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Insect Bites Symptoms and Causes

Arthropods are insects that live primarily on land and have six legs. They dominate the present-day land fauna. They represent about three-fourths of known animal life. In fact, the actual number of living species could range from 5-10 million.

Stings and bites from insects are common. They often result in redness and swelling in the injured area. Sometimes a sting can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.


Redness, slight swelling, and possibly some itching.

Reaction to the sting can sometimes be more pronounced: hoarseness, labored breathing, confusion, difficulty swallowing, and severe swelling.

Sometimes the reaction can be severe: possible closing of the airway and perhaps shock (cyanosis and a drop in blood pressure).


Certain stinging insects in North America can cause reactions (honeybees, bumble bees, African bees, hornets, scorpions, fire ants, yellow jackets, wasps, spiders, centipedes, and ants). Of these, the honeybee, yellow jacket, and African bee are the most dangerous.

Bee venom contains formaldehyde; each year, bee stings cause more deaths in America than snake bites.

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