Sting or Bite??

I don't know!

Stings, bites, small stabbing (thorns, splinters, etc.), and scratches can be very difficult to correctly diagnose if all you have is a small spot that hurts, burns, or itches! The following diagnostic may help in your diagnosis, but you may ultimately, never find out the actual cause of the problem!

Pinching Bites

(from beetles, ants)

  • Sharp, sudden pain that goes away within a few minutes.
  • If skin is broken, the wound is small and ragged on the edges.
  • No swelling of the tissues surrounding the bite site.
  • Itching is rare.

Piercing Bites

(from bugs, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, etc.)

  • Sharp, sudden pain that lingers for longer than 10 minutes.
  • Skin not broken, but tiny blood blister or red spot may remain.
  • Tissues immediately surrounding the bite site often swell, turn red or yellowish.
  • Mild to severe itching is common.


(from bees, wasps & caterpillars)

  • Sharp, sudden, intense pain that often lingers longer than 10 minutes.
  • Skin not broken, but tiny red spot in center of pain area may remain.
  • Tissues around sting site become tender.
  • Swelling may be localized or widely spread.


  • A stung person may become nauseous, suddenly cold or hot, begin to sweat or have difficulty breathing - EMERGENCY TREATMENT IS NEEDED!
  • Wide spread swelling and pain should be reason for concern and emergency attention should be sought!

Splinters - Thorns

(small stabbing)

  • Sharp, sudden pain, often lingers for more than a few minutes.
  • Dark speck or darkened trail present in skin.
  • Site may bleed slightly if pinched.
  • May feel projection from skin when you lightly rub finger across spot.
  • Often a few hours or days, a painful red spot develops (signs of an infection).

Patch(es) of Itchy Skin

  • Most bites, stings or splinters result in very localized reactions.
  • Itchy or sore rashes (reddened bumps, patches of thickened or flaky skin) that persist for more than a few days are potential symptoms of various diseases, auto-immune disorders, or other medical conditions, but SCABIES MITES (skin infesting mites) are a possibility!
  • Medical diagnosis is needed to determine the cause of these problems!!