Spider Bite vs. Mosquito Bite: How To Tell the Difference

Spider Bite vs. Mosquito Bite: How To Tell the Difference

When our kids have problems, we spring into action to solve them. What happened, who is at fault, and how do we fix it? We ask all the questions to get to the root of the problem and find the best solution.

So, naturally, when our children get bug bites and feel discomfort, we want to fix it fast.

But how do we fix it if we don’t know what bit them? That’s what we want to discuss today.

Mosquito bites and spiders can look quite similar to each other, but there are slight and distinct differences that will help you set them apart.

Let’s discuss how to tell them apart and how to stop them once and for all.

Spider Bites: Is It a Harmless or Venomous Spider?

Spider bites can be one of the trickier types of bites to diagnose. Unlike other insects, like ticks or even a wasp, that bite or sting you, finding the spider to accuse is part of the battle.

The problem here is, unless you see or find the spider, it’s hard to know exactly what type of spider bit you. Fortunately, most spider bites are harmless. You can expect pain and discomfort at the site of the bite, which is usually accompanied by redness and mild swelling.

What Are Spider Bite Symptoms To Worry About?

Some spiders are our friends; others… not so much.

Keep an eye out for dangerous spiders like the brown recluse and the black widow:

  • Brown recluse spider bites: these bites are accompanied by a red bullseye and generally also have white blisters around the affected area. As far as poisonous spiders go, this is one of the scariest ones. Pain will begin a few minutes to hours after the bite occurs and will gradually increase over the course of a week.
  • Black widow bites: Black widow spiders are one of the more distinct spiders to pinpoint, as they have a red hourglass mark on their body. These bites are generally accompanied by joint pain, belly stiffness, and a raised red bump at the site of the bite.

Other spiders seem menacing, but their bites are generally harmless (though still not a lot of fun). These include wolf spiders, hobo spiders, and tarantulas. While their bites may still cause some pain, redness, and discomfort, the reactions should be relatively mild.

Much of the pain and discomfort associated with these bites are more intense by scratching and irritating the bitten area. Many times, people think that the bite caused skin damage and issues, but really it was their own fingernails.

Where Do Spiders Live?

An important way to avoid spider bites is to understand their habits, especially those that pose a risk.

Typically both brown recluse spiders and black widows avoid humans. Most of their contact with us comes by accident or mistake. While we should remain vigilant and look out for them, it’s important to know that they aren’t looking for us.

Brown recluse spiders like to hide in damp, dark spaces and like to burrow in wood piles, whereas black widows prefer dark spaces outside.

Mosquito Bites: What Do They Look and Feel Like?

Mosquito bites can cause similar pain and discomfort at the bite site as a spider bite can. However, mosquito bites are usually more closely associated with redness, swelling, and intense itchiness.

It is very common for small children to be hypersensitive to these bites, as their bodies aren’t as used to the proteins in mosquito saliva. If a more intense reaction occurs, excessive swelling, additional welts, and a heightened degree of discomfort will be present.

For a standard reaction, you can expect these same symptoms above, but with a more mild effect. For mosquitoes, the typical reaction only lasts about three to four days.

When Reactions Mean More: Mosquitoes and Diseases

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest insects on the planet. Because female mosquitoes rely on human blood to lay eggs, it is easy to spread viruses from person to person during breeding.

Mosquitoes also live very long lives compared to other insects, so in their lifespan, they are able to infect a lot of people.

Mosquitoes can spread a few notorious illnesses like:

  • Zika virus
  • Dengue fever
  • Malaria
  • West Nile virus

If you have flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, body aches, lethargy) and a mosquito bite that won’t go away, consult a medical professional immediately.

Other Bugs To Be Mindful Of

This article may be dedicated to mosquitoes and spiders, but we would be remiss if we didn’t at least note some of the other harmful insects to look out for.

