Biting Bugs

Ouch! Something just bit me!

At some point in our lives, we will be bitten by an insect or pest and suffer the pain, itching or swelling that is associated with it. Some people are bitten far more often because of where they live, the season of the year or as a function of the activities in which they engage. Unfortunately, a small portion of the population who are allergic to certain pests may suffer an anaphylactic reaction when bitten. Let’s take a look at biting insects and how you can avoid them.

Many kinds of arthropods (insects, ticks, mites, centipedes and similar creatures) will bite to obtain nourishment or as a means of self-defense. They do this with their mouthparts which can hurt upon initial insertion into a human’s skin. How each pest bite varies from insect to insect. For example, mosquitoes, lice, bedbugs and fleas have delicate thin stylets that they use to deftly probe for a skin capillary in search of blood. The wound quickly self-seals when the insect withdraws its proboscis. In contrast, black flies and deer flies have blade-like mouthparts that slice and dice the skin to cause blood and tissue fluid to pool at the wound. The physical damage that results is in stark contrast to that of the mosquito. (Source: BugTalk)

In order to avoid these unpleasant (and for some, dangerous bites) there are several actions you can take to protect yourself. The Centers for Disease Control recommends taking the following precautions:


  • Use Insect Repellent – Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain at least 20% DEET (products include Cutter Backwoods and Off! Deep Woods) for protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
  • Cover Up – As much as possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and a hat. Tuck your shirt into your pants, and tuck your pants into your socks for maximum protection. Some bugs can bite through thin fabric.
  • Avoid Bugs – Whenever possible avoid areas that have standing water or where pests may find a feast of food such as outdoor kitchens or grills. Stay a distance away from areas that pests will be drawn to especially during the hours of dawn and dusk.

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