FM Europe


Insect bites do not usually present serious problems, unless the child has an allergy to a certain insect or that the insect in question bears a serious disease.

In case of symptoms of allergy to the sting for example of a bee (excessive swelling of the area, hives, respiratory distress or anaphylaxis.), You should go immediately to the emergency room. The same as if after a bite for example, tick, the head of the insect remains inside the skin or the child begins to have other symptoms such as fever, dizziness or respiratory distress.

Experts recommend us, especially in very young children, to stay alert to the bite of an insect, and keep it under observation, to detect in time any other symptom that makes us suspect that the bite itself can be complicated.

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Although most often lack importance, there are others that can cause negative health consequences

In the summer we are exposed to the bites of many insects. Although most often lack importance, there are others that can cause negative health consequences, such as the transmission of certain diseases. Hence the importance of knowing the appearance of each of the bites and knowing how to act in each case.

To facilitate this task, the Children's Guide website has published a guide that shows the different types of bites and some recommendations for each of them.

1. Mosquito. It is the most recognizable sting, since it is also the most common. Normally, we find a single red spot or lump without swelling, which does not pose any danger, unless there is an allergy or the insect has transmitted a disease. In these cases, pain and fever will appear.

2. Fleas. They usually appear different bites grouped and close to each other, as well as a constant itching. To avoid them, it is important to check the sheets from time to time and change them frequently, especially if you have pets at home.

3. Wasp or bee. These bites usually cause a lot of pain and swelling in the skin for a couple of days and their appearance is very recognizable: red spot with a white dot in the center, where the stinger is usually stuck, in the case of bee stings. If this is the case, it is important to remove it as soon as possible.

4. Spider. The bites of these insects also cause bumps on the skin, whether large or small, with a point in the center. In addition, there are many types, so their recognition requires a more thorough search. For example, the black widow leaves two points together in the center of the bite.

5. Tick. These bites do not cause pain, but a red fence. In many cases, the tick is attached to the skin, so it is necessary to remove it immediately, taking care that the head is not inside. Depending on the region, these insects can spread diseases such as Lyme or Riskettsia, so if you are a victim of your bite, it is advisable to visit a doctor as soon as possible.

6. Ants. The bite of an ant causes swelling of the skin and, sometimes, some pus and blisters after a few days.

1. Mosquito bites

They are the most common, especially in summer. They are the type of insect bite that produces reddened blister. Its itching is usually localized and easy to treat with some special cream. They can become very annoying, especially when several bites appear in a row, but they are not usually serious, except in cases where fever or joint pain occurs. In these situations you have to go to the doctor as soon as possible to avoid infections.

2. Wasp and bee stings

They are one of the most painful bites, since the sting of the insect is stuck in the skin. Although a priori they are not serious, they can be very dangerous for those allergic to these bites, approximately 10% of the population. If so, the affected will begin to feel nauseous, burning in the tongue and difficulty breathing, so you have to go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

If this is not your case, you will feel pain the minutes after the sting and you will notice a slight swelling and redness in the skin. Simply wash the area with soap and water and apply ice to lower the swelling and alleviate the pain.

Identifying a bee sting is very simple, since they are very similar to those of wasps, but less common, since this insect only attacks if it feels threatened. The symptoms are the same and the way to proceed too.

3. Spider bites

Most spider bites are harmless, except those of poisonous arachnids. They usually manifest with a blister and two spots on the skin that delimit the "bite" of the spider. They cause pain, itching and redness, so it is advisable to wash the area with soap and water and apply some ice to relieve pain.

4. Tick bites

Although they may not seem serious to the naked eye, tick bites can be very dangerous, since they transmit diseases such as Lyme disease. It is very important to remove the tick from the area where the bite has occurred, because they usually remain attached to the skin for a while. To remove it you can use tweezers. Then, you have to wash the area very well with soap and water. Tick ​​bites cause pain, swelling and burning sensation. In the case of suffering a more serious discomfort, you must go to the doctor immediately to check if the transmission of any virus has occurred.