Insects to watch out for and monitor bites/stings from are:

  • Tick: a tick bite will have a round red circle around the bite. It will fade after a few days unless you are infected with something more severe. In this case, you will experience extreme pain and irritation as well as red spots or a rash that spreads from the bite. Ticks carry Lyme disease, so monitor these bites carefully.
  • Wasps: a wasp or hornet can bite several times, so be mindful if you are near one. Wasp stings will turn red and swell and cause mild pain at the affected area but will fade within a few days. Severe allergic reactions might include anaphylaxis, difficulty breathing, or hives. If so, seek medication attention.
  • Fleas: an infestation of fleas in your home will result in a lot of small red bumps clustered on your skin, similar to a rash. Flea bites will be around your ankles and exposed areas and will itch incessantly.
  • Bed bugs: if you wake up with red welts that itch, you may have bed bugs. These tiny creatures leave behind a few tell-tale signs:
First, they shed their skin and leave it behind in your sheets. Second, you may notice small blood stains on your sheets from bites. While bed bug bites themselves are generally harmless, the abrasions in the skin will leave you vulnerable to infections.

    Four Ways To Calm Itchy Bug Bites

    Bites happen, and we need to be ready with solutions. After you wash the bite side, try some of these ways to treat insect bites:

    1. Baking Soda

    You can apply a paste made by mixing baking soda and water directly to the bite site. This will help to reduce swelling and irritation left behind by bugs.

    While it can be effective, it’s not always easy. Kids aren’t the biggest fans of these pastes on their skin and wipe them off any chance they get.

    2. Ointments

    Hydrocortisone creams and ointments can treat the discomfort and itching sensation that these bugs leave behind.

    These lotions and sprays are messy and often leave our skin with a greasy feeling, another texture most of our little ones aren’t too fond of. Many times, simple chores and our daily activities wipe them away before they have a chance to be effective.

    Even if they are left on our skin, they wear off relatively fast.

    3. Apply a Patch

    Instead of holding out hope that lotions and sprays will be left on our kiddos’ skin, add a MagicPatch. These scientifically engineered patches relieve symptoms of pain, itch, and irritation as soon as they are applied.

    What’s better than that? Oh, just this — Your MagicPatch will last for seven days and is completely waterproof. By the time they’re ready to be taken off, the discomfort from bites will have subsided, and the bites will be a distant memory.

    4. Pain Relievers

    In cases of extra sensitivity, pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may treat pain, redness, and swelling.

    With bee stings or other bites that may cause more of an allergic reaction, you may want to take an antihistamine like Benadryl instead.

    These aren’t drugs you will need to get prescriptions for, but you may want to speak to your healthcare provider anyway.

    Guard Your Space

    Keeping screens tight and tear-free will help keep unwanted guests from entering your home. You may also want to add screens to any doors that you like to keep open during the hotter months.

    Even the smallest rips and tears are big enough for some insects to gain access to your house and make a meal out of you or your kids. Plus, it’s not only ghosts that can haunt an attic; brown recluse spiders love moving into cozy, undisturbed attics.

    Another big issue is firewood. Brown recluse spiders love to live in wood piles, so be sure to pile them away from the side of your home. Since they’ll live in wood, it’s only a matter of time before they wander into your space on a particularly hot or cold evening.

    Be sure to keep areas like this covered with plastic tarps. Covered piles will be less enticing to spiders, and you will have less of a chance of new houseguests.

    Keep the Bugs Away

    While websites and companies try to convince you that DEET and other insecticides are good to use, they’re not safe and can often lead to harmful side effects.

    Instead, add our BuzzPatch to your and your kids’ outfits. These stickers are infused with an all-natural blend of essential oils proven to repel mosquitoes and insects.

    MagicPatch works all day, they’re safe for kids of every age, and they stick on clothes instead of skin. Kids (and adults) will love adding our fun designs to their outfits and will quickly forget they’re there, which means their effects will last all day without worry.

    Pest Control and Insect Repellent: Yes, Please

    While we would prefer those insects keep to themselves, sometimes we are just too good of a meal.

    We are confident that the information here is perfect for keeping you and your family safe and ready for any bites that may come your way. For anything your family needs a little help with, The Natural Patch Co. is there with just the thing.


    Spider bites - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic

    Insect Bite | Seattle's Children's

    Brown Recluse and Black Widow Spiders | Illinois Department of Public Health

    Mosquito Bite Symptoms and Treatment | CDC

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