Many different insects bite, including mosquitos, fire ants, fleas, gnats, no-see-ums, and ticks.
Most insect bites are a nuisance. They cause localized itching and redness, but are relatively harmless. Others can be serious. Tick bites can spread diseases such as Babesiosis, Lyme disease, or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In some places, (principally in developing countries), mosquito bites may transmit malaria and yellow fever, as well as viruses that cause encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. We are seeing more cases of West Nile Virus (a flavivirus with flu-like symptoms related to a number of viruses that cause encephalitis) associated with mosquito bites in the United States.
Basic characteristics of adult insects. Bed bug bites. Fire ant bite. Brown recluse spider bite.
Many different insects bite and/or carry disease, including these non-venomous insects:
- Bed Bugs.
- Kissing Bugs.
- Gnats & Midges(considered non-biting).
- Spiders. Although spiders are not technically insects, they can cause similar bites. The black widow and brown recluse are two of the most poisonous spiders inflicting painful and serious bites.
Venomous Insects may include any of these:
- Yellow Jackets.
- All Bees.
- Fire Ants.
Bees, hornets, and yellow Jackets may sting in self-defense or to subdue their prey. There are also stings that can be obtained from aquatic life such as jellyfish, sea anemones, and some types of coral.
Insect and spider bites often cause minor swelling, redness, pain, and itching. These mild reactions are common and may last from a few hours to a few days. Home treatment is often all that is needed to relieve the symptoms of a mild reaction to common stinging or biting insects and spiders.
Some people have more severe reactions to bites or stings. Babies and children may be more affected by bites or stings than adults. See MoonDragon's Insect Allergy Information for more in depth discussion about insect allergies.
Examples of problems that are more serious include:
- A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Severe allergic reactions are not common but can be life-threatening and require emergency care. Signs or symptoms may include:
These symptoms often occur with other symptoms of a severe reaction.
- Shock, which may occur if the circulatory system cannot get enough blood to the vital organs.
- Coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or feeling of fullness in the mouth or throat.
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, ears, eyelids, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and mucous membranes (angioedema).
- Lightheadedness and confusion.
- Nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
- Hives and reddening of the skin.
A toxic reaction to a single sting or bite. Spiders or insects that may cause this include:
- Black widow spider.
- Brown recluse spider.
- Hobo spider.
- Puss caterpillar (wooly slug).
- A toxic reaction to multiple stings or bites from a bee, wasp, or fire ant.
- A bee leaves it stinger behind and then dies after stinging. Africanized honeybees, the so-called killer bees, are more aggressive than common honeybees and often attack together in great numbers.
- Wasps, including hornets and yellow jackets, can sting over and over. Yellow jackets cause the greatest number of allergic reactions.
- A fire ant attaches to a person by biting with its jaws, then, pivoting its head it stings from its abdomen in a circular pattern at multiple sites.
- A large skin reaction at the site of the bite or sting.
- A skin infection at the site of the bite or sting.
- Serum sickness. This is a rare reaction to the medications (antiserum) used to treat a bite or sting. Serum sickness may cause hives and flu-like symptoms 7 to 14 days after the use of antiserum.
- A virus infection. Infected mosquitoes can spread the West Nile virus to people, causing an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). For more information, see:
West Nile Virus Articles By WebMD
West Nile Virus Overview By WebMD
- A parasite infection. Infected mosquitoes can spread malaria. For more information see:
Malaria Overview By WebMD
Visit our Insect Allergy web page for information about allergies to insect stings or bites and learn about allergic symptoms to determine if and when you need to see a health professional.
CHARACTERISTICS OF INSECT BITES & STINGS
Symptoms Venomous Non-Venomous Itching
Can be intense
Mild or Absent
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BITE & STING
(Resource: www.quickcare.org - Printed with permission.)
The differences are due to the nature of the bite or sting. Venomous insects attack as a defense mechanism, injecting painful, toxic venom through their stingers to punish you so you'll stay away next time. Non-venomous insects bite and usually inject anti-coagulant saliva in order to feed on your blood. Although local irritation and "allergic" reactions do occur from non-venomous bites, severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock usually only happen from venom stings.
When honey bees sting, they leave the stinger and venom sack attached (see Removing Bee Stingers by BeeKeeping.com). Venom continues to pump in through the stinger until the sack is empty or the stinger is removed. The only good part about this is that honey bees die after they sting. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets do not leave their stingers, thus can sting you over and over.
LOCAL & SYSTEMIC REACTIONS COMPARISON
Venomous stings are always very painful, red, and swollen up to 12 inches around the sting site. This is called a local reaction. In sensitive individuals, a systemic or "whole body" reaction occurs, with redness, hives (itchy raised skin lumps), and swelling far away from the sting site. These systemic reactions can progress to involve the airways and circulation and may be life- threatening. Obviously it is important to know the difference between local and systemic reactions.
Biting insects generally are not dangerous because allergic reactions are extremely rare. True, they do spread diseases like Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, encephalitis, and malaria, but for most of us their bites just cause terrible itching.
For insect bites and stings, there are two types of prevention: repellants and avoidance. Insect repellants work well for biting, non-venomous insects, but not against angry stinging insects. The most effective repellant available is DEET (n,n-diethyl-meta-toluamide) available in sprays and lotions. Despite advertising claims, no oral products have ever been shown to be effective insect repellants.
AVOIDING STINGING INSECTS
Don't wear perfume or scented lotions.
Control odors at picnics, garbage areas, etc.
Avoid brightly colored clothing outdoors.
Destroy or re-locate all known hives or nests near your home.
AVOIDING MOSQUITOS, CHIGGERS & TICKS
Cover as much of your skin as possible with clothing, hats, socks, etc.
Pay special attention to cuff areas at ankles, wrists, and neck.
Avoid swamps (mosquitoes), dense woods, fields, and brush (ticks, chiggers).
Examine exposed skin and scalp areas for clinging ticks after returning from hikes.
Use insect repellant.
See Lice and Scabies for prevention tips for these biting insects.
First, the stinger must be removed (see images below).
To remove a stinger, scrape the back of a knife or other straight-edged object across the stinger. A fingernail can be used if a straight-edged object is not available. Do not use tweezers since it may squeeze the venom sac and increase the amount of venom released into the wound. Next wash the site thoroughly with soap and water. Place ice wrapped in a washcloth or other suitable covering on the site of the sting for 10 minutes and then off for 10 minutes. If needed an antihistamine can be applied to help reduce the itching. Over the next several days the stinger site should be watched for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or pain.
Pain, swelling, and itching are the main complaints with stings. Itching is the major complaint with insect bites. Home remedies include baking soda or meat tenderizer compresses to "draw out" or destroy protein-based venom. Scientific data is lacking with these techniques, but they do make logical sense. See the table below for medications which can help.
Symptoms Medication Pain, swelling Anti-inflammatory drugs Itching Topical anti-histamines
Prevention of infection Topical anti-bacterials
Topical anti-histamines and anesthetics are for quick temporary relief of insect bites; hydrocortisone cream has slower onset, but longer effect.
Motrin IB (ibuprofen 200 mg). For pain and swelling from insect stings, Motrin IB is an excellent anti-inflammatory with quick onset.
Cortaid 10 (hydrocortisone 1%). This hydrocortisone cream improves both itching and swelling/redness. It actually has anti-inflammatory effects, not just symptomatic relief like the topical anesthetics. However, it does take longer for full effect than topical anesthetics.
Dermoplast Spray (benzocaine 20%, menthol .5%). For immediate relief from surface itching and pain, nothing is more effective than the active ingredients in this product. The spray bottle is a convenient method of application, too.
Mycitracin Ointment (polymyxin B 10,000 IU/g, bacitracin zinc 500 IU/g, neomycin sulfate 5 mg/g). If you're concerned an insect bite or sting may become infected, the active ingredients in this product are the strongest surface antibiotic available without prescription.
WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL OR EMERGENCY CARE
Any systemic reaction should be seen by a health care provider or emergency room immediately. This includes hives (rash with noticeable skin irritation), swelling in the face, shortness of breath or wheezing and difficulty swallowing (caused by swelling in the throat), and lightheadedness or fainting. These usually occur within the first few minutes to an hour after the sting or bite. Warning: This could be life threatening in sensitive individuals. If you know you are allergic to insect bites or stings, you should carry an epi-pen or other epinephrine injection device with you at all times. This is a prescription and must be recommended to you by your health care provider or allergist.
Local reactions generally do not require professional care and often can be cared for using at-home remedies and over-the-counter medications. However, if your local reaction causes enough swelling or pain to distract you from your normal activities or keep you awake despite basic treatment, you should see your health care provider for a possible prescription medication to help relieve the symptoms.
If you are worried about infection when they see the redness and swelling from the sting or bite, keep in mind that this is normal immediately after a sting and may last up to a few days or so. Infection is uncommon and almost never occurs earlier than 24 hours after the sting or bite. Infection is more likely if you scratch the itch and break the skin, thus introducing infectious agents into the scratches. After 24 hours, if there is pus or the redness and/or swelling is worsening, see your health care provider or emergency room for treatment.
Mosquitoes need to bite you, not to protect themselves or their homes as bees do, but for their dinner. Female mosquitoes rely on human and animal blood for their meals (male mosquitoes don't ever bite humans, instead relying on plants and flowers for food). In some places (principally in developing countries), mosquito bites may transmit malaria and yellow fever. Our latest concern with mosquitos here in the United States is the transmission of West Nile virus through mosquito bites. Other viruses that can be transmitted are those that can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
Mosquitoes actually find you by detecting the carbon dioxide that you breathe out when you exhale. They can "smell" a human from more than 90 feet away, making you a sure target as long as you're breathing outdoors (which is pretty hard to avoid doing!). In fact, the reason some people get bit more than others has to do with the amount of odors that come from their bodies.
If you live in an area of the country where there is a lot of rainfall during the warm-weather months, chances are you will be getting more than a few bites this summer. Take it from me, female mosquitoes just love to lay their eggs in puddles, swamps or even water that collects in the sand bucket that you left outside after your recent trip to the beach!
Some tips on avoiding mosquitoes:
- Use insect repellant that contains DEET, but so not allow children to put it on themselves. An adult should apply the insect repellant. While insect repellants with DEET are the best type for avoiding mosquitoes and other biting insects, ticks and chiggers, etc., look for repellants designed especially for kids. Make sure to read and follow the directions.
- If camping or hiking in high-mosquito zones, make sure to wear lightweight long pants, socks and long-sleeve shirts. You might sweat a bit, but it beats having your body covered with itchy welts!
- Identify and eliminate places they'll be attracted to, such as empty plant pots, buckets or even in a tire swing, where water collects and provides the perfect breeding place for these insects.
- Try to avoid being outside at dawn, when the sun first comes up, and at dusk, when the sun is setting. This is when mosquitoes like to feed the most, so you don't want to make for an easy appetizer!
- Light citronella candles during outdoor barbecues.
- Avoid wearing the color blue, which is said by some experts to attract mosquitoes.
- Hold your breath so you do not breathe out carbon dioxide (only kidding - just wanted to see if you were paying attention!)
- Another suggestion I received from a friend of mine via email is this:
Pass this on to anyone who likes sitting out in the evening or when they are having a cook out. So you do not like those pesky mosquitoes, especially now that they have the potential to carry the West Nile Virus? Here's a tip that was given at a recent gardening forum. Put some water in a white dinner plate and add a couple drops of Lemon Fresh Joy dish detergent. Set the dish on your porch, patio, or other outdoor area. Not sure what attracts them, the lemon smell, the white plate color, or what, but mosquitoes flock to it, and drop dead shortly after drinking the Lemon Fresh Joy/water mixture, and usually within about 10 feet of the plate. Check this out --- it works just super! May seem trivial, but it may help control mosquitoes around your home, especially in the South and elsewhere where the West Nile virus is reaching epidemic proportions in mosquitoes, birds, and humans.
Ticks are small spider-like insects (arachnids) that bite to fasten themselves onto the skin and feed on blood. Ticks live in the fur and feathers of many birds and animals. Tick bites occur most often during early spring to late summer and in areas where there are many wild animals and birds.
Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. However, it is important to remove a tick as soon as you discover one. Removing the body of the tick helps you avoid diseases the tick may pass on during feeding; removing the head helps prevent a skin infection at the site of the bite.
Usually, removing the tick, washing the site of the bite, and watching for signs of illness are all that is needed. When you have a tick bite, it is important to determine whether you need a tetanus shot to prevent lockjaw.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to a tick bite. This reaction may be mild, with a few annoying symptoms. In rare cases, a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may occur. Skin infection may occur with a bite. When an area is becoming infected, pain, swelling, and redness usually increase as the infection spreads. Other signs of an infection include fever, red streaks extending from the wound, and pus that drains from the wound.
Many of the diseases ticks carry cause flu-like symptoms in people. Sometimes a rash or crater-like sore (ulcer) appears along with the flu-like symptoms. Common tick borne diseases include:
- Lyme Disease. Symptoms usually start 1 to 4 weeks after the tick bite, with up to 90 percent of people developing an expanding, circular red skin rash (called erythema migrans, or EM, rash). See Lyme Disease for more information.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms usually start 3 to 12 days (average 7 days) after the tick bite.
- Tularemia. Symptoms usually start within 21 days (average 1 to 10 days) after the tick bite or other exposure.
- Ehrlichiosis. Symptoms usually start from 1 to 21 days (average of 7 days) after the tick bite.
- Relapsing Fever. Symptoms usually start 3 to 11 days (average of 6 days) after the tick bite.
- Colorado Tick Fever. Symptoms usually start within 14 days (average of 3 to 6 days) of the tick bite.
- Babesiosis. Symptoms usually start 1 to 6 weeks after the tick bite.
Tick paralysis is a rare problem that may occur after a tick bite. In some parts of the world, tick bites may cause other tick borne diseases, such as South African tick-bite fever. The inability to move a part of your body (paralysis) as a result of a tick bite is a rare problem. Tick paralysis can be caused by several different types of ticks in North America. The symptoms of tick paralysis are caused by the venom secreted from the female tick during feeding. Symptoms usually start 4 to 7 days after a tick attaches to your body. Symptoms of tick paralysis include:
- Restlessness and irritability.
- Tingling (paresthesia), numbness, or loss of feeling that starts in the hands or feet.
- Paralysis that starts in the hands or feet.
Most cases occur in children. When these symptoms develop, contact your health professional immediately to arrange for care. Removing the tick may be all that is needed to stop the release of the venom and control the symptoms.
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from the diseases ticks may carry. The sooner ticks are removed, the less likely they are to spread disease.
TO PREVENT TICK BITES
Apply an insect repellant following the label directions. Use insect repellants according to directions, particularly when applying repellant to children. Apply repellants safely. Some insect repellants can only be safely applied to clothing rather than skin.
Use a lower-concentration repellant on children or if you are pregnant.
Do not put repellant on small children's hands, since they often put their hands in their mouths.
Wash the insect repellant off with soap and water after returning indoors.
Cover as much of your skin as possible when working or playing in grassy or wooded areas. Wear a hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and long pants with the legs tucked into your socks. Keep in mind that it is easier to spot ticks on light-colored clothes.
Wear gloves when you handle animals or work in the woods.
Stay away from tick-infested areas.
