Common Stinging or Biting Insects or Spiders - Topic Overview

Many insects, such as the following, cause mild reactions:

Some insects are more likely than others to cause allergic or toxic reactions.

  • A bee leaves its 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. Reaction to bee stings can range from minor skin swelling and redness to a serious allergic reaction.
  • 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.

Bites and stings are more serious if you develop one or more of the following conditions after an insect or spider bite or sting:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.