Stinging/Biting Insect Information

Which insects bite and/or sting?
Spiders and mosquitoes are commonly known for bites. Ticks fleas and common houseflies also bite. Insects such as, honeybees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets are known to both bite and sting.

What do insect bites look like?
Insect bites appear swollen and sometimes red and raised. It may also bring on an itching and burning sensation.

How do you treat insect bites?
Bites should be washed with soap and water and treated with a drying lotion such as Calamine lotion or baking soda and water paste. If an allergic reaction occurs dial 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.

What happens if a bite becomes infected?
Constant scratching will cause an infection and the bite will appear red, open and weepy. Please contact your health care provider if the bite becomes infected.

Are there insects that don’t bite or sting but can still cause irritation or pain?
Yes, if touched a hairy or spiny caterpillar can cause skin irritation or redness, itching, swelling and a raised rash.

Where do insect bites occur on the body?
The entire body can be a target for an insect bites even the hands and fingers. If a bite occurs on the hands or fingers immediately remove all jewelry in case of swelling. Also apply a cold compress.

When do most insect bites occur?
Most insect bites occur during warm temperatures.

Can you avoid insect bites?
Yes, the best ways to prevent insect bites are to:

  • Keep away from bee hives or areas that attract them or house insects.
  • Avoid dressing children who are allergic to bee stings in brightly colored clothes or clothes with flowery patterns.
  • Avoid using perfumes, hair sprays and colognes that may attract bees.
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants when working in basements or outdoor areas where spiders and insects live.
  • Check your child’s skin and scalp after outdoor play for any ticks or tick bites.

Where can I find more information about sting/biting insects?
For further information on insect bites and stings please visit the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Web site.