To make sure you have not picked up any ticks after being outdoors, inspect your body carefully including the scalp of your hair. If you have children that have been outdoors that may have been exposed to ticks, they should be unclothed and checked over carefully for ticks before hitting the shower to wash off repellant. This was one rule my family had after going camping and returning home - A tick search. Don't panic if you find one, remove as instructed below.
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If tweezers are not available, use your fingers after covering them with gloves or tissue paper. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.
2. Grasp the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
3. Do not grasp the tick around its bloated abdomen. You might push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
4. Pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist or "unscrew" the tick. This may separate the head from the body.
5. Do not try to smother a tick that is attached to your skin with petroleum jelly, nail polish, gasoline, or rubbing alcohol. This may increase your risk of infection.
6. Do not try to burn the tick while it is attached to your skin.
7. Save the tick in a jar filled with rubbing alcohol for later identification.
8. Wash the area of the tick bite with large amounts of warm water and soap. A mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well.
9. Use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown to affect healing. If you choose to use an antibiotic ointment, such as polymyxin B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin, apply the ointment lightly to the wound. The ointment will keep the cut from sticking to the bandage. If a skin rash or itching under the bandage develops, stop using the ointment. The rash may mean an allergic reaction to the ointment has developed.
10. After the tick is removed, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
11. Check regularly for ticks when you are in areas where there may be ticks. Carefully examine your skin and scalp when you return home. Check your pets, too.
Another way to remove a tick as offered by a pediatrician is to apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20), the tick will come out on it's own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away.
Home Treatment To Help Relieve Pain and Itching:
- Apply an ice pack to your bite for 15 to 20 minutes once an hour for the first 6 hours. When you are not using ice, keep a cool, wet cloth on the bite for up to 6 hours.
- Try a non-prescription medicine for the relief of itching, redness, and swelling. Be sure to follow the non-prescription medication precautions.
- An antihistamine medication, such as Benadryl or Chlor-Trimeton, may help relieve itching, redness, and swelling. Do not give antihistamines to children under age 1 unless your health care provider has told you to give them this medication.
- A spray of local anesthetic containing benzocaine, such as Solarcaine, may help relieve pain. If your skin reacts to the spray, stop using it.
- Calamine lotion applied to the skin may help relieve itching.
- After the first 6 hours, if there is no swelling, try putting a warm washcloth on the bite for comfort.
- Try a non-prescription medication to help relieve your pain.
- Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol or Panadol
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
- Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin.
- Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn.
- Ketoprofen, such as Actron or Orudis.
- Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug)
- Be sure to follow these non-prescription medication precautions.
- Carefully read and follow all labels on the medication bottle and box.
- Use, but do not exceed, the maximum recommended doses.
- Do not take a medication if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
- If you have been told to avoid a medication, call your health professional before taking it.
- If you are or could be pregnant, call your health professional before using any medication.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 20 unless directed to do so by your health professional.
Symptoms to Watch For During Home Treatment:
Check and evaluate your symptoms if any of the following occur during home treatment.
- New or different symptoms develop.
- An expanding red rash develops.
- Flu-like symptoms develop.
- A rash or crater-like sore (ulcer) develops.
- Signs of a skin infection develop.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow into the outer layers of the skin. The scabies mites are spread through close contact with an infested person, such as by touching or by sleeping in the same bed.
Scabies can be spread during the entire time a person is infested, even before symptoms, such as itching and skin sores, appear. Symptoms appear 4 to 6 weeks after a person has been infested for the first time. If a person becomes re-infested, the symptoms develop within a few days.
Symptoms commonly appear between fingers, in the creases of the elbow or armpits, around the waistline, on the genitals, around the anus, and occasionally on the neck, palms of the hands, or soles of the feet. In children, scabies may be seen on the face or scalp; this is rare in adults.
Symptoms may include:
- Severe itching that is usually worse at night.
- Tiny blisters or sores in a line or curved track.
- Scabies will not go away on its own, and delaying treatment increases the risk that the mites will spread to other people. Prescription creams or lotions are needed to cure a scabies infestation. Bedding, towels and clothes that have been in contact with the infected person need to be washed.
If you suspect you may have scabies, contact a health professional for treatment advice. See Scabies for more information.
Lice are tiny wingless insects that feed on human blood every 3 to 6 hours. Lice inject their own saliva when they bite, which often causes an allergic reaction in the human host. The allergic reaction makes the bites itch.
Head Lice: Head lice are 3 mm (0.12 inch) to 4 mm (0.16 inch) long. Head lice lay their eggs (nits) on head hair. The eggs are tightly attached to hairs by a glue-like substance made by female lice. The eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days and require another 7 to 13 days before they mature into adult, egg-laying lice. The nits of head lice may live for up to 2 weeks attached to hairs that have fallen from a person's head. The most common symptom is itching, especially on the scalp, which may develop weeks or even months after lice infest the person.
Head lice may be spread through close personal contact, shared personal items (combs, brushes, hats, helmets, clothing, or earphones), or shared bedding.
Lice cannot survive long without human body contact because they must feed on blood to live. Head lice can live for 1 to 3 days without body contact.
Pubic Lice ("Crabs"): Pubic lice are about 1 mm (0.039 inch) to 2 mm (0.08 inch) in size. Pubic lice lay their eggs pubic hair but also may lay eggs in the area around the anus, armpits, body and facial hair, and eyelashes. The most common symptom of pubic lice is itching of the affected areas.
Pubic lice are spread mainly through sexual contact and are very contagious (most people become infected after a single exposure to another infected person). However, the lice and eggs may survive long enough on personal items such as clothing or towels to be spread to another person. Up to one-third of people who have pubic lice also have some other sexually transmitted disease.
Lice cannot survive long without human body contact because they must feed on blood to live. Pubic lice can live about 2 days without body contact. Pubic lice eggs may also survive on clothing and towels for up to 10 days.
Body Lice: Body lice are 3 mm (0.12 inch) to 4 mm (0.16 inch) long. The lice and eggs are generally not seen on the skin but may be found in the seams of the person's clothing. Intense itching, especially at night, is the main symptom of body lice. Itchy sores from body lice occur in body areas such as the armpits, waist, and trunk where seams of clothes press against the skin.
Body lice are most often spread by contact with personal items, especially clothing and hats. They occasionally may be spread by direct personal contact.
Lice cannot survive long without human body contact because they must feed on blood to live. Body lice, which live in clothing, not on the body itself, can live without human blood for 7 to 10 days.
Under certain conditions, such as may occur during natural disasters or war, body lice may transmit life-threatening diseases such as typhus, relapsing fever, and trench fever.
Most lice infestations do not cause long-term health problems, but they can cause severe itching and discomfort and may be embarrassing to some people. Body lice may transmit other diseases.
See Lice and Lice Description for more information.
Brown Recluse Spider: Brown recluse, or fiddle (Loxosceles), spiders are found most often in the south central part of the United States and live in hot, dry, abandoned areas, such as wood or rock piles. They are about 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) long with a dark violin-shaped mark on the combined head and midsection (cephalothorax).
Symptoms of a brown recluse spider bite include:
- Reddened skin followed by a blister that forms at the bite site.
- Mild to intense pain and itching for 2 to 8 hours following the bite.
- An open sore with a breakdown of tissue (necrosis) that develops within a few hours to 3 to 4 days following the bite. This may take months to heal.
Other symptoms may begin 1 to 2 days after a bite and include:
- Fever and chills.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Skin rash all over the body with many tiny, flat purple and red spots.
- Muscle or joint pain.
Your health professional can treat your bite to help prevent serious problems.
Female Black Widow Spider: The female black widow is easily recognized by her shiny black body and red hourglass marking underneath her round abdomen. Although black widows can be found in nearly every state they are most common in the southern areas of the United States. The black widow makes her home in wood piles, under eaves, and other undisturbed places.
