Bug Bite Allergies

Posted by Mosquito Squad
Bug Bite Allergies

March 21, 2024

Author: Emma Grace Crumbley, Entomologist

No two people's reactions to bug bites are the same. According to Medical News Today, "The reaction [to a bug bite] depends on the type of insect and the individual's sensitivity." Biting insects like flies or mosquitoes may cause a different reaction than stinging insects like wasps or ants, and your body's immune system may ramp up more for some bug bites, but not all. So how do you know if you're allergic to bugs if symptoms fall on a spectrum? 

Bug Bite Reactions

First, we must understand a "normal" reaction to a bug bite. 

Bug bites can be difficult to distinguish from other marks or reactions on the body, but a few signs can indicate if your body is reacting to an insect-inflicted wound. A general trend across bug bites is the presence of a circular, raised, irritated skin area that may be red. A pierce mark or distinct bite mark may also be present if an insect with piercing/sucking mouthparts (ex: mosquitoes) or chewing mouthparts (ex: bed bugs) bites you. In addition to biting, insects may also sting, which can cause various symptoms, including irritation, itchiness, skin becoming red and warm, and hives. These markings manifest as puffy, raised rings, though the appearance may be more or less severe depending on an allergic reaction.

If you experience only some itchiness or irritation from a bug bite, you are likely experiencing "normal" symptoms. However, if your discomfort is severe and swelling, redness, and tenderness remain days after your insect encounter, you may need to consider getting tested for an insect allergy.  


To know if you are allergic to insects or at a higher risk for severe allergic reactions to bug bites, you need to see an allergist and get tested. This test is usually an intradermal skin prick, where a minimal amount of insect venom or saliva is probed under the skin. This test is monitored in real time by a medical professional to see the severity of your body’s reaction. This type of allergy testing is the standard for insect allergies. However, recent studies suggest that skin-prick tests may need to be repeated to confirm whether or not an individual is allergic. If you experience intense discomfort from bug bites, including swelling, throbbing, aches, redness, itchiness, hives, numbness, or difficulty breathing, contact a medical professional immediately for assistance and diagnosis. 

Another One BITES The Dust

You don't have to be allergic to know that bug bites are the worst. Keep your yard protected this season, and call the pros at Mosquito Squad today! Contact us today for a free quote, or call (512) 488-5331. 

Side Note – The irony is that as an entomologist, I can constantly interact with insects of all kinds. I must be comfortable handling bugs or occupying the same space as them when doing fieldwork. Last summer, I was stung by a honeybee when I discovered a honeybee nest living in a trashcan that had not been recently cleaned. At the moment, the sting was shocking, but the duration of the symptoms surprised me the most. It turns out that Emma, the Entomologist, a bug lady and insect lover, is allergic to bees. Go figure!