Identifying Bug Bites can be a challenge because of how similar they can feel and appear. Everyone has a different immune reaction to being bitten or stung, so the amount of inflammation and level of severity will vary.  

Most bites from common insects will heal quickly and easily, while others may be more painful or require medical care.  

These photos and their descriptions can help you identify insect bites/stings. 


Bed Bugs 

by Hermann Luyken is marked with CC0 1.0

Appearance –several red welts in linear groupings, can be flat or inflamed 

Reaction – burning, itchy, sometimes swollen 

Location – neck, arms, or torso 



Appearance – pinprick-like red bump or swelling 

Reaction – initial sharp pain, stinging, swelling, can trigger a severe allergic reaction in some people 

Location – anywhere, especially exposed skin 



Appearance – similar to bed bugs, small, red bumps in linear clusters  

Reaction – very itchy, can become sore or develop a rash 

Location – likely on legs or ankles 



These common bites are annoying but typically heal quickly. They do have the potential to expose you to mosquito-borne disease, so be sure to use bug spray outdoors.  

Appearance – puffy, pink, round bump, may have a raised dot in the center 

Reaction – very itchy and can sting 

Location – anywhere, especially exposed skin 


"Spider Bites" by chantellervheerden is marked with CC PDM 1.0 

Most spiders are nonvenomous, but there are several poisonous varieties to watch for. We’ve included information about bites from the Black Widow (left) and Brown Recluse (right).  

Appearance (nonvenomous) – small red marks or welts  

Black Widow – one to two bite marks 

Brown Recluse – blister, surrounded by a bruised or red area, then fills with blood and ruptures/scars 

Reaction (nonvenomous) – pain around the bite, redness, swelling 

Black Widow – sharp pain, redness, swelling, cramping in the torso, nausea, sweating, anxiety, or muscle weakness 

Brown Recluse – little to no immediate discomfort, but pain about an hour later, itchiness, nausea, fatigue, chills 

Location – anywhere, especially exposed skin 

Here is a resource for more information about dangerous spider bites



Tick bites have the potential to transmit Lyme disease as well as other pathogens through their bites. Use bug spray to prevent these bites, especially if hiking.  

Appearance – slight swelling or rash 

Reaction – minimal reaction, it can be challenging to know if you’ve been bitten unless you catch the tick on you, see that it has dropped off, or discover a bull’s eye-shaped lesion (above) which is a hallmark symptom of Lyme disease 

Location – they seek out warm areas on the body, so they frequently bite in the armpits, behind the knees, or on the head/neck 

Fire Ants 

“Fire Ant bite” by euthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Some ants can bite, some can sting, fire ants do both.  

Appearance – red spot that turns into a very itchy white bump 

Reaction – immediate pain, redness, swelling, itchiness 

Location – likely on legs or ankles 

If you’re noticing frequent insect bites while you’re indoors, let us know, and we can help you determine if you’re experiencing an infestation.