- Pain radiating from the site of the bite.
- Overall aching of the body.
- Profuse sweating.
- Labored breathing.
The bite of a black widow can be serious and may require medical attention.
BED BUG BITE
Bed bugs do not carry disease, but their bites can leave a colorless welt along with an itching or burning sensation.
The kissing bug can carry relapsing fever and Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis).
Mites are carriers (vectors) of many important diseases including typhus (scrub and murine) and rickettsialpox.
Different types of fleas prefer specific animals as hosts, but will infest humans if their specific hosts are unavailable. Fleas can carry plague (the Black Death) and murine typhus. They are also thought to be vectors in several other diseases.
Chigger, also called jigger, is the common name of two kinds of pests that attack human beings. One is the chigoe flea, and the other is the larva of a harvest mite. Only the latter lives in the United States.
The larva of the harvest mite is a tiny red creature with a body divided into two parts. It creeps into skin pores and hair follicles to inject saliva and to feed, and causes a rash and itching. The female chigoe digs into the flesh, causing a sore.
The harvest mite is merely a nuisance in North America and Europe. But in Oriental countries and many Pacific islands, it is a serious danger because it carries scrub fever, a disease also known as Japanese river fever or tsutsugamushi. The parasitic larvae of the harvest mite usually get the disease from infected rodents. The mite keeps the disease during its nymphal and adult stages, and gives it to the larvae of the next generation. The larvae in turn pass it on to human beings. Harvest mites are common in the Middle West and the South.
The chigoe flea belongs to the jigger and sticktight family, Tungidae. Its scientific name is Tunga penetrans. Harvest mites (North American chiggers) make up the family Trombidiidae. They are Trombicula alfreddugesi.
Flies are thought to carry disease by transporting infectious agents on their feet. They may spread polio, hepatitis A, Entameba histalytica, typhoid, and other diseases. Biting flies attack humans to obtain a blood meal and can be very annoying. Some biting flies are also capable of transmitting disease. Biting flies of importance are sand flies, black flies, stable flies, horse flies and deer flies.
Sand Flies: Often called "punkies," "no-see'ums," or biting midges, the sand flies are vicious where they occur. They are often more troublesome than mosquitoes because they can easily enter dwellings through ordinary 16-mesh window screen. The presence of these insects can decrease property values and severely hamper use of recreational areas. Vacationers and campers literally have been driven away from areas by these tiny biters. Sand flies can also cause loss to cattlemen in terms of annoyance to cattle and transmission of various nematode diseases.
Sand flies are members of the insect order Diptera and undergo a complete development with egg, larva, pupa, and adult forms. The adults are less than 1/16 inch long, dark gray to black in color and have one pair of wings which are spotted. The sand flies breed predominantly in salt marshes; however, some species that are found inland breed in fresh water areas and tree holes.
Larvae of sand flies are found in mud, sand, and debris around the edges of ponds, springs, lakes, creeks, and in tree holes or on slime-covered bark. In the water they are free swimmers and are commonly found on floating twigs or leaf trash. The larvae pupate on floating debris or at the water's edge. The adult females, like mosquitoes, require blood to mature the eggs. Males do not bite. Sand fly larvae can be found in marshes the year-round; however, the period of greatest adult activity is June to August.
Sand fly activity is associated with air movement. Adults of most species seldom bite when there is air movement. Sand flies are also sensitive to temperature. Animals having a high body temperature are attractive to great numbers of female sand flies. Persons performing hard labor out-of-doors frequently are severely annoyed by these insects.
Black Flies: Black flies (Simuliidae) are small, dark, stout-bodied flies with a humpbacked appearance. The adult females suck blood mainly during daylight hours and are not host specific. The black fly is a potential disease in some states. It hovers about the eyes, ears, and nostrils of man and animals, often alighting and puncturing the skin with an irritating bite. Black flies are not considered to be major pests of homeowners.
The black fly life cycle begins with eggs being deposited on logs, rocks, or solid surfaces in swiftly flowing streams. Larvae attach themselves to rocks or vegetation with a posterior sucker. The length of the larval period is quite variable depending on the species and the larval environment. The adults which emerge after pupation are strong fliers and may fly 7 to 10 miles from their breeding sites.
Stable Fly; The stable fly, also known as the dog fly or biting house fly, is a blood-sucking fly which closely resembles the house fly. It is similar to the house fly in size and color, but may be recognized by its sharp, piercing mouthparts which project forward from the head. Unlike many flies, both sexes of the stable fly are vicious biters.
The fly is a common pest of man and animals throughout the world. In some states, stable flies are a serious pest of man and have been a severe threat to the tourist industry.
Stable flies are very persistent when searching for a blood meal and may be easily interrupted in feeding. They may be mechanical vectors of animal diseases but are not considered effective in spreading human disease.
Stable flies breed in soggy hay, grain or feed, piles of moist fermenting weed or grass clippings, seaweed deposits along beaches, and manure. When depositing eggs, the female will often crawl into loose material, placing the eggs in little inner pockets. Each female may lay a total of 500 to 600 eggs in four separate layings. The eggs will hatch in 2 or 5 days, and the newly hatched larvae bury themselves, begin to feed, and mature in 14 to 26 days. While the average life cycle is 28 days, this period will vary from 22 to 58 days, depending on weather conditions. The adults are strong fliers and range many miles from the breeding sites.
Horse Fly & Deer Fly: Horse flies and deer flies are closely related insects with similar life cycles. Both horse and deer flies are strong fliers and only the female bites. They are daytime feeders and can easily cut the skin open for a blood meal. While feeding an anti-coagulant is injected into the wound and causes the blood to flow freely. Many people are allergic to horse fly and deer fly bites. Also, wounds are excellent sites for secondary infection. Since they are intermittent feeders, horse and deer flies are important transmitters of animal diseases.
Most species of horse and deer flies are aquatic or semi-aquatic in the immature stages. Some will also develop in moist earth, leaf mold, or rotting logs. Generally the eggs are deposited in layers on vegetation, objects over water, or moist areas favorable for larval development. The eggs hatch in five to seven days and the larvae fall to the water surface or moist areas where they begin to feed on organic matter.
Many species feed on insect larva, crustacea, snails, and earthworms. When the larvae are ready to pupate, they move into drier earth usually an inch or two below the soil surface. The pupal stage lasts two to three weeks, after which the adults emerge. The life cycle varies considerably within the species, requiring anywhere from 70 days to two years.
Control of Biting Flies: Many of the biting flies, like sand flies, black flies, horse flies, and deer flies breed in water or in mucky areas near ponds and swamps. Consequently, it is very difficult for individuals to attempt control of these biting flies by reducing breeding sites. Contact your local mosquito control district to see if there are any management programs in your area to reduce sources of these biting flies. Stable flies breed in decaying grass or crop clippings, hay residues, and silage. Because they are extremely strong fliers, the source of the infestation may be located up to several hundred miles away. Therefore, stable flies usually cannot be controlled by individuals. Many biting flies are active at certain times. Avoid outdoor activity during these peak biting times. Horse flies, deer flies, black flies, and stable flies are usually most active during the day. Sand flies usually are most active around sunrise and sunset. Most of the biting flies are also most active at certain times of the year. Deer flies and black flies are most prevalent in early to late spring. Stable flies are most abundant in late August through October or November. Sand flies are most abundant during summer months, but may bite at any time during the year.
If it is necessary to go outdoors into areas where biting flies are prevalent, wear protective clothing. Long sleeved shirts, long pants will protect arms, legs, and head from bites. If necessary, apply a repellant labeled for biting fly protection. DEET products are approved for application to humans or clothing to repel biting flies and protect from bites. Apply products according to label directions. Reapply as needed and as recommended on the label. Most repellants do not work as well for biting flies as they do for mosquitoes; therefore they have to be reapplied more often. The best biting fly repellant (for human use) is Sawyer's Broad Spectrum Composite Spray. Broad Spectrum contains the perfect combination of DEET and R-326 which is effective against biting flies.
