What Kind of Household Bugs Bite?


Homeowners are often dismayed to find biting insects living inside their homes. Many are beneficial insects that do not bite humans and instead feed on damaging pests. However, some insects that live inside our homes will inflict painful bites on people.

Bed Bugs

  • People who are being bitten during the night may have a problem with bed bugs. These nocturnal pests are seldom seen during the day but come out to feed on human blood at night. Bed bugs are small, brown insects that turn red after drinking blood. You might find bed bugs near your bed or dark spots of bed bug feces on your bedsheets and red stains where bed bugs are being crushed on your sheets. Bed bugs molt several times during their lives. Finding skin casts or egg shells underneath your bed or on your mattress is another sign of bed bug infestation. Bed bug bites might leave no marks or they may cause swelling and irritation for up to seven days.


  • Many spiders found inside our homes will bite humans. However, most spiders only bite when they feel trapped or threatened. Only a few spiders found indoors are venomous. The brown recluse and the black widow spider are two of the most feared spiders; both are extremely venomous. The hobo spider is related to the harmless funnel weaver spider and its venom causes bite sites to heal slowly. Some people bitten by hobo spiders develop necrotic wounds that are slow to heal. If you are bitten by a spider and suffer adverse effects, collect the offending spider and take it with you to the doctor for proper identification.


  • Homeowners with pets often find fleas biting at their ankles. Fleas are black or brown and measure 1/8 inches in length. People who receive flea bites often develop small, red spots in clusters that itch. Most flea bites are on the feet, ankles and lower portions of the leg. Pets that live inside our homes may become infested with fleas and heavy infestations are often difficult to control. Fleas can cause our pets to develop medical conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis or tapeworms.


  • A variety of flies find their way into our homes and often bite humans. Black flies are small, black flies that feed on the blood of humans and animals. These flies tend to swarm around the eyes, nose and ears and can puncture the skin. The horse fly is another biter; only the female horse fly bites, but bites are often painful and itchy.

    People who live near swamps or ponds often have problems with biting flies. Flies often rest on our plants and enter our homes when the door opens. If you have biting flies inside your home, most insecticidal sprays labeled for use on flying insects will kill them. Heavy infestations of biting flies may require outdoor barrier treatments to keep them from coming inside your home.

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