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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.

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  • 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:

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 08, 2013
    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.
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