Most biting flies bite in still air. Increasing air movement in porches, patios, and picnic areas will keep biting flies away but will not usually provide complete protection. Burning candles, coils, and torches containing citronella or other biting fly repellant will sometimes help reduce bites. Burning these items produces a smoke which repels biting insects. Most biting flies will usually rest on low vegetation until they detect a host. Pruning shrubs, mowing weedy areas, and opening up the environment for air flow will reduce numbers of biting flies in an area.
Despite all efforts, biting flies may still be a problem. If biting flies get inside the house, space sprays can be applied to kill them. Products listed as space sprays often contain Pyrethrins (0.5%), PBO (4.0%), Permethrin (0.4%), Tetramethrin (0.2%), and/or Phenothrin (0.2%). Remove all people and pets from rooms, turn off air handling systems, apply the product according to label directions, and wait about 10-15 minutes before aerating the room. Keep room vacant as long as the label recommends.
Crack and crevice treatments can be used to treat areas where biting flies enter the house. Areas to be treated would include cracks around doors and windows. Products labeled for crack and crevice treatment are Beta-Cyfluthrin and Pyrethrins and other ingredients.
Biting flies that usually rest on vegetation or the sides of houses before entering or before biting people. Numbers of biting flies around houses can be reduced by applying outdoor barrier treatments to places flies would contact before biting or entering the house. Products registered for outdoor barrier treatment are Beta Cyfluthrin, Bifenthrin, Carbaryl, Cyfluthrin, Cypermehtrin, and Deltamethrin. Be sure to apply all products according to label directions and to locations listed on the label.
See Forest Pests of North America: Biting Flies for photos of some bites from biting flies.
GNATS & MIDGES
Midges and gnats are common names for a large number of small, non-biting flies. Many species look like mosquitoes and may form annoying swarms or clouds in the air but they do not bite. The immature stages develop in water in pools, containers, ponds, clogged rain gutters, or in some cases, wet soil or seepage areas. Most feed on living or decaying plant matter and are an important part of aquatic food chains. Many species can survive in very stagnant or polluted water.
HELPFUL LINKS ABOUT BITING INSECTS
AntColony.org: Fire Ants
University of Texas: Imported Fire Ant - FAQ
Texas Imported Fire Ant Research & Management Project
University of Minnesota: Lockley: Imported Fire Ants
Imported Fire Ants on Lawns and Turf Fire Ant Fact Sheet - Description & Treatment
SYMPTOMS OF SERIOUS INSECT BITE & STING REACTION
If you have the following, evaluate those symptoms first.
- Has there been a known bite, sting, or contact with a poisonous spider, scorpion, or caterpillar?
- Have you developed mild difficulty breathing or wheezing following a bite or sting?
- Do you have hives following a bite or sting?
- Do you have tiny purple or red spots (petechiae) on your body following a bite or sting?
- Do you have muscle spasms or muscle stiffness following a bite or sting?
- Do you have a blister, painful sore, or purple discoloration at the site of a bite or sting?
- Do you have new swelling?
- Have 2 or more flu-like symptoms developed within 3 weeks of a bite or sting?
- Have you had multiple bites or stings, other than from mosquitoes?
- Have you developed signs of a skin infection at the site of a bite or sting?
- Do you need a tetanus shot?
An allergic reaction or "anaphylaxis" to an insect sting or bite can occur immediately, within minutes, or even hours after the sting (although never more than 24 hrs.).
- Swelling in the joints or other areas other than the sting site.
- Vascular swelling.
- Difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, respiratory distress.
- Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure.
- Shock (circulatory collapse).
- Cramps or diarrhea.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Death within minutes.
Signs that a dangerous reaction is developing include:
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Hoarseness or swelling of the tongue.
- Labored breathing.
- Severe swelling.
- A feeling of impending disaster.
- A more severe reaction results in closing of the airway and/or shock, producing unconsciousness.
Some biting insects, such as mosquitos, can cause allergic skin reactions that appear as scaly and itchy eczema.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
While mosquitoes and other insect bites are often hard to avoid, relieving the itching from their bites is pretty simple for most people. Applying an anti-itch medication, such as Lanacane®, will act on the itch nerves to stop the itch sensation to the brain and reduce the chance of getting caught up in the itch/scratch/itch cycle, which is very common with mosquito and other insect bites - you itch, you scratch and it only makes you itch more! And, if you scratch too much, germs can get into your skin and cause an infection.
MEDICATIONS FOR ALLERGIC REACTION
An allergic reaction is treated with epinephrine (adrenaline). Several self-injectable devices are available by prescription including Epi-Pen, ANA-Kit, and others. These devices are filled with the epinephrine to be injected in to the subcutaneous tissue or muscle, preferably into the front of the thigh. These self-injected devices usually contain only one dose and, on occasion, more than one dose is needed. Venom extractors are commercially available, but they have not been demonstrated to have any benefit.
If a serious sting occurs medical attention can be necessary, even if epinephrine is used and all seems stable! The allergic reaction can subsequently progress and become more serious after epinephrine has worn off. Sometimes epinephrine is not enough and intravenous fluids or other treatment is needed. If you are known to be seriously allergic to insects you must remember to carry the epinephrine at all times especially when out of reach of medical care (such as in the woods or even on an airplane). If epinephrine is not available when you are stung, contact a doctor as soon as possible. In addition to epinephrine, an oral dose of antihistamine (like Benadryl) can reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Antihistamines take effect in about one hour. Ultimately, however, it is crucial to first avoid the sting, so such treatment isn't necessary!
HOLISTIC HOME TREATMENT & NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS
You can lessen your chances of an insect sting or bite by taking certain precautionary measures. Yellow jackets will nest in the ground and in walls. Hornets and wasps will nest in bushes, trees and on buildings. Many biting insects also lurk on plants waiting for a host to pass near to them or in animal or human hair. Use extreme caution when working or playing in these areas and never walk barefoot in the lawn. Avoid insect attractants such as open garbage cans and exposed food at picnics. Avoid using personal care items or clothing of individuals infested with parasitic insects. Also, try to reduce the amount of exposed skin when outdoors.
For ant, mosquito, or chigger (mite) bites, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. For chigger bites, use a brush and scrub. Then apply a paste made of baking soda and water. Use cloth-wrapped ice packs if swelling occurs and, if bitten on an arm or leg, elevate the affected limb to decrease swelling.
For tick bites, remove the tick as quickly as possible. The sooner the tick is removed, the less chance there is of contracting any disease the tick may be carrying. Using tweezers, grasp the head of the tick firmly, as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight back with the tweezers. Try not to leave the head or any other part of the tick embedded in the skin. Do not touch the tick with your hands. Once it has been removed, scrub the bite with soap and water. Do not try to burn the tick out, or use home remedies like kerosene, turpentine, or petroleum jelly.
To avoid mosquito bites, eat brown rice, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, blackstrap molasses, or fish before spending time outside. These foods are rich in vitamin B-1 (thiamine). Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide, estrogens, moisture, sweat, and warmth. They appear to be repelled by B vitamins, especially thiamine, which are excreted through the skin. As an alternative, take thiamine supplements.
Make a paste using a Charcoal capsule and a few drops of Goldenseal extract and place it on a piece of gauze. Apply the gauze to the bite and cover it with a bandage. This will draw out the poisons and aid in fast relief. Do this immediately after being bitten, if possible. Use charcoal only recommended for internal use.