5. Flea bites

They manifest in the form of small red bumps on the skin, in groups of three or four and that produce an intense itching. Before these bites we must avoid scratching so they do not get infected. Just wash the area with soap and water and apply some ointment that relieves itching.

6. Bed bug bites

In many cases it is difficult to identify a bed bug bite, as many people may not feel any type of itching or discomfort, while others may suffer large rashes, if they are allergic. To reduce itching and prevent the area from becoming infected, wash it with soap and water and take good care of its hygiene.

7. Ant bites

They are not usually very common, but red ant bites occur through the injection of poison into the skin, which causes blisters, irritation and itching. The discomfort can be significantly reduced by applying a cream with corticosteroids.

8. Scorpion Stings

Although in Spain it is very strange to see one of these bites, knowing how to identify a scorpion sting is essential to act quickly and avoid more serious health problems. The first thing to keep in mind is the type of scorpion that has stung, the age of the person and the amount of poison in the body.

It is important to know that, in these bites, the animal's sting remains embedded in the skin, so it must be removed as soon as possible. To do this, you have to scrape the area with a razor and never use tweezers, since by exerting pressure the poison can spill and increase inside the body. Once the stinger is removed, the area must be washed thoroughly with soap and water, apply ice and go to the doctor for peace of mind.

The mosquito will continue with its bites many summers

The mosquito will continue with its bites many summers

Culex pipiens It is the most common mosquito in Spain and the world, and all of us, at some point in our life, have been its victim. Repellents and other home remedies will be partially sufficient to prevent such annoying bite, because far from disappearing from our environments, this insect will be increasingly abundant with rising temperatures, and will colonize areas where it was previously impossible to live.

The mosquitoes will bite you

Would a world without flies be possible? Without the potato weevil? Without the mosquito? «I think so, but once mosquitoes are part of the biocenosis puzzle (ecological community), it is already difficult, if not impossible, to do without them», says Santiago Ruiz Contreras, entomologist at the Mosquito Control Service of the Provincial Council of Huelva.

Mosquitoes such as Culex pipiens are "essential" for some viruses and other pathogens, which without them could not be transmitted. Although there are not many species that feed on these insects in their adult form or in their larval stage, for certain fish, amphibians or birds they are part of their diet. However, "from an anthropocentric point of view, we could do without mosquitoes, but let's not forget that it's just our point of view, nothing objective," says Ruiz Contreras.

The peculiarity of Culex pipiens is that it is almost the only species of mosquito present in the entire globe except at the poles. The mosquito, typical of the city, is "the most frequent" in Spain, "although there are areas where it is not the most abundant species," says the entomologist. However, with climate change, this mosquito could expand its distribution in our country.

A life linked to heat and water

"With the increase in temperatures, not only will the number of generations (offspring) per year increase, but also the possibility of colonizing areas where they previously could not live because they did not meet the climatic requirements," Ricardo Jiménez Peydró, a researcher at the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity of the University of Valencia.

Species, especially those of mountains in Spain, which have a limited distribution and depend on favorable temperatures will be affected by climate change and the consequent increase in temperatures. It will not be the case of Culex pipiens, "a species that owes its ubiquitous nature to its environmental plasticity," confirms Ruiz Contreras.

Being one more inhabitant of cities, the mosquito is "a neighbor who already takes advantage of the changes that man makes in his environment, which are much more short-term than those produced by climate change," said the scientist.

Harmful and treacherous sting

Because of its cosmopolitan nature, the possibility of biting and transmitting diseases to humans increases, especially at night and in enclosed spaces. Of the diseases that Culex pipiens can transmit, numerous arbovirosis (tropical diseases characterized with encephalitis and fevers), filariasis (parasitic infections) and West Nile Virus stand out, “the best known of all for the serious processes that led to New York City in 1999 », recalls Jiménez.

Although this mosquito transmits a multitude of diseases throughout the planet, "in Spain, the West Nile and Usutu viruses could preferably circulate and be transmitted by the vector, according to data published until the moment of the peninsula," says Ana Vázquez, researcher at the Laboratory of Arbovirus and Imported Viral Diseases of the National Center for Microbiology of the Carlos III Health Institute.

