Insect bites and stings

Alternative Names

Bedbug bite; Bee sting; Bites – insects, bees, and spiders; Black widow spider bite; Brown recluse bite; Flea bite; Honey bee or hornet sting; Lice bites; Mite bite; Scorpion bite; Spider bite; Wasp sting; Yellow jacket sting

Definition of Insect bites and stings

Insect bites and stings can cause an immediate skin reaction. The bite from fire ants and the sting from bees, wasps, and hornets are usually painful. Bites caused by mosquitoes, fleas, and mites are more likely to cause itching than pain.


The nonemergency symptoms vary according to the type of insect and the individual. Most people have localized pain, redness, swelling, or itching. You may also feel burning, numbness, or tingling.


Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 1/13/2010

Bedbug - close-up
Black widow spider
Body louse
Kissing bug
Dust mite
Mosquito, adult feeding on the skin
Insect stings and allergy
Brown recluse spider
Black widow spider
Stinger removal
Flea bite - close-up
Insect bite reaction - close-up
Insect bites on the legs
Head louse, male
Head louse - female
Head louse infestation - scalp
Lice, body with stool (Pediculus humanus)
Body louse, female and larvae
Crab louse, female
Pubic louse-male
Head louse and pubic louse
Brown recluse spider bite on the hand
Insect bites and stings

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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