Preventing and Treating Insect Bites

Protecting you and your family from Insect Bites

Insects bite to feed on blood. The bites themselves are not usually painful, but the resulting itchiness is usually uncomfortable.

It is especially bothersome when suffering from multiple or repeat insect bites. This is often the case with biting insects such as fleas or bed bugs.

Ehrlich Pest Control can treat your home to eliminate biting insects. There are also some simple precautions you can take to significantly reduce the risk of being bitten when outdoors.

Biting Insects and Your Health

In many parts of the world, biting insects spread serious diseases such as Malaria, Typhus, Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus and Encephalitis. When visiting tropical countries, plan vaccinations early and take special care to avoid being exposed to biting insects

While it is rare for biting insects to transmit disease in this country, there is still a small risk.

For instance, you can contract Lyme disease from deer ticks found on long grasses where there are deer, wild animals or farm animals – follow the advice below for avoiding insect bites when outdoors. Additionally, infected mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus.

Fortunately, the most common risk from biting insects is skin irritation. When insects bite, they inject saliva to ensure the blood flows without clotting. It is the immune response to this saliva that causes the irritation.

Sensitivity to Insect Bites

Insects prefer biting some individuals more than others. Everyone shows different levels of sensitivity to bites. In general though, younger children and those who are bitten repeatedly are more sensitive.

Insect bites rarely require medical treatment. However, call an ambulance immediately if a bite causes swelling to the throat, mouth or tongue that restricts breathing.

There is more risk of an allergic reaction to insect stings (usually from wasps or bees) than insect bites. Again, call 911 if a sting is suspected and there are symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Identifying Insect Bites

In most cases, it is difficult to identify the insect from its bite. Reactions to bites vary so much that it often leads to a misdiagnosis.

Generally it is more important to identify where the bite occurred and look for other indicators to identify the insect and ensure that the area can be treated or avoided to avoid future bites.

Treating Insect Bites

The most important treatment for an insect bite is to clean the wound.

If any insect debris has been left in the wound, remove carefully with fingernails or tweezers. Then clean the bite using soap and water or alcohol wipes.

Swelling can be reduced immediately after a bite by covering it with a cold compress such as ice in a cloth (but never hold ice directly on the skin).

The swelling from a bite may take more than a week to go down and may remain itchy for several days.

The itchiness and swelling can be relieved with anti-histamine creams for bites and stings. Oral anti-histamine (“hay fever tablets”) can also help especially where there are multiple bites.

Try not to scratch bites as this will increase the itch and could lead to the bite becoming infected by bacteria.

Call your doctor if:

  • The swelling or pain is so severe that it prevents moving around or sleeping
  • The swelling continues to worsen more than a day after the bite
  • The bite appears to be infected

Repeat bites such as those caused by a flea infestation can lead to sensitized skin and dermatitis. Speak with your pharmacist or doctor for treatment.

Biting Insects in the home

It is upsetting to have biting insects in your home. Fortunately, Ehrlich offers services to deal with them.

The three most common insect bites in the home are:

Mosquitoes - click for further info on treatment Mosquitoes and other biting flies

Usually bite after dusk or at night and tend to be near slow-moving water. Often seen resting on ceilings and upper walls. We advise you to keep windows closed at night or use fly screens to prevent mosquitoes entering the home.

Once inside the home, mosquitoes can be treated like other flying insects.

The cat flea - click for further info on treatment Fleas

Usually associated with cats and dogs and often found when moving into a home that used to have pets. Fleas will survive by biting humans when pets are not present; bites are often clustered around ankles and lower legs.

Please refer to our guide for treating fleas if you suspect you have a flea infestation in your home.

Bedbug - click for further info on treatment Bedbugs

Bedbugs are nocturnal insects that bite at night on any part of the body. The only evidence of a bite may be small spots of blood on your sheets or stains on mattresses and surrounding areas.

Please refer to our guide for treating bedbugs if you suspect you have an infestation in your home.

Treating Biting Insects in the Home

Although many homeowners struggle with do it yourself biting insect control remedies the results are often less than satisfactory. Small problems can develop into large ones and this is when many people seek out the services of a pest control professional.

Ehrlich technicians are skilled, experienced professionals – they are state certified licensed applicators and are required to participate in regular training programs to maintain their expertise. They understand the habits of each species and use that knowledge when developing a control program for your home. They also have respect for you, your home, your family and your time.

At Ehrlich Pest Control, we pride ourselves on fast, responsive service every day. We are always available 24 hours a day for any emergency pest concerns that may develop and all appointments are scheduled at times that are convenient for you our customer. . If you would like further advice or to arrange a visit by an Ehrlich technician, call us free on {toll free number}

Outdoor Biting Insects

It is often difficult to identify when and where you were bitten, never mind the insect that bit you. If bitten, the best advice is to take steps not to let it happen again.

To avoid being bitten when outdoors:

  • Avoid wearing bright colors and strong scents such as perfumes and deodorants as these attract insects
  • Wear long sleeves, trousers, footwear and hats to reduce exposed skin
  • Use insect repellent sprays on exposed skin
  • Use insect repelling products or candles when sitting
  • Avoid leaving sweet drinks and foods exposed
  • Avoid areas of still or stagnant water
  • Avoid brushing through long grass or bushes
  • Tuck trousers into socks when hiking through brush or rough grass

These precautions are especially important from dusk into the night when many biting insects are most active.