7 Common Insect Bites, Identify, Treat and Prevent

How to Identify Insect Bites, Treatment and prevention

Summertime brings numerous opportunities for having fun outdoors and enjoying nature. But, unfortunately, nature brings some hidden dangers. Insect bites rank among the most unpleasant and potentially dangerous of those.

Insect bites could turn into a severe problem if a person is allergic or if the spot gets infected. Therefore, recognizing insect bites and knowing how to react is essential in preventing an allergic reaction.

How to Identify Insect Bites

In most cases, the place where an insect has bitten into the skin is red and slightly swollen. In addition, it can get unpleasantly warm or itchy. In other cases, insect bites can be dangerous and even fatal.

Below we list a few common insects and their insect bites.

Black Flies

Black flies, also referred to as “buffalo gnats” and “turkey gnats,” are common in the northeast and midwest. They are a tiny, robust fly and a huge nuisance, especially during the late spring and early summer. They not only bite humans, but they also bite pests, wildlife, poultry and livestock. Their size ranges from 5 – 15 mm, and most are black; however, orange and, yellow black fly species can be found.

Generally, they are not known to cause disease, but this is an ongoing investigation. Because they suck blood, there are concerns about the possibility of the spread of disease agents.

Their bites cause different reactions to different individuals, animals and others. The bite can range from a small puncture wound to an enlarged and swelled area the size of a golf ball. The “black river fever” originated from this fly, with the symptoms being fever, headache, nausea and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

The best and most effective way to control black flies and keep them from disrupting your backyard lifestyle is the application of a safe treatment from a reputable pest control company.

If you choose to venture out to an area not treated, wear protective clothing, minimizing the access to the skin so black flies cannot attempt to feed and suck your blood.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Black Fly


Adult fleas are dark reddish-brown or dark brown and are generally 1.5 – 3.5 mm. They have an oval-shaped body, have six legs and are wingless. They are found in every state across the country, with over 300 different species in the US and 2,500 species across the globe.

Fleas typically bite animals around the neck, back and abdomen. As they jump-off, they hide in bedding, furniture and carpet. This is when they can bite humans.

If you are experiencing flea bites, they will be in the region of the feet and the ankles; however, they can extend up the lower part of the legs. You can have many bites if you have a flea infestation in your home. The bites are tiny and very itchy as the bites themselves rarely cause concern. The bites leave a small discolored bump with a ring that may appear around it.

A more severe reaction can be a rash, hives, increased swelling and shortness of breath. In rare cases, if an infection occurs from a disease carried by the flea, flu-like symptoms, fever, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness and weakness can occur along with the common, less severe symptoms.

Fleas pierce the skin, suck the blood and secrete saliva into the bloodstream. It is the saliva that causes the bite to itch because the body registers it as an allergen. The immune system reacts to remove the allergen, which causes the bites to itch and swell.

In most instances, over-the-counter anti-itch creams, ointments and antihistamines can be used to relieve the itchy irritation. In more severe cases, consult a medical professional for treatment.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Fleas


Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Young bed bugs are less than 5 mm in length, have clear or whitish-yellow colors and are invisible to the eye. Adult bed bugs are the size of an apple seed, oval-shaped, reddish-brown to light brown and 5-7 mm in length.

They are most active while people sleep. They use their small tube-like structure called a proboscis to pierce and drink a person’s blood from the skin. 

These bites can be anywhere the skin is exposed during the night, leaving you feeling itchy, sore and irritated. Common bite areas are the arms, legs, face, hands, neck and shoulders.

Bed bugs will generally produce some degree of irritation. However, people hypersensitive to bites will develop more severe symptoms immediately after the bite. Bed bug bites can be itchy, have a burning sensation, form blisters, and inflamed.

Those who may develop a severe reaction can be fever, flu-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, swollen tongue and an irregular heartbeat.

Most bed bug bites will clear up on their own within a week or two. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams and antihistamines can work to ease the discomfort. If there is a more severe reaction epinephrine medication or an injectable corticosteroid may be needed, however, always consult with a medical professional first. 

