How to identify insect bites with bruising

Written by alexis rohlin
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Insect bites that cause you to bleed under your epidermis, or the top layer of your skin, will cause bruises to form. There are several types of insect bites that may form bruises, such as bites from spiders, mosquitoes, bed bugs and ticks. Stings from scorpions, wasps or bees may also form bruises. Insect bites that cause bruises have a very distinct look to them. Once you learn what to look for, you will be able to identify an insect bite with bruising.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Look for tiny red or white puncture marks in the centre of your bruise. If a spider bit you, there will be a pair of puncture marks. A single puncture mark can be made by a mosquito, bed bug or tick. Insect bites with bruising typically do not develop a red, raised, irritated and itchy lump around the bite.

  2. 2

    Inspect the colour of your skin around the bite. Is it purple, red and yellowish or is it magenta or bright red? If your skin is a magenta or bright red bullseye or target shape, you have been bit by a tick and may have Lyme disease, which is a serious condition that needs to be treated with medication prescribed by a doctor. If the surrounding area of the bite is more muted pinkish-red colour that looks like a weal or oval shaped rash, it is not an insect bite with bruising, but a bed bug or mosquito bite. Bed bug bites are very painful. Mosquito bites irritate the skin and make it itchy.

  3. 3

    Inspect your skin where you have located the insect bite to determine if it has caused bruising. An insect bite with bruising will have a ring of normal coloured skin around the bite surrounded by a larger ring-shaped bruise that is radiating out from it. The bruised area around the insect bite will be 1-inch or wider in diameter and will look like a doughnut.

Tips and warnings

  • If you aren't sure what type of insect bit you, or if you are worried that what you see isn't actually an insect bite with a bruise but some other form of injury, you should think about visiting your doctor and having him look at it.
  • Some bites with bruises are harmless and will disappear on their own, while other insect bites with bruising can turn into serious, life threatening bacterial infections.
  • If the insect bite is very painful and the bruised skin turns brown or black or the bruised area spreads, go to the emergency room right away. These are signs that you have a staph infection. Staph is a common name for a type of flesh eating bacteria that can do immense damage to your body if it isn't treated quickly.

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