Reviewed by Michael Smith on January 26, 2016


NHS Choices: "Symptoms of insect bites and stings."; University of Pennsylvania Health System: "Immune System."; United States Department of Agriculture: Why Do Bees Sting?"; National Geographic: "Here's What Happens Inside You When a Mosquito Bites."; American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: "Take a Bite out of Mosquito Stings."; CDC: "Anopheles Mosquitos."; PubMed: "Roles of mast cells and histamine in mosquito bite-induced allergic itch-associated rresponses in mice."; Amy Garber, RN, host.; Sound Effects: freeSFX.

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Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] AMY GARBER: Ew, bugs. Getting bit or stung by one can ruin a family barbecue quicker than your drunk uncle talking politics. Right now in super duper closeup, we'll find out how something so tiny can be so annoying. I'm talking about bug bites, not your uncle.



First stop, the bee. There it is piercing the skin with its stinger. Ouch. Then it flies off, leaving the stinger and a tiny venomous sac behind. Uh, rude if you ask me. Anyway, a war is being waged between that sac and your body. The sac releases its venom. And in response, your body dispatches white blood cells to fight it.

Next up, the mosquito. As we all know, they bite you to feed on your blood. They're like the "Twilight" vampires without the sexy abs. Mm.



The mosquito uses its mouth parts to pierce the skin. At this very moment, the mosquito's saliva is thinning the blood so it won't clot while she feeds. Her saliva also causes that annoying itchiness. Now, only female mosquitoes bite you. They need the blood for egg production.


And there she goes, sucking down that blood faster than your uncle sucks down cans of affordably-priced light beer.


There are hundreds of other kinds of bug bites I could get into, including some that are deadly. Unfortunately, I can't show you those without putting someone's life in danger. I'd gladly let my uncle get bit by a spider, but our lawyers won't let me. Not my rules.


Ow. Where'd that come from?