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Insects or Bugs that Bite or Sting

Eradicating unwanted pests can be a very difficult and extremely time-consuming process, and, in certain circumstances, it can be pretty dangerous. Common problems include mice, rats, bedbugs, cockroaches, wasps, squirrels and fleas, but this list is not exhaustive, and many pests cause a nuisance and spread disease.  Below are some of the more common insect pests.

It is always wise to use a professional pest control service to expertly deal with all pest problems by treating, monitoring and eradicating unwanted pests quickly, efficiently and safely.


In the UK, the typical black ant does not sting. However, in warm weather or feeling threatened, red, flying, and wood ants will sting. If you do get stung, you may feel a nip, which is usually relatively harmless, although there is sometimes a pale pink mark at the site of the sting.


Bedbugs are fast becoming a problem in the UK, which maybe because of the increasing popularity of international travel.

If you think your home is infested with these insects, you should contact a pest control expert immediately so that they can be eradicated.

These small, blood-sucking insects are not dangerous, and they don't carry any disease. Still, their bite may cause itching and red lumps to the skin, occasionally causing a skin reaction including infected blisters.

Even though these insects cannot jump or fly, they crawl around very quickly and have the potential to invade any room in the house. As well as being unintentionally transported in the luggage of tourists, they are often found in bedding, clothing and furniture.


Stings from bees are pretty painful, and because some bees will leave their sting inside you, this must be removed to ensure that infection does not occur. However, unless you are allergic to bee stings, they do not typically cause severe damage.

Caterpillars and Moths

The oak processionary moth is a native of southern Europe, and it was inadvertently introduced to the UK in 2005. The larvae of this moth, commonly known as caterpillars, can be hazardous to oak trees and detrimental to both human and animal health. They live in and feed on oak trees and are easily recognisable by their typical habit of moving around in nose-to-tail convoys or processions.

Unfortunately, this brown moth is not very distinctive and looks very similar to other harmless species. However, the moth's larvae have thousands of tiny hairs that contain a substance called thaumetopoeid which may cause skin irritation, itching, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the pharynx (pharyngitis) and asthma in humans.

The general public has been asked to look out for these caterpillars and report any findings to the local authority, Forestry Commission or their local pest control expert. It is important not to touch the nests or the larvae and ensure that children and pets are safeguarded.

Flower Bugs

Flower bugs (family Anthocoridae) can be found on flowering plants and, even though it is said they are suitable for the garden, they are known to bite human skin. A bite from a flower bug doesn't cause serious harm, but it can be very itchy and slow to heal.


Although it doesn't spread disease, a bite from this large, hairy fly can be excruciating and quickly become infected. Horseflies tend to bite the head or upper body and are prevalent in the summer months.


In recent years the harlequin ladybird has invaded and colonised much of the UK. Compared to our native ladybirds, they are bigger, more circular in appearance and more aggressive. Whilst all ladybirds will bite, seemingly, the harlequin ladybird tends to bite more often than other types.

The appearance of the harlequin ladybird is variable, and they can be red or orange with black spots or black with red dots.

Midges and Gnats

Midges, often referred to as gnats, are common throughout the UK. The bites from midges and gnats do not transmit disease or illness, but it's well-known for causing intense itching and, in some instances, can also cause swelling at the site of the bite.  Usually prevalent in hot weather, midges and gnats tend to attack in swarms.


Although mosquitoes are a nuisance, they don't cause too much harm in the UK, whereas, in other parts of the world, they transmit deadly diseases, including malaria and yellow fever.

Mosquitoes are attracted to bright colours and pungent smells, so if you're spending a lot of time outside, it's best to avoid wearing colourful items or highly scented products.


Spiders are not aggressive, and they only tend to bite when they are feeling threatened. In the UK, a spider's bite is seldom severe, and the taste may only be identifiable by minor puncture marks that may be left on the skin. A bite from a non-venomous spider often goes unnoticed, and the rate of bacterial infection is low.


These tiny creatures, which are spider-like in appearance, are often found in woodland areas. Whilst the bite from a tick isn't too painful. However, it can cling to your skin and suck your blood. A tick should be removed as soon as possible because infected ticks can transmit a bacterial infection known as Lyme Disease. If you think you have been bitten by a tick and have a pink or red rash or flu-type symptoms, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.


If feeling threatened in any way, the wasp could give a nasty sting. In addition, the sting can cause an allergic reaction, including itching and swelling. Although the wasp sting seldom causes an allergic reaction after your first sting, you could develop a severe reaction if you have been stung more than once and your system becomes overly sensitive. This is known as an anaphylactic reaction or anaphylactic shock and is a medical emergency. Signs include itching of the skin, a skin rash, swollen eyes, lips, hands and feet, swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue and wheezing. Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are also signs of an anaphylactic reaction and, according to the severity, could also cause collapse and unconsciousness.

Particularly in the summer months, look out for nests that could be in the home or garden. Wasps' nests should be removed immediately by experts in the control of pests.