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Root Tincture (Hydrastis Canadensis), 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Mountain Rose Herbs: Goldenseal Extract, Wild Harvested From Fresh Root, 1 oz or 4 oz
Herbal Remedies: Activated Charcoal Supplement, Nature's Way, 260 mg, 100 Caps
Apply calamine lotion to help relieve itching.
To avoid many insect bites, try taking a chlorine bleach bath before going out. Add 1 cup of bleach per tub of water. Insects dislike the smell. Swimming in a pool treated with chlorine also works. Rubbing brewer's yeast or garlic on the skin may deter insects as well.
Take a dose of Apis Mellifica, a homeopathic remedy, promptly after a bite. It works quickly and helps to prevent severe swelling.
Rub a cut onion on an insect bite to provide a powerful antioxidant treatment.
Make a paste consisting of a meat tenderizer containing papain (an enzyme) and water directly on the bite or sting can also ease the pain. Leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse off. Enzymes in the meat tenderizer draw out the poison.
If you have been bitten by a spider you suspect may be a black widow or a brown recluse, seek medical attention immediately. If possible, take the spider with you for identification.
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Spider Bite
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Scorpion Sting
Treat jellyfish and sea anemone stings by removing the tentacles with a cloth or gloves; rinse with seawater, then place vinegar or rubbing alcohol on the affected area. Remove sea urchin barbs with tweezers or by rubbing with soap and water. Apply warm compresses to extract the toxins. Coral injuries are very dangerous and should get immediate medical attention. A product called Sting-Aid (aluminum sulfate solution) is used by divers to address these injuries. Remove coral fragments with tweezers, rinse with seawater, then finally wash with soap and water and apply topical antiseptic when on shore. Keep the affected limb stationary if possible.
Knight Industries, Inc.
P. O. Box 50387
Pompano Beach, FL 33074
PH: 305 942-8780
FAX: 305 946-0486
Avoid walking barefoot outside.
Avoid all refined sugar, which causes the skin to give off a sweet smell that attracts mosquitos.
Avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol causes the skin to flush and the blood vessels to dilate, which attracts mosquitos and horseflies.
Avoid using perfume, hair spray, and other cosmetics. These attract insects.
Avoid wearing bright colors - wear white clothing. Also, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs (although mosquitos can bite through cotton clothing).
Apply citrus juice to exposed areas to repel mosquitos.
Diethyl toluamide (DEET) works well to repel chiggers, ticks, and mosquitos. It is probably the most effective insect repellant known, but it is also potentially quite toxic, and it can destroy substances such as plastics and synthetic fabrics, so it must be used with care and only in accordance with package directions. Never apply a product that has more than 35 percent DEET to the skin. Children are especially at risk for problems due to this potentially hazardous chemical, so their skin exposure should be strictly limited. To be safe, apply DEET to clothing and use it sparingly, if at all, on the skin.
If you spend much time outdoors, you may want to purchase a vacuum pump for removing insect venom. A venom extractor called the Lil Sucker is available from International Reforestation Suppliers. It is small enough to fit inside a pocket or purse. If you get stung, it produces a vacuum that sucks the venom out within two minutes. The end of the extractor can also be used to remove a honeybee stinger. For more information about this product, call 800-321-1037. Their website is www.terratech.net.
Other venom extractors are available through these suppliers:
Bites & Stings Online: Bites & Stings Treatment - The Extractor Pump
Preparedness.com: Snake & Insect Venom Extractor
Sawyer Venom Extractor
SOME INSECT STING & BITE PRODUCTS FROM AMAZON.COM
For more products, use the search box further down on this page.
Pennyroyal oil helps to repel insects. Herbal flea-repellant pet collars contain oils of Cedar, Citronella, Eucalyptus, Pennyroyal, Rosemary, and Rue. These herbs may be effective insect repellants for humans as well. Caution: Do not use Pennyroyal or Rue during pregnancy. Avoid excessive and/or prolonged use. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to the skin.
Citronella candles are good for repelling mosquitoes.
Herbal Remedies: Citronella Products
Goldenseal and Tea Tree Oil are natural insecticides and help to keep insects at bay. Tea tree oil can be rubbed on exposed areas of the skin to deter insects. It can also be applied to bites. If pure tea tree oil is too strong, dilute it with canola oil or another low-fragrance vegetable oil until a tolerable strength is achieved.
Herbal Remedies: Tea Tree Essential Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.
Herbal Remedies: Goldenseal Products
Calendula is an excellent insect repellent and counter-irritant. You can also try Cedar, Eucalyptus, and/or Tea Tree Oil. It is available as a topical cream, oil, spray or lotion to apply to skin irritations.
Mountain Rose Herbs: Injur Heal Balm, Mountain Rose, 1 oz.
A loving companion for athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who take part in strenuous activities. Wonderful to use on bruises, sore muscles, and general aches and pains. This balm is based on our popular & effective Injur Heal Oil. Use immediately after arduous exercise, exertion or injury to prevent, relieve and reduce swelling, bruises and pain. Do not use on open wounds. Contains: Organic Arnica Flowers, St. John's Wort flowers, organic Calendula flowers, organic Olive oil, Beeswax, Lavender essential oil, and Vitamin E oil. Packaged in a 1 oz tin.
Herbal Remedies: Calendula Products
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Herbal Ointments - Calendula Ointment Recipes
Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water in a one-to-one ratio reduces skin irritations resulting from insect bites.
Herbal Remedies: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Mother), Dynamic Health, 16 fl. oz.
Poultices made with Lobelia and Charcoal are helpful for insect bites. See Using A Poultice for more information.
Herbal Remedies: Lobelia Extract Tincture, Herbal Remedies USA, 2 fl. oz.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
The following nutrients are important for healing once appropriate local treatment has been administered. Unless otherwise specified, the following recommended doses are for those over the age of 18. For a child between 12 and 17 years old, reduce the dose to 3/4 the recommended amount. For a child between 6 and 12 years old, use 1/2 the recommended dose, and for a child under 6, use 1/4 the recommended amount.
NUTRIENTS Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments Essential Bromelain 400-500 mg 3 times daily. Reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs
As directed on label. Has anti-inflammatory properties.
Curcumin, NOW Foods, 665 mg, 60 VCaps,
Turmeric Extract (Curcuma Longa), Standardized to 95% Curcuminoids, Nature's Way, 500 mg, 120 Tabs
Grape Seed Extract 75 mg daily. An effective anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant.
Grape Seed (Grapeseed) (Vitus Vinifera) Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 16 fl. oz.,
Grape Seed Extract, 350 mg, 90 Caps,
Grape Seed Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 100 mg, 30 Caps,
500 mg twice daily or as directed on label. A unique bioflavonoid that reduces allergic reactions. Increases immunity and decreases reactions to certain foods, pollens, and other allergens.
Quercetin, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 100 Vcaps,
Quercetin W/Bromelain, Hypoallergenic Bioflavonoid, NOW Foods, 800 mg, 120 Vcaps
Vitamin C With Bioflavonoids 5,000-20,000 mg daily, in divided doses. See Ascorbic Acid Flush. Essential to the healing process and in reducing inflammation. Acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps fight the toxicity of insect venom. For a child, use buffered vitamin C or calcium ascorbate.
Vitamin C Liquid w/ Rose Hips & Bioflavonoids, Kosher, Natural Citrus Flavor, Dynamic Health, 1000 mg, 16 fl. oz.,
Ester C With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 90 Tabs,
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps,
The Right C, Nature's Way, 1000 mg, 120 Tabs
Helpful Aller Bee-Gone
From CC Pollen
As directed on label. A combination of herbs, enzymes, and nutrients designed to fight acute allergy attacks and symptoms. Or
2 tablets twice daily. Take between meals. Also available in powder form. To aid in proper breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates for better absorption of nutrients. Aids in controlling inflammation.
INSECT BITE & STINGS SUPPLEMENTS & PRODUCTS
Information, supplements and products for insect bites and stings.
