Common Stinging or Biting Insects or Spiders
Many insects, such as the following, cause mild reactions:
- Kissing bugs.
- Nonpoisonous spiders.
- Lice. For more information on lice, see the topic Body Lice, Head Lice, or Pubic Lice.
Some insects are more likely than others to cause allergic or toxic reactions.
- A bee leaves its stinger behind and then dies after stinging. Africanized honeybees, the so-called killer bees, are more aggressive than common honeybees and often attack together in great numbers. Reaction to bee stings can range from minor skin swelling and redness to a serious allergic reaction.
- Wasps, including hornets and yellow jackets, can sting over and over. Yellow jackets cause the greatest number of allergic reactions.
- A fire ant attaches to a person by biting with its jaws. Then, pivoting its head, it stings from its abdomen in a circular pattern at multiple sites.
Bites and stings are more serious if you develop one or more of the following conditions after an insect or spider bite or sting:
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine