22 Biting Insects - Names, Characteristics and PHOTOS

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Whether in humid areas such as lakes or rivers, in mountain hiking areas or in our own backyard, we can find different species of insects that bite. The types of insect bites vary from one insect to another, so their severity also depends on the poison they deposit. Most stings do not cause serious discomfort, although some can be fatal, especially if the person who receives it suffers from some type of allergy.

If you want to know more about the insects that can bite us, be sure to read this interesting article by Ecologist Verde, in which we will show you a stinging insects list and we will explain how they do it, what the bite of these is like and what type of insects they are.


Bees are the most important pollinating insects, having an essential function for the balance of ecosystems. They are insects that have an average life of five years and do not measure more than 1.5 cm. They are very sociable, living in colonies stabilized in swarms and organized in a hierarchy: queen bee, drones and worker bees.

The bee sting in most people it produces a mild reaction, however, on some occasions can cause death, if these people are allergic or if there is poisoning from swarming bee stings. To avoid a bee sting you must remain calm, since they sting to defend themselves, so if we panic and attack them, they will try to sting us, but it is only a defense mechanism. Bees lose their stingers when they sting and die.

We recommend you read these other articles on the Characteristics of bees and How to scare away bees.


Wasps are solitary insects, although they are also sometimes found living in colonies, and are generally harmless to humans. In fact, these instead of being harmful, benefit humans since they help control pests. They can be confused with bees, but wasps, unlike bees, have a pointed lower abdomen and a narrow waist. Here you can learn more about the Difference between bee, wasp and bumblebee.

The wasp stings They can be very painful, they also cause swelling and redness of the affected area around a white papule. Unlike bees, they do not lose their stingers. They bite to defend themselves when they feel attacked. Get to know them better by reading these other posts:

  • What are wasps for?
  • Asian wasp: how is it, nest and sting.
  • Potter wasp: how is it, nest and sting.


Mites belong to the arthropod family, they are very small so it is very difficult to identify them, for example, dust mites measure between 0.2 and 0.5 mm. They live in areas where there is dust so they can be found in any type of fabric, such as mattresses, pillows, rugs, bedding, etc. Apart from the dust mite, there are many species of mites and they abound in areas with a lot of vegetation, among decomposing waste products and in association with lichens and mosses.

The mite bites They are harmless in general, but sometimes cause itching, swelling, pain, and allergies.


Bed bugs are tiny insects the size of an apple seed, they are reddish parasites that usually hide in cracks and bed bases, as well as in headboards, bed frames or objects that are around them.

Are bite the skin of humans and animals while they sleep for feed on blood thereof. Although they are not known to spread diseases, they can become a health problem at different levels, as well as an economic problem (to eradicate them or replace real estate) or public health.

It is very common to find bed bugs in places that have a high volume of overnight guests such as hospitals, shelters or hotels. For its extermination it is always better to have the work of a professional.


Ticks are medium-sized arthropods that can measure between 3 and 8 mm, although females can reach up to 1 cm. They belong to the order Acarina and are biologically similar to scorpions and spiders. They have a life cycle of 4 phases: egg, larva, nymph and adult.

To go from nymph to adult, they need to feed on blood, so these, through a system of retrograde teeth, anchor themselves to the skin of their host, human or animal. During anchoring and sucking, they inoculate saliva, a substance made up of anesthetic components so that the sting is painless. They tend to bite in the hottest and humid areas of the body.

The tick bites They can cause fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, memory and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

Red Ant

The red ant belongs to the order of Hymenoptera and, as its name indicates, it has a red head and thorax with brown spots, although its abdomen is darker, being practically black. These live in colonies and are organized in hierarchy, both the males and the queens have wings with which they perform the nuptial flight, however, although the workers are also female, they do not have wings and have an underdeveloped reproductive system.

When they feel in danger, they expel formic acid that acts as a poison and introduce it into the skin of their attacker, it does so thanks to their strong jaws. The fire ant sting It can cause pain, swelling, redness in the area of the bite, itching, hives, pustules, and even in the most severe cases anaphylaxis.

We encourage you to read more about them in this other article on How ants communicate.

Black fly

The black fly, an autochthonous insect of Iberian ecosystems, is an insect that is annoying to us, which does not measure more than 6 mm and is similar to the wasp.

The black fly bite It is very intense, rather than itching, it bites the skin, leaving a large bruise that can remain on the skin for several days or even a week. When it bites it does so stealthily, resting its pastes as little as possible on the skin. The anesthetic it injects is very powerful and it also injects an anticoagulant to make the blood more fluid.

