Nearly any insect or other arthropod can bite in self-defense, but some “bugs” go out of their way to get you. Here are the common bloodsuckers and other biting insects.
These insects and arachnids need blood for survival. Most feed on animals rather than people.
- Mosquitoes: Flies with piercing-sucking mouth parts. Only the females bite so that they can extract the protein they need for the development of their eggs.
- Black flies: these flies are found near fast-flowing streams. Like mosquitoes only the females bite.
- Biting midges: These tiny flies are also known as “no-see-ums” or “punkies.”
- Horse flies and deer flies: Are large to very large flies. The females carve a chunk out of your skin, then lick up the blood. Many have colorful eyes.
- Bed bugs: Small, flat, wingless insects associated mainly with humans.
- Kissing bugs: Assassin bugs that feed on blood, mostly on rodents.
- Head lice and body lice: are found only on people. Roughly 2-3 mm in length. They only move by crawling and are spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact.
- Fleas: These tiny, flat from side-to-side insects, are most commonly associated with mammals or birds.
- Ticks: Are parasitic arachnids that feed on a variety of animals.
These insects often bite with no provocation, but they do not feed on blood or tissue.
- Minute Pirate Bugs: Tiny, black-and-white insects common in agricultural areas.
- Green lacewing larvae: Prey on aphids, but sometimes fall out of trees and shrubs onto people. They can deliver a painful bite.
- Lady beetles, like the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, have the ability to deliver a painful bite.
Here are some tips to reduce your risk of being bitten.
- Use insect repellent, such as such as Ben’s® Tick & Insect Repellent or Natrapel 8-Hour (a DEET-free insect repellent that provides 8+ hours of protection from biting insects and ticks) from Tender Corporation. www.tendercorp.com.
- Wear long pants and long sleeves outdoors.
- Use mosquito netting when spending the night outdoors.
- Control rodents and other wildlife that blood-feeding biting insects feed on.
- Drain water from objects that collect rainwater to reduce mosquito breeding.
- Always inspect hotel, motel, dorm rooms, and other lodging for bed bugs.