These Innocent-Looking Bug Bites Are Actually Dangerous

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Unless you're a seasoned bug expert, that tiny bump on your skin is probably hard to identify. Ant bites, spider bites, and other nuisances can all look eerily similar. Especially during the summertime, your skin is extremely susceptible to bites, rashes, and other ailments caused by passing critters.

Even if you do everything in your power to keep these insects away, you might still get a bite or two. Most of the time, this is no big deal. Who hasn't been bitten by an ant or a mosquito? But some bites can actually have effects that are far worse than simple scratching.

Though the bites on this list might look innocuous, there are dangers looming with each one. Some bites are fine - until you scratch them open. Others could come from bugs that transmit dangerous bacteria and diseases. If you find yourself afflicted with any of the consequences of these bites and stings, seek medical attention immediately. All these afflictions are treatable - you just have to know what to look for. These are the innocent-looking bug bites that could actually be dangerous.

Bedbug Bites

Bedbug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites or spider bites at first, since they can appear similar. But bedbugs don't go away - they get worse. Some people are actually allergic to the bugs when they bite; too many of these allergic reactions could be dangerous. Additionally, bedbugs can carry germs and parasites. While scientists aren't sure these can be transmitted to humans, they're still nasty. Get rid of those bugs ASAP.

Black Widow Spider Bites

These spiders are actually quite easy to recognize - black widow spiders look distinctive, with plump, black, hourglass-shaped bodies. Their bite, on the other hand, could be easily overlooked. Since the initial bite only feels like a small pinprick, you might miss it as it happens. Initially, it looks like a small, swollen red pinprick. But if you have been bitten, you should seek medical attention right away. Black widow spider bites aren't usually fatal (though they can be in rare cases), but you may experience extreme levels of pain and muscle spasms. Some people develop serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, severe headache, nausea, chills, a dangerous spike in blood pressure, and a fever.

Brown Recluse Spider Bites

Though these instances are rare, a black recluse bite can actually be deadly. The bite initially looks like a small, benign blister. But it often grows. The spider will normally only bite when threatened. However, the bites elicit a severe immune response in the victim. The bites can cause severe pain, vomiting, fever, blood clots, and even death. If you suspect you've been bitten, seek medical attention right away.

Deerfly Bites

Deerflies are a specific type of fly that prefers wet environments. Their bites don't look out of the ordinary, though they are quite painful. Additionally, some deerflies harbor the dangerous bacteria Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia disease. This disease causes a high fever and skin ulcers, requiring immediate medical attention.

Fire Ant Bites

These tiny stingers are worse than your typical ant bite. Fire ants leave tiny lesions on the skin that burn and fill with pus. Though they'll probably go away on their own, there is a chance of danger with these already painful bites. Some people experience severe allergic reactions to the insects, causing a life-threatening reaction. Be careful at your next picnic! You never know where these ants may be hiding.

Flea Bites

When it comes to hosts, fleas don't discriminate. You may think of fleas as something that you only have to worry about with your pets, but they'll bite you, too. Some people are more sensitive to flea bites than others. If you scratch open a particularly itchy bite, it can lead to infection. Additionally, some fleas can be carriers of larger dangers such as parasitic tapeworms or serious illnesses.

Horsefly Bites

These bloodsuckers are annoying pests you should do your best to keep clear of while you're outside. Their mouths leave bites that are intensely painful. People often scratch them to the point of breaking the skin - which can result in an infection.

Housefly Bites

Sure, the housefly itself doesn't have any venom or other poison in its bite. It can, however, leave you with a nasty infection. Houseflies are hairy, meaning that when they land on feces and rotting food, bacteria is easily transmitted to their bodies. Because of all the hair, it sometimes sticks. In fact, houseflies often carry up to 1 million bacteria on their bodies at any one time!

Kissing Bug Bites

These nasty insects are mainly found in the Southern United States. Kissing bugs get their name because they like to suck on human blood around the mouth. The bites themselves aren't usually painful, but the insects are often infected with a parasite that causes Chagas disease, which can cause serious symptoms in humans such as fever, nausea, and vomiting. Kissing bugs are a bit larger than a penny, with a black body lined in characteristic orange or red stripes. If you find a kissing bug, don't touch it! Place it in a small plastic bag or other container and contact an exterminator to investigate.

Lice Bites

Itchy scalp? Get checked for lice ASAP. This is an infestation you do not want to miss. Lice can spread incredibly fast and can quickly turn into a huge problem for not only you, but everyone around you. If you allow your own scalp to go untreated too long, you might end up scratching open the bites in your scalp and causing infections. Lice can be time-consuming to treat, so hire a professional or purchase the appropriate treatments right away.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitos are more than just a nuisance. Some can actually carry dangerous diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, and malaria. Most bites are OK and go away on their own. However, they're important to monitor for more serious symptoms such as fever and body aches. If any concerning symptoms arise, seek medical care immediately to rule out any danger from the bites.

Scorpion Stings

All types of scorpions cause an unfortunate sting, but some species are more dangerous than others. Symptoms to watch out for include swelling, vomiting, and vision problems, among other serious signs. If you experience these after a sting, seek medical attention immediately. Some scorpion stings could be deadly!

Southern Flannel Moth Stings

Also known as the puss caterpillar for its cat-like appearance, the southern flannel moth is sometimes found in the Southern United States and can be dangerous. The larvae of this bug have fur with poisonous venom. This venom causes extremely painful reactions in human victims, sometimes compared to the pain of a broken bone. The effect looks like a grid of bruising on the skin and requires immediate medical attention.


Signs of scabies are often minuscule and can easily go overlooked, especially in children. The tiny mites spread with surprising ease, jumping from person to person with simple skin contact. They can also spread on soft surfaces such as towels, sheets, or carpets. Yuck! Scabies bites are small, red bumps that often appear in a line. A scabies outbreak can turn dire quite quickly, since treatment for scabies is extremely intensive. Get checked as soon as you suspect you've been chosen as a host.

Tick Bites

Ticks are a common summer distress for both animals and humans alike, but they're something you should definitely take seriously. On its own, a tick bite is no big deal. But ticks have been known to carry deadly diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain fever. If you're going to watch out for any hazards this season, keep ticks at the top of your radar. They could be deadlier than these other common summer dangers.
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