Bug Bite Battles

First Aid Tips for Those Creepy-Crawly Critters

bees on a flower
Pretty. Yeah, pretty deadly. Harold Lloyd/Getty Images

I grew up on a dairy farm. We had cows. We had horses. We had pigs.

And, we had a lot of bugs.

Mosquitoes, flies, and black widow spiders were the most common around the farm. Some of the flies were known to bite. It was a constant fight. No one was safe. I had two cousins that were bitten by black widows on the same night and the war against the mosquitoes was an epic contest waged every year from March to October.

We occasionally won the battle, but alas, we never won the war.

Our experiences were similar to those of our neighbors and the most we could do was learn to live with it. Since critters that crawl, buzz, and fly are bound to be with us forever, here are some specific tips to deal with the inevitable battle scars.

  • How to Treat Bee Stings

    Bees are the worst. They attack from the air in well-organized squadrons. When one is attacked, it calls for reinforcements. Some species are suicide bombers. They have a command structure. But, just like in chess, take out the queen and you may just win.
  • How to Treat Bug Bites

    All the non-bees have pretty much the same weapons. The critters look different, but the wounds almost always look exactly alike. It's very difficult to tell the difference between bugs just from they way their bites look. Most of the treatment is also the same as long as it's not an anaphylactic reaction. It's supportive: just relieve the pain and wait for the bite to heal.
  • How to Remove a Tick

    Ticks are particularly nasty. These puppies are attacking our, well, puppies—and sometimes our kids. Ticks are nasty, ugly little things that bury their heads at the first sign of trouble. Unfortunately, they bury them in us. They also bring disease.
  • Spider Bite Symptoms

    Spiders are probably the ugliest of all the creepy-crawlies in the bug army. They have those long, hairy legs and sharp jaws. You could say they're almost designed to be ugly. The thing is, these guys have a bad rap. Believe it or not, they aren't as bad as they've been made out to be. Best of all, they eat other bugs! It's almost like they're on our side.
  • How to Treat Scorpion Stings

    OK, I was wrong. Scorpions are definitely the ugliest bugs on the planet. We didn't have a lot of scorpions where I grew up, but I remember my dad bringing a family of scorpions home from Mexico in his luggage. It was one adult and a whole slew of ugly little babies. Luckily, they were all dead.

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