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Identifying Different Insect Bites

Tick Bites

Tick bites are typically very easy to determine as ticks burrow their heads into their human hosts in order to feed. As such, the tick itself is often present within the bite. When you find such a tick, it is important to remove it immediately and be checked by a physician. In particular, it is important to be aware of signs of infection or disease. For example, in the case of Lyme disease, which is infamously passed by ticks, it is common that the victim will develop a circular rash around the site of the bite.

Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs leave behind itchy red spots. Luckily, since bed bugs cannot transmit diseases, these bites are safe, but highly annoying and creepy as you know you are sharing your bed with blood-sucking arachnids. 

The bites often appear in lines as bed bugs are lazy and will bite as they walk along. They also do not like to bite underneath clothing, so if you are wearing pajamas at night, they are far more likely to bite your exposed limbs, feet, neck, etc. 

Black Widow Bites

The bite of a black widow appears as two clear puncture marks. Black widows have very strong fangs and are easily able to stab through human skin to inject venom into their victims. This venom contains a powerful neurotoxin that will begin radiating pain in the location of the wound before spreading to the chest, other limbs, abdomen or even the entire body. 

Only female black widows bite and, in some cases, their bites are rather harmless. This is due to the fact that they are able to acutely control the release of their venom, deciding how much to release per bite – if at all. Furthermore, symptoms from the bite may take a few hours to even begin to show. However, this does not mean that a black widow bite should be taken at all lightly. Depending on the amount of venom released, and the health of the individual bitten, these bites can cause extreme health complications and even death. 

Flea Bites

Depending on the person, the severity of flea bites can vary. Some people are far more sensitive to the bites of fleas than others. In general, the bites are very itchy and cause skin irritation in the surrounding areas leading to sores or rashes. 

The bites appear as small red-colored bumps and tend to be in little clusters. Sometimes an extra reddish halo appears around the center of the bite as well.  

Brown Recluse Bites

The jaws of brown recluse are not very strong, and, as such, the spider’s pinchers will struggle to penetrate human skin in the absence of counter pressure. However, this is not unlikely to occur when in contact with a brown recluse. The elusive arachnid prefers to remain hidden, and most encounters with them are accidental when picking up a box or toy, moving an old piece of furniture, etc. In these cases, your hand or arm may unintentionally come in direct contact with the spider, causing them to strike out in defense. This added pressure of your hand against the spider is enough to allow them to bite through your skin, injecting their venom into your blood stream. 

These bites are very painful! The pain is localized and accompanied by a stinging sensation. These bites originally develop into a blister before eventually splitting into a lesion and, in severe cases, can cause skin necrosis – destruction of the skin tissue. 

Fire Ant Sting

True to the name of the ant, these stings BURN! Small red lesions appear and can even become puss-filled small bumps that itch. A small number of stings may be painful but are relatively harmless. However, if a victim is stung a multitude of times there is a risk of severe allergic reactions to the toxin. In such cases, it is vital to seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. 

Citations

Brennan, D. MD. (2020) Bad Bugs Slideshow: Identifying Bugs and Their Bites, WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/ss/slideshow-bad-bugs (Accessed: June 2020). 

Holland, K. (2017) Everything You Need to Know About Fleabites, Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/flea-bites#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1 (Accessed: June 2020). 

Mehta, F. (2018) What Happens After a Black Widow Spider Bite?, Medical News Today

Medically Reviewed by G. Whitoworth. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313647 (Accessed: April 2020).

Venomous Spiders (2018) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Institute for 

Occupational Safety and Health. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders/default.html (Accessed: April 2020).