hotel or cruise ship. They also are found more often in warm places and houses with pets. They like to hide during the day and come out at night to suck your blood when you are fast asleep. Bedbug bites look like tiny red bumps and feel itchy. If you scratch the bites, they might get infected.
- Chiggers are bugs that are so tiny you might need a magnifying glass to see them. They also are called mites. Their bites look like little red bumps and they make your skin very itchy. Try not to scratch, though, or the bites could become infected.
Bees and other stingers
- Bees can produce sweet honey, but being stung by one is not so nice. It hurts! Some bees leave their stingers behind, so have a grown-up help you scrape it away. The sting can make your skin red, puffy, itchy or feel hot for a while. The same goes for wasp stings. For most people, bee and wasp stings hurt, but aren't dangerous. Some people, though, are allergic to a bee's or wasp's venom. To learn more about the signs of an insect sting and if you need to get help right away, visit Reactions to bites and stings.
There are more than 3,000 different kinds of spiders in the United States. Most spiders only bite when they think they are in danger. The bites leave very tiny holes in your skin that you might not even see. Some of these bites can hurt a bit, itch, or get puffy. Two types of spider bites are dangerous:
- Black widow spiders have shiny black bodies and orange or red shapes on their bellies that look kind of like an hourglass. The black widow is small – its body is only about the size of your thumbnail – but it has very long legs. The spiders like to hide in quiet, dark places like under your porch or in your attic or basement. These bites hurt and contain poison, so tell your mom, dad or another adult if you get bitten. You need to get help right away!
- Brown recluse spiders are the same size as black widow spiders, but are brown and have a small, dark brown spot on their heads. Brown recluse spiders also hide in dark, quiet places. The bite might not hurt much at first, but it then gets sore, red, and puffy and can blister. You might need to go to the hospital to have a doctor treat the bite.
- Ticks are little critters – some are as small as a pencil point and their bites might cause a round, bull's-eye rash. They usually like to hang out in wooded areas that have a lot of trees and bushes. Some of these critters can cause disease, an infection that makes you feel like you have the flu.
- Some of these critters can cause Lyme disease, RMSP (Rocky Mountain spotted fever) and infections.
Next: Tips to avoid bites and stings.