A single sting is enough to transmit the disease. "As a female performs several bites throughout her life, the transmissions are numerous," says Jiménez. But not all people are so exposed to bites. Mosquitoes choose their "victims."

These insects "detect CO2 emission differentials, and are attracted by the combination of substances such as cholesterol, uric acid, and another series of components with greater or lesser volatility that will mark their preferences for feeding," reports Ruiz Contreras. In addition, "the lower the hair and the thickness of the epidermis, the more prone the person will be to the bites of the mosquitoes," adds the researcher. To avoid bites, the most effective is a good repellent.

The tiger mosquito in Spain, a growing threat

In recent years, the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has made its appearance in Spain. Coming from Southeast Asia, this invasive species has already spread throughout Africa, America and Europe. At present, "it is distributed in Catalonia, especially in the surroundings of Barcelona, ​​although it is also in some towns of Girona and Tarragona," says the researcher at the Cavanilles Institute.

According to the scientist, since September 2009, the species is also breeding in the Valencian Community, "specifically in Torrevieja." Despite a very slow expansion, "the favorable climate of the area suggests that it may have a relatively rapid dispersion," Jiménez warns.

Like other species of mosquitoes typical of Spain, the tiger mosquito bite causes an "important" allergic reaction with inflammation of the affected area and pronounced itching. «Its danger lies in its potential to transmit virosis, such as the Chicunguya virus, in addition to being a vector of transmission of Yellow Fever. The difference with other “urban” mosquitoes is that it bites not only at night, but also during the day, ”says the expert.

How to recognize it

It is very likely that you know how to recognize the mosquito bite, as it is the most common. Who has not been bitten by a mosquito ever? The clearest thing is that the bite is usually unique, without clusters too close or swelling. In addition, they look like red spots or small bumps.

In general, you can't do much more than wait. Mosquito bites are usually harmless. If you feel too itchy, you can apply some anesthetic lotion.

Of course: you should worry if you suspect you have an allergic reaction, or if the bites are accompanied by symptoms such as fever or pain throughout the body, which may indicate the transmission of a disease.

2. Flea bites

How to recognize it

They are small and grouped bites, very close to each other, usually numerous. They produce a lot of itching and look like small hillocks in the skin.

Flea bites are usually harmless, but these insects can become a pest if they are not stopped.

To avoid them you should check the sheets (avoiding dark colored ones), shake them well, and do not leave the bed without laying, especially if you have pets.

3. Wasp or bee sting

How to recognize it

Wasp or bee stings produce a lot of pain, swelling and burning, although these effects do not last more than one or two days. It is presented as a red spot with a white dot in the middle. There, in some cases, the sting may have remained, the clearest confirmation that it is this type of sting.

Despite the pain, do not worry too much about this sting. Of course, to avoid infections it is important to remove the stinger. After removing it, apply some antihistamine to cure the bite.

4.Red Ants Sting

How to recognize it

When a red / red ant bites a person, it feels acute pain and burning. These insects can be very aggressive, especially if the anthill in which they live is attacked.

If, for example, you accidentally step on a red anthill, they will react by attacking you.

The next day, each red ant sting becomes a blister.

Unless you are allergic to these insects, it should not be necessary to turn to the doctor for a sting. The first thing you should do is clean the area well to avoid infections. Hygiene will also help reduce itching and burning.

You can also make a paste of water and baking soda to apply on the bite and improve the symptoms.

5. Tick bite

How to recognize it

The tick bite causes no pain, and it looks like a small fence or spot of a very bright red. But pay close attention: the tick could still stick to your skin!

It is that this insect puts the head inside the skin to be able to feed on our blood. Yes, nasty.

Precisely because the tick can be inside the skin, you should not try to pull it out in any way, because it can be harmful.

A good idea to remove it from the skin is to apply petroleum jelly, which drowns the insect without harming your skin. Once dead, it will be easy to remove.

