Insect Bites- Types, First Aid and Remedies

Some insects like honeybees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants may cause insect stings. While not everyone is allergic to insect venom, reactions in the skin such as mild pain, swelling, and redness may occur with an insect sting. The venom injected into your body from the bite or sting of an insect will cause your immune system to respond. Often, your body’s immediate response will include redness and swelling at the site of the bite or sting.

Types of Stings and What Causes Them


Most spider bites are relatively harmless. Anywhere from several hours to a day after you get bitten, you may notice symptoms similar to those of an insect sting or bite. At the site of the bite, you may experience:

  • redness
  • swelling
  • pain
  • itching

Stinging Insects:

Fire Ant Bites

Fire ants are small, aggressive, red or black venomous ants with a painful, stinging bite. Bites appear as swollen red spots that develop a blister on top. Stings burn, itch, and last up to a week.

They may cause a dangerous, severe allergic reaction in some people, resulting in swelling, generalized itching, and difficulty breathing.

Flea bites

Flea bites are usually located in clusters on the lower legs and feet. The itchy, red bumps are surrounded by a red halo. Symptoms begin immediately after you’re bitten.

Bedbug Bites

The itchy rash is caused by an allergic reaction to the bedbug bite. The small rashes have red, swollen areas and dark-red centers.

Bites may appear usually on areas of the body not covered by clothing, such as the hands, neck, or feet. There may be very itchy blisters or hives at the bite site.


Pain, redness, swelling, or itching occurs at the site of the sting. A white spot appears where the stinger punctured the skin. Unlike bumblebees and carpenter bees, honeybees can only sting once due to their barbed stinger that can remain in the skin.


Sharp pain, redness, swelling, and itching or burning occurs at the sting site. A raised welt appears around the sting site.

Wasps can be aggressive and are capable of stinging multiple times.


These are eight-legged arachnids with large pincers and long, segmented, stinger-tipped tails carried in a forward curve over their backs.

Many species with variable levels of toxicity can be found all over the world.

Intense pain, tingling, numbness, and swelling occurs around the sting. Rare symptoms include breathing difficulties, muscle twitching, drooling, sweating, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, restlessness, excitability, and inconsolable crying. Severe symptoms are more likely in infants and children than adults.

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions

The severity of your symptoms can vary, depending on the type of insect that bites or stings you. Some people also develop a severe allergic reaction to insect stings or bites. Bee and wasp allergies are particularly common. A severe allergic reaction can cause:

  • hives
  • abdominal cramps
  • nausea and vomiting
  • swelling of your face, lips, or throat
  • breathing problems
  • shock

If you or someone you know begins to experience these symptoms shortly after being bitten or stung by an insect, call 108 or local emergency services.

First Aid

First Aid in most cases are lifesaving. It is necessary that every adult and child must know first aid, especially in case of insect stings. Not all bites or stings are the same. You will need different first aid treatment and medical care depending on what type of creature has bitten or stung you.

  1. Remove the Stinger (for Honeybee Stings)

Honeybees and yellow jackets are the only insects that leave a stinger in the skin. Scrape the area with a fingernail or credit card to remove it.

Don’t pinch the stinger with your fingers or tweezers — that can inject more venom.

  1. Clean the Area

Wash the bite or sting with mild soap and water.

  1. Treat Symptoms

Remove any tight jewellery from the area of the bite or sting. It could be hard to get off once the area swells.

Ice the area for 10 minutes and then remove the ice for 10 minutes. Then repeat.

If the sting was on an arm or leg, elevate the area.

Instant Pain Relief

Analgesics that are formulated for babies or children, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help. Be sure to follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. If your child is under the recommended age, call a paediatrician.

An antihistamine formulated for children may help with swelling and itch. It can be taken by mouth or applied directly to the site of the sting. Call a paediatrician before using an antihistamine in infants or toddlers.

Apply a mixture of baking soda and water or calamine lotion for itch.


Most people are bitten or stung by insects, spiders, or snakes at some point in their lives. For mild bites and stings, basic first aid treatment is usually enough. Treat the area for minor bleeding, swelling, pain, and itching. If you suspect that someone may be having a severe reaction to a bite or sting, help them get medical attention right away.

References : Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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