It’s hard to distinct insect bites and stings without the proper resources. Read ahead to find out how to tell the difference between bug bites.

Bed bug bites

Bed bugs are small, apple seed looking bugs that feed on human blood. Their bites are small, slightly swollen red dots that can turn into blisters from excessive scratching. They generally appear on the body in concentrated clusters or in a line around the joints (i.e. elbows, knees and armpits) or the waist. In rare cases, bed bug bites can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms include asthma, anaphylaxis, and hives.

First aid for bed bug bites:

  • Clean the bite site with soap and water
  • Apply a topical cream from the pharmacy

Bed bug bites on the arm

Flea bites

Fleas are small bugs that are often associated with pets. They are red or brown in appearance and are only 1-3mm in length. They can cause several health problems for your pets (i.e. tick paralysis, tapeworm etc.). Like bed bug bites, their bites appear as small red dots. However, flea bites have a more distinct bite site with a red halo. You will most likely find them around the lower leg area.

First aid for flea bites:

  • Wash the bite site with soap and water
  • Apply an ice pack to bite site to reduce swelling
  • Apply a topical cream from the pharmacy/chemist

Flea bites on foot

Mosquito stings

Mosquitoes cause extremely itchy and puffy red bumps on the skin. Where ever there is exposed skin, mosquitoes will find a place to sting. Their stings can cause hives, swellings, allergic reactions and even carry harmful diseases. Did you know, mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animal causing more than 1 million deaths across the world per year?

First aid for mosquito stings:

  • Clean the sting site with soap and water
  • Apply an ice pack to the sting site/s
  • Apply a topical cream from the pharmacy/chemist

Mosquito sting on arm

Bees & wasp stings

Honeybees, bumble bees and solitary bees can deliver painful stings with their stingers. However, they only sting when feeling provoked. On the other hand, wasps are more aggressive and can sting repeatedly (bees can only sting once). Bee and wasp stings look like swollen red marks which can last up to a week. You will know once a bee or wasp has bitten you as there will be an instant sharp pain at the sting site. This is due to the toxic venom that is administered in the sting. If allergic, you could suffer from difficulty breathing or unconsciousness.

First aid for mild bee/wasp stings:

  • Remove the stinger immediately (can be done with a credit card)
  • Clean the sting site with soap and water to remove the venom
  • Apply an ice pack to the sting site
  • Antihistamine tablets, Topical creams/lotions are available at your local chemist
  • If you have known allergies to bees/wasps, seek medical attention immediately.

Bee sting on hand

Spider bites

Spider bite severity varies depending on which species has bitten you. The most common spider bites come from funnel-web, redback and mouse spiders (which are all classified as dangerous/deadly). Their bites generally produce itchy red welts where bitten. Symptoms include pain at the bite site, fever, chills, sweating, breathing difficulties, headaches, muscular pains, cramping, nausea/vomiting, and others.

First aid for spider bite:

If you have been bitten by a deadly/dangerous spider, please seek medical attention immediately by calling 000. To find out which Australian spiders are classified as deadly/dangerous, click here!

spider bite on finger