Spider Bite vs. Mosquito Bites: What's the Difference?

Spider Bite vs. Mosquito Bites: What's the Difference?

September 21, 2021

All insect bites are annoying, whether you're gnawed on by a gnat, stung by a bee, sucked at by a mosquito, or bitten by spider. Some types of bug bites can even be dangerous, transferring diseases to humans or injecting dangerous poison. To relieve the discomfort quickly and effectively, it's helpful to be able to identify the different types of bug bites most frequently found on humans. Here's how to differentiate between two of the most common (and annoying!) kinds of bug bites, the spider bite vs. mosquito bite.

Woman with a face of discomfort picking at a bug bite on her upper arm.

Spider Bites

The majority of spider bites are harmless to humans. Common spider bite symptoms include itchiness, redness and/or swelling around the bite, rashes around the bite, and/or pain around the bite. Most spider bites go away on their own, however bug bites from venomous spiders such as black widows or brown recluses can be serious and require medical attention. Symptoms of more serious spider bites include severe pain and swelling, body chills, stomach cramps, joint pain, nausea, and headache. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to immediately seek medical attention.

True spider bites are often rare and usually only occur when a spider is acting in self-defense. Spiders naturally avoid humans so people are not often bit by them. Spiders do not benefit from biting humans like other bugs do, like mosquitoes. Chances are, that bite you are trying to identify did not come from a spider but is likely from a bug that feeds on human blood, like a mosquito.

Mosquito Bites

Like spider bites, mosquito bites appear as a small red bump on the skin. Often, people who get mosquito bites don't even feel them. When these kinds of bites are noticeable, they usually cause mild symptoms that subside within a day or two, including itchiness, redness, and general irritation.

While mosquitoes don't carry harmful venom, they can transmit serious mosquito-borne illness such as malaria, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and La Crosse encephalitis. If you're bitten by a mosquito and begin to feel feverish and achy or experience extreme pain or soreness around the bite site, it's a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional.

How to Distinguish Between Spider & Mosquito Bites

Spider bites and mosquito bites both manifest as red bumps on the skin and can look very similar to each other. The majority of the time, the best way to tell the difference between a spider bite vs mosquito bite is to pay attention to how it feels. Typically, mosquito bites are only itchy and uncomfortable, while spider bites tend to cause a bit of pain.

Some spider bites leave two distinct dots behind, which can also help you identify them. In addition, mosquito bites sometimes look like irregular, misshapen welts, while spider bites tend to be more round. Both types of bites are dry, which means that if they start to ooze puss or some other kind of fluid, it's a sign that there's an infection and to seek medical advice right away.

Close up image of the back of someone's neck with multiple red-color and inflammed bug bite areas.

Treatment & Prevention Tips

Harmless spider and mosquito bites are easy to treat at home. Both can be soothed with ice to help numb pain and reduce swelling. Applying an over-the-counter antihistamine cream can help minimize a mosquito bite's itch, as can essential oils such as peppermint, tea tree oil, witch hazel, camphor oil, and lavender oil.

But the best way to minimize bug bites from spiders, mosquitoes, and other pesky pests is to avoid them altogether. The experts at MosquitoNix® offer a wide range of effective pest control solutions, including fogging treatments, misting systems, and more. Call us today for a free estimate and learn how we can help keep your home and yard pest-free.

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