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Bed Bugs


Ticks continue to be a safety threat and health concern. They spread the debilitating illness known as Lyme disease. There are different types of ticks. The most common in the northeast is the black-legged (deer) tick. They feed and suck the blood of the white-tailed deer, which is why they are given the name deer ticks.

A tick bite may leave no mark. However, at times there can be a red spot that may itch. Most often, a tick bite is recognized when the tick has attached itself to the skin. An indication you have been infected can be a red ring around where the bite was. If bitten and or show signs of a tick bite, it is vital to seek medical attention as Lyme disease is a severe health risk and reason for concern.

Because ticks are a significant health concern, it is critical for the proper pest control treatment to be put in place to protect people and pets who will be enjoying the outdoor space.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Ticks


Mosquitoes are quite the annoyance as most of us experience their unpleasantness. The bites can be extremely itchy and irritating. The swelling and unpleasant feeling can persist for several days. Keep in mind that mosquitoes spread various infections.

Putting the proper pest control techniques in place can help to keep these nasty little insects away.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Mosquito

Wasps, Bees, Yellow Jackets and Hornets

Wasps and bees vary in color. Wasps can be solid black, red to metallic blue. Yellow jackets have black and yellow striped bodies. Their size ranges from 1/4 inch to 1 inch long. Because there is a variety of honey bee species, the colors can range from light brown and golden yellow to black, with most having a variation of these dark to light striations. Their size is approximately 15 mm long.

The two main risks from these insect stings are infection and allergic reaction, which can be fatal for some people. For most, getting stung will cause some pain, irritation and swelling. It is vital to have the stinger removed, and if you experience significant swelling, trouble breathing can follow.

A severe reaction to a sting can be life-threatening. Shock, difficulty breathing, dizziness, unconsciousness and, laryngeal blockage, throat swelling can occur.

As most stings cause no harm, just the initial pain of the sting and some discomfort, if you are allergic or an infection occurs, it is critical to seek medical attention immediately. Otherwise, some ice may ease the discomfort.

It is essential to examine your body carefully after spending some time in nature. Some of the bites will be painless, and you will be unable to sense anything. Look for swelling, red spots, or unusual skin bleeding.

If you have a nest on your property, whether it’s above ground or below, never try to get rid of it on your own. This is a dangerous task; therefore, the removal should only be done by a professional pest control specialist.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Wasps


Spiders are generally harmless; however, there are several that are quite dangerous such as the black widow, which is a dangerous venomous spider. A human can be bitten by a black widow when they come in direct contact with their web. There would will appear as two puncture marks. Their neurotoxin Venum will produce pain that can spread quickly throughout the entire body.

With most spider bites, an inflamed, itchy, and sometimes painful bump will occur on the skin. Cleaning the area with soap and water, applying a cold washcloth and ice, elevating the bite area with suffice. In some instances, an antihistamine and over-the-counter pain reliever can help the swelling and pain.

Again, as with all insect bites, if allergic or infection sets in, always seek help from a medical professional.

7 Common Insect Bites, Identify And Treatment, Black Widow Spider

Is there a cause for concern

Most insects are harmless. Generally, when they pose a health risk, it evolves from infection and those who are allergic. As for ticks, Lyme disease poses a severe health risk and the black widow spider, because it is poisonous, is also a grave health concern.

 Protecting Yourself

 Insects are everywhere, however, there are ways you can decrease the risks of getting bitten. Below we list a few insect bite protection tips.

  • Avoid tall grass
  • Refrain from wearing fragrances as mosquitoes are highly attracted to them.
  • Wear high socks and pants long sleeve shirts when in outdoor areas where insects may be prevalent.
  • Always inspect your entire body when coming indoors after a day outdoors.
  • Dispose of any standing-still water on the property.
  • Keep the yard clean, grass cut short and dispose of decaying wood.

Call For Pest Control and Removal Services

Pest control services are offered year-round. As different seasons require different types of control for different pests that are prevalent throughout each season.

During the spring and summer, there is an increase in the number of insects we have identified here. These are the seasons they are thriving. Let’s control their presence and keep yourself, your family, guests and pets safe. Contact NJ Pest Control for professional, GreenPro-certified pest control services to stop these nasty little insect bites from occurring.