12 Bug Bites Everybody Should Be Able To Recognize And Identify

Have you been bitten recently by an insect but you don’t know what kind it was? It isn’t always easy to identify the insect that bit you, but it is important to learn the difference in bites as many of them carry and transmit diseases. 

We have put together an easy guide for you that will allow you to identify the insect that bit you quickly and easily! 


A hornet bite will feel red, swollen, and very painful. A hornet carries two poisons, histamine, and acetylcholine. If you start to feel any coldness in your limbs, breathing issues, or your lips and ears go blue, seek medical attention immediately, this study in Science Direct says.



You will feel a burning and severe itch where a bee has stung you according to the study by Michael L. Smith, "Honey bee sting pain index by body location". You may also need to take the stinger out of your skin after the bee bites you. As long as you aren’t allergic you will be fine. But if you are allergic to bee poison, you could have breathing issues that require a trip to the doctor. 


A tick attaches to your skin, drinking blood, and becoming more prominent. Ticks can carry Lyme disease (learn more from the CDC here), encephalitis (learn more in a retrospective clinical study here), and other conditions. When you spot the tick in your skin, it will need to be removed immediately, according to Medscape. If the red spot from the tick continues to grow and won’t go away, see a doctor immediately. 


If you get stung by a wasp, the area will become red and swollen and you will feel a burning, painful sensation, according to this 2013 study. The itching will occur later. You should only be concerned if you are allergic, as there is a risk of anaphylactic shock if you are. 


A mosquito bite will cause the affected skin to become swollen, itchy, and red (learn more about why in Medical News Today). A mosquito will bite the area of the body where the skin is thin so that they can get to your blood vessels easier. Mosquito bites are generally harmless. 


A cleg, otherwise known as a horsefly, will leave red spots on the area that they bite. Their bite is also excruciating (learn more at Medical News Today. The spot will swell up and begin to itch. A cleg can transmit anthrax, according to one study, and tularemia, according to another, but they usually only bite cattle and not humans. 


Many people mistake flea bites for mosquito bites or allergies because the spots are swollen or red. But a flea bite is painful, and the itching is worse, according to this study in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Flea bites can transmit many types of severe infections and the victim is typically bitten on the legs in their sleep. 

Bed Bugs 

A bed bug bite may first look like a mosquito or flea bite or an allergic reaction. Your skin will become red and swollen and will begin to itch (learn more in this 2012 study). But bed bug bites are always close together and can look like “roads” on your skin. They are also more painful than mosquito bites. 


Most common ants do not present health risks to humans. But a red fire ant can according to Medscape. If you are bitten by one, a pustule will appear and can later scar. A red fire ant has toxins in their poison that can cause an allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock. A thatching ant’s bite will look more like a mosquito bite. You will feel a burning pain when one bites you and it will be itchy for a very long time. 


You may have head lice if you notice little red dots on your neck, head, and behind your ears. Bites are typically just a few inches from one another and your skin will look pierced. Lice can transmit typhoid and trench-fever, according to research on Headlice.org, and are very contagious. 

Deer Flies


Deer flies can be found near lakes or ponds and their bites manifest in a red bump or welt. They can transmit rabbit fever (aka tularemia) which causes fever, ulcers, or headaches, says Medscape. Go to the doctor immediately if a deer fly bite is suspected, the illness can be treated with antibiotics before it becomes very dangerous.


It's not technically an insect, but it's a common household bite. The brown recluse spider lives in midwest or southern states and likes dark spaces like attics. The bite is painful and leaves a red area on the skin, according to WebMD. But it will only bite if it feels attacked or cornered, so it's best to leave it alone.

We hope this article will help you identify any bites you may get! Let us know in the if you have any other tips for bug bites and show this article to your friends and family!

Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation with your doctor. Your health is important to us!