Another option is to make a solution by boiling rosemary leaves with lemon peel. Once done, rub the mixture over the sting. The tick will fall off immediately and the skin will have a pleasant smell.

If you are in a rural area or in a region where you suspect that the tick could infect you with diseases such as Lyme or Riskettsia, you should consult a doctor, the same if the limb swells or there is pain.

6.Spider bite

How to recognize it

Spider bites are similar to those of other insects: a mound that produces quite itching where you can locate a point of injury, which is the bite.

They can be small or large bites. In cases of dangerous spiders like the black widow the bite is different: it looks like two punctures together. In the case of the also dangerous brown recluse, the bite is shaped like a target.

Normal symptoms include, in addition to itching, swelling, spasm and muscle pain (especially when large spiders bite). If that is what you experience, you should not worry too much.

To relieve discomfort, it can be washed with soap and water, which will help reduce swelling. If different symptoms appear or the sting becomes very ugly and creates doubts, you can consult a doctor.

How to defend yourself from the tiger mosquito?

Insecticide paints are effective against the tiger mosquito. That is what emerges from a study by the University of Zaragoza, which has demonstrated the high level of efficacy of the Inesfly polymer microcapsules against the bites of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), transmitter of Dengue and Chikungunya.

The 'anti-mosquito' paints, which are applied both inside and outside the homes, contain polymer microcapsules that release insecticides and growth inhibitors (biocides) progressively for at least six and eight months, applied both to the paint from inside the houses as in aqueous solutions, outside.

An investigation of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zaragoza, directed by Javier Lucientes, has proven the usefulness of this technology for the control of the tiger mosquito, an invasive species that transmits emerging viral diseases worldwide.

The work has managed to determine not only the effectiveness of this technology in the control of tiger mosquitoes, but also the period of time in which the biocide is useful when released on different substrates such as plaster walls, wood, common in tropical countries, and with easy-to-use application methods, such as paints, varnishes, water, etc.

Various efficacy tests have been carried out on insectaries with mosquito colonies. The tests have been carried out both in paint and in aqueous solutions, such as lacquers. Insecticide paints have been tested on two types of substrates: one that is very porous, which is used as a building material (brick, billet) and another one with a smooth, less absorbent surface, such as madrea, material also used in construction.

The same technology is applied against Chagas and malaria

The results have shown that, in the case of wall paints inside homes, the effectiveness of the products tested exceed six months and in terms of aqueous solutions, used to combat larval stages in containers located abroad, its effectiveness exceeds eight months after a single application.

The technology, developed by the Inesfly company, has been used successfully for years in international health projects and was created by the chemical researcher Dr. Pilar Mateo, for the implementation of international health programs. Inesfly S.L. Health engineering is responsible for designing and carrying out research projects both at the laboratory level (new formulations, new applications) and at the field level (international projects, with scientific-technical studies on real effectiveness of Inesfly formulations, toxicological studies ...) In fact, this technology has been very effective in the intra-home eradication of Chagas disease and malaria vectors.

The Inesfly project, which has the support of the Government of Aragon and financing of Ibercaja, now begins a second phase, which will be developed in Bolivia, where the effectiveness of the microcapsules against the Aedes aegypti mosquito, transmitter of yellow fever will be verified. The work will apply the same protocols that have demonstrated its efficiency against Aedes albopictus, at the laboratory level in Spain.

Insecticides that attack on the wall

The microcapsules have a morphological structure composed of two elements, an active nucleus and a polymeric shell that surround them. However, the process for obtaining them is complex since the active substances (the insecticides) are introduced into the matrix, achieving a gradual release of the active agents by the polymer properties.

In recent years there has been an alarming expansion of the distribution area worldwide, including Europe, of the two species of mosquitoes under study: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, which have a great health impact because they are the most effective vectors of diseases as important worldwide as dengue, yellow fever or chikungunya.

In the third world countries is where the most serious problems occur with millions of people affected and deaths. But climate change and globalization are favoring the conolization of these mosquitoes in developed countries.

