How to Identify the Cause of Your Itchy Bug Bite


mosquito bites

There’s nothing more irritating than an itchy bug bite. The itch never seems to stop, and the more you scratch the worse it gets. But what makes it even more irritating is that you may not know the cause of the bite, and that can cause a bit of anxiety as you try to figure out if the bite was a mosquito, a spider, or something worse.

Symptoms of Each Pest Bite

One of the issues that makes identifying bites difficult is that, in general, most bite reactions are the same. The bumps you get from bites isn’t some specific reaction caused by a type of toxin. They are allergic reactions, and so any bite that causes an allergic reaction is going to cause a similar bump.

However, there are a few ways to tell some bites apart, and while it’s not an exact science, you can potentially tell bites apart by these symptoms:

  • Mosquito Bites – Mosquito bites are the most common type of bug bite. They are round, and have roughly a dime sized “bump” that may puff your skin for a few inches depending on the severity of your allergy.
  • Bed Bug BitesBed bug bites are often smaller bumps. But the main characteristic that helps tell them apart from mosquito bites are the quantities. Generally bed bugs bite in at least groups of three (known as breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and often in a similar area.
  • Spider Bites – Spider bites that cause itchy bumps often cause exactly the same bumps as mosquito bites, so contrary to popular belief you can’t assume a larger bump is a sign it was a spider. That said, presence of other symptoms (like nerve pain) can be a sign of a more serious spider bite, and in rare cases you may be able to see two small dots (fangs) in your skin, rather than one dot as is more common with mosquitoes.
  • Not Bite Itching – Keep in mind that not all itchy welts are caused by pests either. Heat rash, poison ivy, and other allergies can cause bite-like symptoms and even bumps. These tend to be in more areas of the body, however, in a way that is rarely caused by any type of insect.

All bites should be monitored, because bites that are scratched too often can cause infection. Also, recurrence of the bite(s) is important too. A swarm of mosquitoes may bite you when camping, but if you’re at home and receiving similar bites pop up, it may be bed bugs. Pay attention to where the bites are, and if more pop up over time.


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