Bach Rescue Remedy Flower Essence Cream, 50 g
Bach Rescue Remedy Cream Flower Essence Cream base that can be used for any stress or trauma to your skin. Safe and natural. A great addition to your herbal first aid kit.
Bentonite Clay, Pascalite, 100 Caps
Pascalite is a form of calcium bentonite containing at least twenty elements including iron, magnesium, and silicon, better than sodium bentonite. Uses as skin cleanser, conditioner, internally for heartburn, ulcers and for a natural mineral dietary supplement.
Bromelain 2000 GDU Supplement, NOW Foods, 500 mg, 90 Tabs
NOW Foods Bromelain 2000 GDU, Bromelain Supplement, is a proteolytic digestive enzyme that can enhance absorption of protein.
Bug Ban Natural Insect Repellant, NOW Foods, 4 oz.
Don't let a swarm of hungry mosquitoes ruin an evening of summer fun. NOW Bug Ban is an all natural insect repellent that helps prevent insect bites without the harsh chemicals found in many of today's popular, commercial formulas.
Burt's Bees Bug Bite Relief, 0.25 oz.
When nature bites, fight back with this all-natural Burt's Bees Bug Bite Relief.
Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, 4 oz. Spray
Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is safe enough to apply with confidence to adults, children and pets for long lasting natural protection against biting insects.
Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit, All Natural
Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit is perfect for relieving the discomfort of minor skin irritations, burns, bruises, stings and scrapes. Included is Poison Ivy Soap, lip balm, hand salve, comfrey ointment, gardener's soap, natural peppermint breath drops and lemongrass insect repellant. Burt's Bees Natural Remedy Kit is a wonderful camping-size, briefcase size, suitcase size, glove-box size, or picnic basket size take-a-long kit for campers, farmers, athletes, gardeners, or just those with a love of the great outdoors, wind, rain, bugs, dirt, plants, animals, or whatever else makes you sting, itch or chap. This is a mini must have herbal first aid kit! These is also a great little unique gift idea.
Calendula Cream, Nelson's Bach, Organic, 30 g / 1 oz.
Nelson's Bach Calendula cream is a soothing multi-purpose skin cream, especially prepared from the Calendula which offers soothing relief for rough, dry, irritated or chapped skin. Helps to restore healthy skin texture. Made with organically grown Calendula officinalis which provides relief for burns, and is gentle enough for rashes and chafing on babies sensitive skin. Directions: Check that the tube seal is not broken before first use. Pierce tube seal with point in tip of cap before first use. Apply the cream to the affected area & rub in lightly. Warnings: For external use only.
Citronella Essential Oil, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.
Citronella Oil (Cymbopogon nardus) is an excellent topical oil that can be applied directly onto the skin to protect against insect bites.
Colloidal Silver Lotion, SilvaSolution, Homeopathic, 4 fl. oz.
Effective for minor skin irritations, rashes hives, insect bites, sores, burns, inflammation, skin swelling and dry, itchy, cracked skin.
Comfrey Leaf Powder, 4 oz. Bulk
One of the most well-known healing plants, especially for its ability to heal tissue and bone.
Comfrey Leaf Ointment, Nature's Way, 2 oz.
Comfrey Leaf Ointment is a 100% all natural, mild scented herbal ointment.
Cyani (Centaurea Cyanus) Tincture, 2 fl. oz.
Considered by the Plains Indians as an antidote for snake bites, insect bites and stings. Beneficial for nervous disorders, infections, eye disorders, and mouth sores/ulcers.
Flax Protein / Fiber / Lignan Cold Milled Powder Plus Omega 2, Certified Organic, Nature's Way, 16 oz.
With 6 grams Fiber / 300 mg Lignan / 5 grams Protein (including 18 amino acids) per serving. Nature's Way EFAGold is one of Nature's richest sources of protein, fiber & essential fatty acids.
Goldenseal Root Tincture (Hydrastis Canadensis), 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Goldenseal is an antibacterial and antiseptic. Use especially when mucus turns thick and discolored. Use short term only with other herbs.
Grape Seed Extract, Standardized, Nature's Way, 100 mg, 30 Caps
Nature's Way Standardized Grape Seed Extract are technically and scientifically advanced herbal product.
Jewelweed Liquid Spray, Poison Ivy Treatment, 4 fl. oz.
Jewelweed is an effective natural Poison Ivy Treatment for poison ivy, poison oak, okra spines, stinging nettle, and other irritating plants
Lavender Oil, 1 fl. oz.
There are many uses for lavender oil. It calms the nervous system, making it a sedative. It also reduces stress in the body with its anti-spasmodic qualities. When the body is relaxed, the mind can also relax. A tea made of lavender can be consumed as a sedative. Lavender oil can be placed, a drop at a time, on the temples to relieve headache, or in the bath to relax. Other uses of lavender oil, mixed with water or other herbal oils, are to relieve joint pain, as an antiseptic, and to aid digestion. But lavender's most common use is in reducing stress and headaches.
Mosquito & Insect Shield With Catnip Oil, Nature's Herbal, 100% Natural, 8 fl. oz. Spray
For long lasting natural protection against mosquitoes, flies and other pests without the dangers of DEET based repellants. This shield contains 100% pure Catnip oil (nepetalactone), Pennyroyal oil (known to repel biting insects) & Pure Vegetable Glycerin for up to 8 hours of protection. Studies show Catnip oil is 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.
Neem Protect Natural Flea Spray For Pets, 8 fl. oz.
Ark Naturals Neem Protect Natural Flea Spray provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
Neem Protect Pet Shampoo, 1 Gallon
Ark Naturals Neem Protect Pet Shampoo provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
Neem Protect Pet Shampoo, 8 fl. oz.
Ark Naturals Neem Protect Pet Shampoo provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
Neem Protect Spray, 1/2 Gallon
Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray provides a safe, effective natural alternatives to synthetic pesticides for controlling fleas and other blood sucking insects that infest your pets.
Olbas Oil Blend, 100% Natural, Swiss Made, 25 cc
Olbas Oil Blend is a synergistic combination of six essential oils provides amazing relief on multiple levels.
Organic Flax Protein / Fiber / Lignan Cold Milled Powder Plus Omega 3, Certified, Nature's Way, 16 oz.
Nature's Way EFAGold is the highest quality flax seed protein powder, and one of nature's richest sources of protein, fiber & essential fatty acids.
Pascalite Bentonite Healing Powder, 16 oz.
Pascalite is used in soap and toothpaste, applied as a poultice to insect bites, sunburns, infections, cold sores, canker sores and acne, and as a suppository for hemorrhoids. Users found it a potent skin cleanser and conditioner, drank it for heartburn and ulcers.
Patio Candle, 2.25 Inch Round in Travel Tin, All Natural, 100% Palm Wax
All natural palm wax candle in travel tin with herbal essential oils to repel bugs.
Pennyroyal Essential Oil (Hedeoma Pulegiodes), NOW Foods, 100% Pure, 1 fl. oz.
Traditionally used as a natural insect repellent, Pennyroyal Oil is especially useful for flea control on dogs and cats.
Quercetin With Bromelain, Hypoallergenic Bioflavonoid, NOW Foods, 800 mg, 120 VCaps
This non-citrus Quercetin is non-allergenic, with Bromelain to enhance the absorption of Quercetin.
Sss Sting Stop Insect Gel, Homeopathic, Boericke & Tafel, 2.75 oz. Topical Gel
Temporary relief of itch, pain, and redness of non-poisonous insect bites and stings of mosquitos, bees, and wasps. Soothes fever blisters and cold sores. Directions: For Adults & Children 2 years and older: Apply to affected skin area. Repeat as needed. Children under 2: Consult your health care provider.