Because there are no vaccines to cure these infectious diseases, WHO recommends actions for the control of the breeding of these mosquitoes and the fight against adult mosquitoes, transmitters of the disease.

Profile of the common mosquito

- Characteristics of the species: Culex pipiens really is not a species but a complex of at least two "tropho species": Culex pipiens pipiens, which feeds on birds, and Culex pipiens molesus, which feeds on humans and bites inside the enclosures. "It's the typical mosquito that bites at night in our room."

- Habitat: It lives in the surroundings of its breeding areas, that is places where there is water, without flow and stagnant, temporarily or permanently. The water temperature must be above 14ºC to have adult and young activity. In the tropics it is where there is greater distribution of mosquitoes.

- Life expectancy: Culex pipiens, with a generation of about six days at ambient temperatures of just over 30ºC, lives about a week, There are also wintering females that can live periods of almost five months.

- Young: Throughout its life, a female can lay 800 to 2,500 eggs, which are deposited on the surface of the water forming glued groups.

- Incubation: Breeding areas are masses of fresh water (surface water and groundwater). They become plague populations in unstable and organically contaminated bodies of water, due to the absence of competitors and predators. These ponds are mostly waters of anthropic origin, within the human population nuclei. The female spends the winter already fertilized in humid places.

- Appearance: The mosquito reaches a size of about 5 or 6 millimeters and has a basic gray-brown color.

- Modus operandi: The mosquito tube penetrates the skin. It has two channels: the food, to absorb blood, and salivate, through which it injects an anticoagulant. Before the saliva proteins, the human body sends blood to neutralize it, which the mosquito easily absorbs by anticoagulants. The absorption of blood can last up to two and a half minutes. To limit the sensation of itching to calmly suck, the mosquito secretes anti-inflammatory and immunopressor substances.

- Diseases transmitted: With its bite, the mosquito can transmit West Nile Virus, numerous arbovirosis (tropical diseases characterized by encephalitis), and filariasis (parasitic diseases).

- Mosquito species: In the world there are about 2,500 species of mosquitoes. In Spain there are 54 confirmed species.

Human smell, mosquito delicacy

The human smell is the favorite of mosquitoes and, of course, between biting a person or another vertebrate, the mosquito always prefers people, according to a study published in the magazine Nature. The publication shows that a gene called ‘orc’ is responsible for both this predilection for human odor and the repulsion caused by DEET mosquitoes.

Mosquito females find in the blood of vertebrates the nutrients necessary to lay their eggs. They detect their prey by the CO2 produced in breathing, body heat and smell. And his favorite scent is that of human.

Now, scientists from the universities of Rockefeller and California (USA) have revealed that the orc gene is responsible for the preference of female mosquitoes for human blood over other vertebrates. According to the work, this gene, involved in the olfactory process, is also the cause of these insects feel repulsion by DEET, a component present in most mosquito repellents.

"We have shown that eliminating the orc gene makes the mosquito resistant to the aerial effects of the insect repellent DEET," Leslie Vosshall, lead author of the study, tells SINC.

Eliminating the ‘orc’ gene makes the mosquito resistant to insect repellents

The team of scientists used nucleases with a structure called zinc fingers to first develop a mosquito without the orc gene.

Unlike wild mosquitoes, these mutants felt the same attraction for one arm with repellent as for another without it. Only when they perched on the skin and came into contact with the compound, the product repelled them and they did not bite, while normal mosquitoes did not even approach because they smelled DEET from afar.

In addition, when the mosquitoes approached nylon sleeves with human odor, free of CO2, the mutants did not flinch, and in the presence of this gas showed the same attraction for humans as for other animals. "This shows that mosquitoes use the olfactory pathway of the orc gene to discriminate between human and non-human odor," says Vosshall.

The experiments were performed with the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a dangerous transmitter of dengue and yellow fever that has developed evolutionarily a preference for humans. "Our work provides important information to create tools that prevent the strong attraction of mosquitoes by people," says Vosshall.