The sting on the skin also causes swelling, severe itching and dermatitis. The black fly bites humans and animals, especially goats, horses, sheep, cows and dogs, among others, and is a species that is favored by high temperatures.

You can read more information about this type of insects in these other posts: What are flies for and Home remedies for flies.


Mosquitoes belong to the order of Diptera. They are insects that present four stages in their life: egg, larva, pupa and adult, and they need environments with water to be able to complete their life cycle, since the larvae are aquatic. There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes in the world and most of these transmit diseases that end up causing at least two million deaths of people each year.

Are just the females the ones that bite and they locate people and animals by detecting carbon dioxide in perspiration, body odors and breath. The mosquito bite It is characterized as a red bump on the skin, the swelling of the bump can vary depending on the immune response of each person.

You can continue learning with these other posts about What are mosquitoes for and Home remedies for mosquitoes.


Lice are small parasitic insects that to feed they need the blood of humans and other animals. There are three types: those known as hair lice, which are those found on the head, especially in the area of the neck and behind the ears; body lice, which move across the skin to feed; or pubic lice, known as crabs, found on the skin where there is pubic hair.

They spread easily, especially it is very common among boys and girls of school age. Symptoms produced by lice bites They are severe itching, sores on the scalp, shoulders and neck, and bite lesions. They can become very annoying until they are completely eradicated, so going to the pharmacy as soon as possible to find a solution treatment can save us many days of despair due to itching and discomfort.


Fleas, especially from the families Ctenophthalmidae and Rhopalopsyllidae, are those that bite humans and animals, such as cats or dogs. An adult flea is 1-8 mm in size, they are aptera, strongly sclerotized and compressed on the sides.

The flea bite It is identified by the appearance of tiny spots surrounded by a reddish area, the area does not suffer too much swelling and although they are not painful, it can end up causing an unbearable itch. The parts of the body where fleas tend to bite are on the lower legs and near the feet. A flea bite can also lead to diseases such as tularemia, tungiansis, murine typhus or bubonic plague, which are diseases that cause a huge number of deaths.


Horseflies belong to the family of brachimeric diptera insects, they have two functional wings, are up to 2.5 cm in size, are normally dark in color and have a cutter-sucking device that cuts the epidermis, producing an accumulation of blood. which they later suck up.

The horsefly bite it produces a very painful cutaneous nodule, in addition to producing hives or even anaphylaxis, in a case of a generalized systemic allergic reaction.

Other biting insects

Other species of biting insects They are the following, but there are many more.

  • Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata)
  • Jumping ant (Myrmecia pilosula)
  • Fire ants (Solenopsis)
  • Cardboard wasp (Polistes dominula)
  • Asian wasp (Vespa velutina)
  • European hornet (Vespa crabro)
  • Scorpion beetle (Onychocerus albitarsis)
  • Plague flea (Xenopsylla cheopis)
  • Tropical bug (Cimex hemipterus)
  • Black bugTriatoma infestans)
  • Tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans)

Arachnid stings

In general, arachnid stings or bites are harmless and harmless. They are just a few types of spiders that really have fangs long enough to penetrate human skin and a really strong and aggressive venom to harm them. The effects of a spider bite can range from redness, swelling, and pain, in the mildest cases, to severe abdominal pain or death of the surrounding skin, in the most severe cases. Also, other arachnids that can sting and be dangerous are scorpions, depending on the species they can be more or less.

Next, we indicate a list with some species of arachnids that can be dangerous because of their bite:

  • The brown recluse spider
  • The black widow spider
  • The hobo spider
  • The grass spider
  • The mouse spider
  • The intercotidal spider
  • The wolf spider
  • Morelos scorpions and other species of scorpions

Get to know these animals better by reading this other post about Arachnids: characteristics, types and examples. You can also learn more about insects, which bites and which do not, by reading these other articles on Classification of insects and What are insects and their characteristics.

If you want to read more articles similar to Stinging insects, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.

  • de Roodt, A. R., Salomón, O. D., Orduna, T. A., Robles Ortiz, L. E., Paniagua Solís, J. F., & Alagón Cano, A. (2005). Bee sting poisoning. Medical Gazette of Mexico, 141(3), 215-222.
  • Rodríguez Acosta, A., Torres, F., Girón, M., Aguilar, I., & Reyes, M. (1999). The problem of wasp stings (insecta, hymenoptera, vespidea polistinae) at the international level: biological and social aspects. Rev. Fac. Med. (Caracas), 120-3.
  • Pastrana, J., Blasco, R., Erce, R., & Pinillos, M. A. (2003). Animal stings and bites. In Annals of the Navarra health system (Vol. 26, pp. 225-241).
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