Sting Homeopathic Gel, Organic, 1.06 oz.
Nelson's Sting Gel is a healing and soothing homeopathic remedy for the relief of insect bites and stings & reduces redness and swelling.
Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream, 4 fl. oz.
This tea tree cream has a soothing and cooling effect on inflamed skin. It can be used as diaper change lotion.
Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream, Bulk, 1 Gallon
This tea tree cream has a soothing and cooling effect on inflamed skin. It can be massaged into sore joints for relief from discomfort.
Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Ointment, 2 oz.
A 100% natural Tea Tree Oil antiseptic ointment that combines a therapeutic dose of pure tea tree oil with the absorption powers of Australian Eucalyptus australiana oil and lavender oil. This Tea Tree Oil antiseptic ointment is an ideal treatment to protect and treat cuts, abrasions, chafing rashes and other skin irritations. Directions: Apply 2-3 times daily to minor rashes, cuts, abrasions, sunburn and insect bites. Its natural base of oils and beeswax repels water to protect the area. Avoid contact with eyes. Discontinue use if irritation develops. Keep out of reach of children. For external use only.
Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution (15% Water Soluble), 2 fl. oz.
Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution can be used for mixing with water for douching, athletes foot, facial problems, and bathing. Use Tea Tree Oil Antiseptic Solution when full strength tea tree oil is not necessary. Directions: For use a mild natural antiseptic. Apply full strength to cuts, abrasions, insect bites and stings. May be diluted with 1 to 10 parts water. This product is water soluble.
Tea Tree Essential Oil, 100% Pure, NOW Foods, 1 fl. oz.
Tea Tree Essential Oil can be used externally as a completely natural germicide and fungicide. Our Tea Tree Essential Oil can be applied directly to the site of infection or irritation, such as pimples, boils, cuts, insect bites and minor burns.
Tea Tree Oil Bulk (Malaleuca Alternifolia), 32 fl. oz.
Bulk Tea Tree Oil can be used for so many things including cuts, burns, abrasions, insect bites, bee stings, rashes, impetigo, boils, sinus problems, sore throat, thrush, fingernail and toenail infections.
Tea Tree Oil (Malaleuca Alternifolia), 100% Pure Oil, NOW Foods, 2 fl. oz.
Tea Tree Oil can be used for general first aid uses such as cuts, burns, abrasions, insect bites, bee stings, rashes, impetigo, boils, sinus problems, sore throat, thrush, fingernail and toenail infections.
Thayer's Astringent Medicated Superhazel Mentholated With Aloe Vera, 11.5 fl. oz.
Medicated Superhazel Thayer's Astringent with Aloe Vera is a mentholated witch hazel providing instant cooling and relief for minor cuts, itches, rashes and burns.
Vitamin C 1000 With Bioflavonoids, Nature's Way, 100% Natural, 1000 mg, 250 VCaps
Nature's Way Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids provides antioxidant protection for many of the body's important enzyme systems.
Yerba Santa Tincture, 100% Organic, 2 fl. oz.
Yerba Santa is one of the best decongestant herbs as it helps to decrease secretions as well as allay inflammation.
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF INFLAMMATION SUPPLEMENTS & PRODUCTS:
Herbal Remedies: Insect Bite / Sting Information
Herbal Remedies: Insect Bite / Sting Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Inflammation Information
Herbal Remedies: Inflammation Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Insect Allergy Information
Herbal Remedies: Insect Allergy Supplements & Products
Herbal Remedies: Bee Sting Information
Herbal Remedies: Mosquito Bite Supplements, Information & Products
Herbal Remedies: Spider Bites Supplements, Information & Products
NOTIFY YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF...
You have if you have had an allergic reaction, it is important to talk to an allergist, a health care provider who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease. Based on your past history and certain tests, the allergist will determine if you are a candidate for immunotherapy treatment. Although stinging insect allergy is a serious problem, much of the risk and fear of a reoccurrence can be virtually eliminated with immunotherapy.
In the event of a insect bite or sting with an allergic reaction, use your epinephrine treatment kit and contact emergency medical care immediately or as soon as possible for medical evaluation. A severe allergic reaction can be life threatening in a matter of minutes to hours.
You develop a secondary infection from an insect sting or insect bite or if you have other symptoms that may be associated with a disease that type of insect is known to carry (such as Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, etc.).
You have any unexplained symptoms or unusual reactions after receiving an insect bite or sting. If you can, try to contain or otherwise save the insect that bit or stung you to make sure that treatment is appropriately given for that type of injury.
HELPFUL RELATED LINKS
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Allergies
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Insect Allergy
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Bee Sting
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Insect Bite
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Spider Bite
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Scorpion Sting
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Snake Bite
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Inflammation
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Shock
For a full list of available products from Mountain Rose Herbs, click on banner below:
HELPFUL PRODUCTS & FURTHER EDUCATION
Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A-To-Z Guide To Supplements
-- by Phyllis A. Balch, James F. Balch - 2nd Edition
Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A-To-Z Guide To Supplements
-- by Phyllis A. Balch, James F. Balch - 4th Edition
Prescription for Herbal Healing: The A-To-Z Reference To Common Disorders
-- by Phyllis A. Balch
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing
If you see a suggested Amazon product "not there" as indicated by an orange box with the Amazon logo, this only means the specific product link has been changed by Amazon.com. Use the "click here" icon on the orange box and it will bring you to Amazon.com and you can do a search for a specific product using keywords and a new list of available products and prices will show. Their product and resource links are constantly changing and being upgraded. Many times there are more than one link to a specific product. Prices will vary between product distributors so it pays to shop around and do price comparisons.
Educational materials and health products are available through Amazon.com. Use the search box provided below to search for a particular item.
HERBS, OILS, & SUPPLIES
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Manufacturers & Distributors
Mountain Rose Bulk Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs A
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs B
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs C
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs D
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs E
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs F
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs G
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs H
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs I
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs J
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs K
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs L
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs M
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs N
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs O
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs P
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs R
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs S
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs T
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs U
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs V
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs W
Mountain Rose Herbs, Bulk Herbs Y
Mountain Rose Aromatherapy Oils
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils A-B
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils C-E
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils F-L
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils M-P
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils Q-Z
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils: Oil Blends & Resins
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils: Diffusers, Nebulizers, & Burners
Mountain Rose Herbs, Aromatherapy Oils: Oil Kits
Mountain Rose Herbs.com: Order Online
Accessories & Tools
Aroma Sprays and Flower Waters
Body and Bath
Bottles, Jars & Containers
Green & Black Teas
Herbal Salves & Balms
Herbs for Pets
Incense, Resins and Candles
Medicinal Herb Seeds
Tea Brewing Supplies
Click Here To Visit Herbal Remedies Product Page
A Source For Medicinal & Ritual Herbs & Supplies
Aphrodisiacs Aromatherapy Bath & Body Care Bulk Herbs By The Pound Capsules, Tablets & Extracts Chinese Herbals Electronics Extracts First Aid Products Food Products, Mixes, Seeds, Snacks & More! Hair Care Products & Supplies Herbs & Oils, Kilo & Ton Hydroponics & Gardening Kava Products Kitchen & Housewares Mushrooms Musical Instruments Oral Care & Dental Products PC & IT - Computer Supplies & Assessories Skin Care, Cosmetics, & Gift Sets Smokes, Seeds, Cacti Spices, Salts, Sweeteners, & Seasonings Sports, Toys & Games Sweets, Candy, Chips & Snacks Stimulants Sedatives Teas & Coffees
Shaman Shop Home Page
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index
MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy Index
MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Index
MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Information Index
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Index
MoonDragon's ObGyn Information Index by Subject Order
MoonDragon's ObGyn Information Index by Alphabetical Order
MoonDragon's Main Indexlisting
MoonDragon's Home Page