How to identify insect bites by pictures

Written by amy davidson
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How to identify insect bites by pictures
If you've got a book on bug bites, use that to help diagnose; otherwise you can try online. (book image by Pali A from

If you've got an itchy or swollen insect bite, chances are you are itching to get rid of it as soon as possible. Identifying the bite can help diagnose how to remedy it, or at least give you peace of mind about the severity of the bite. By using pictures, be they from a bug book or online source, you can easily identify a bug bite to ensure that you take proper care of it and don't require medical attention.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Check out the actual bite itself, and see if there are one or two holes. If it is two holes, you may want to focus on photos of spider bites, as these typically leave two tiny holes, whereas one hole can indicate another kind of bug. Spider bites can also leave one hole behind, instead of two, so you may still be dealing with a spider culprit even if you only see one hole at the bite area.

  2. 2

    Look at the colouration of skin around the bite area. It may, for example, be red, white or even purple. Compare it to pictures from your book or online to find a few that match the colouration of skin around the bite.

  3. 3

    Check out the swelling of your bite as well, and use that in hand with the colouration of the area to narrow down your results using the pictures you have selected. For example, you may have a photo with similar colouring, but your bite is much more swollen, so look to the photo that has both the swelling and colouration you have.

  4. 4

    Research the bugs that have made the bites in the photos you found that match your bite. Find out what regions they reside in and figure out whether, depending on areas you have visited, you could have been exposed to one of them. Chances are you will find one and that is probably the culprit.

Tips and warnings

  • If you've narrowed the bite down to a few photos and are having trouble singling out which type of bug made your bite, consult your doctor, who can not only help diagnose, but may also help give you medication for a more speedy recovery.
  • Always protect yourself from bites by using bug spray before going into areas where you know there will be a lot of bug life.
  • If your bite begins to spread rapidly in redness, presents with intense pain, pus or red streaks, seek medical attention immediately.
  • If you've been bitten and begin to feel dizzy, nauseous, swollen or have difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately, as you may have a severe allergy to the bite.

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