Some insects and arthropods bite and others sting. Bites occur when an insect uses its jaws to inflict pain and sometimes injects a venom. In the insects, stingers are modified appendages originally used for egg-laying (ovipositors) and, therefore, borne by females only. In other arthropods, like scorpions, stingers may be possessed by both male and female. Stingers are used to deliver a venom, either for defense or as a means to paralyze and subdue prey. If you think you are getting bitten by something that might be an arthropod, but cannot see or identify the culprit, start out by checking the F@ctsheet on Diagnosing Mysterious Bug Bites.
Bees are identified by their constricted waists, four wings and light- to densely-haired bodies (especially on the thorax).
Most wasps, with a few notable exceptions, are predators, feeding on a variety of insects and other prey. Identify wasps by their constricted waists, four wings, and lack of any extra nodes (pedicles) between the thorax and abdomens.
Bed bugs are making a comeback. Are you ready for them? Typically found in rooms where people sleep or rest, bed bugs are the size of an apple seed, or smaller. They are reddish brown, oval-shaped and flattened.
Other biting and stinging pests
Spiders and scorpions are not true insects, but are often associated with insects. Although spiders and scorpions play a useful role in controlling many insect pests, their presence is usually unwelcome in the home. Fleas, stinging caterpillars, mites and “mystery bugs” are among the other arthropods covered in this page.