20 Bugs in Arizona That Bite or Sting (with Pictures)

With high temperatures around the year, Arizona is among the states where some biting bugs can bite even throughout the year.

Even in the winter, Arizona has average temperatures of 67°F, which is enough for biting bugs such as kissing bugs or mites to become active.

Despite their long season, the following species of bugs can sometimes bite and require medical attention.

Here are the most common species likely to bite with various reactions across Arizona.

1. Kissing Bugs

Kissing Bugs are a problem in The South and of Arizona. Round bugs of the species bite, sometimes multiple times!

One of the main reasons to stay away from these bugs is their capacity to bite exposed areas of the skin, even on the face.

Kissing Bugs

Their name is inspired by the tendency of the bugs to bite around the mouth.

Apart from biting people, Kissing Bugs can also bite other animals and pets.

One of the main problems with the bites of Kissing Bugs is that the associated pain or itchiness lasts longer than with other types of bites.

The red skin in the bitten area is also larger than the bites of other similarly-sized bugs, they’re also visible given they likely bite the face.

Apart from the physical and visual discomfort, the bites of Kissing Bugs may sometimes be associated with disease spread such as Chagas Disease.

2. Mosquitoes


Different types of mosquitoes are found all around Arizona. From The Asian Tiger Mosquito to The Southern House Mosquito, there are multiple biting species here.

One of the main problems with mosquitoes here is that they’re active throughout the year.

Mosquitoes are typically more active in the summer but the high temperatures throughout the year make Arizona one of the states where mosquito bites happen all the time.

Around homes, mosquitoes need humidity and stagnant water to lay eggs.

While males can feed on plant nectar, females bite for a blood meal to lay eggs. Their eggs are laid in stagnant water so areas with high humidity around the house are known to attract them.

Most mosquitoes around the house bite once or not in groups.

Arizona is also home to mosquito species that bite in swarms, especially in areas with livestock.

The Dark Rice Field Mosquito is among the species on farms in Arizona which may bite in swarms.

3. Fire Ants

Fire Ants

Among fire ants, The Southern Fire Ant is prevalent around rivers and most likely to live around homes with loose soil.

Only nesting in loose soil, fire ants such as Southern Fire Ants are identified by their amber-color heads and red abdomens.

These types of ants invade gardens, pavements, and roads, and bite.

Seeds, plants, and honeydew on plants attract these types of ants to gardens.

One of the most difficult pests to eradicate, Fire Ants only come out at night as they try to avoid the afternoon sun.

Clearing the land or yard of debris, overhanging vegetation, and overgrown lawns is among the first steps to consider when dealing with these ants.

One common tip to consider when avoiding the bite or sting of Red Ants is to carefully deal with their nests.

Disturbing the nests makes the ants react aggressively and spotting one on the lawn or multiple nests around the house can be a sign you need to call a professional pest exterminator.

4. Chiggers


Chiggers feed on the skin cells of humans and animals. They are found in all areas of Arizona with vegetation, particularly dense vegetation.

Spring, summer, and fall are the typical chigger activity periods in the state.

This red spider-like bug is known to bite and to even attach itself to the skin.

Typical bites are around the ankles or exposed areas of the skin when making your way through dense vegetation or grasses.

Most bites aren’t that serious as you just brush the bugs off the skin, unlike bitten animals that cannot easily do this.

Chiggers inject saliva into the skin to break it down faster and can remain attached for up to several days until full.

In most cases, humans simply pick them or brush them away without seeing serious adverse reactions to their bites.

Some of the typical reactions to chigger bites include red skin and itchy skin sections.

Scratching isn’t recommended following chigger bites as these itchy sensations eventually go away on their own.

5. Scorpions


Arizona’s Department of Agriculture shows there are at least 38 species of scorpions in the state.

The Bark Scorpion is among the most common species of scorpions in Arizona. It’s the most likely to be encountered in homes and the most likely to have any serious risks associated with its sting.

Pain, nausea, or an abnormal feeling of warmth are among the first symptoms of a Bark Scorpion bite.

The bite itself should not be life-threatening to adults but stung children should be taken to the closest hospital as they are in a risk group.

Scorpions are common in Arizona, and in The Southwest, in general.

They can make it indoors taking advantage of cracks in walls or gaps around doors and windows.

Piles of debris and stacks of wood or old furniture in the backyard also invite bark scorpions next to your house.

As with other bugs that sting, keeping vegetation trimmed is among the recommended methods of dealing with bark scorpions.

Another common Arizona scorpion, The Arizona Striped Tail Scorpion is also found in homes and can sting.

This type of scorpion often hides under rocks being aware of your surroundings is recommended when hiking or when out in nature.

6. Fleas


Fleas are as common in Arizona as in other nearby states, particularly in homes with pets.

Rat-infested homes can also be a vector of fleas that eventually bite humans as well.

Cat fleas and dog fleas are common across the state.

Some of the signs of these fleas include itchiness in pets that scratch themselves all day or even itchiness on your skin following a bite.

Less obvious signs of flea bites in pets and animals include anemia or extreme physical weakness.

The presence of fleas in the home mandates proper management techniques and dealing with all home residents individually, including people and pets.

Some of the most common solutions to get rid of fleas both on humans and animals include using special anti-flea shampoo.

This is a multi-day use shampoo that kills all fleas.

In case of more severe skin reactions and possible infections, both humans and animals could use topical creams, as recommended by doctors or pharmacists.

7. Ticks


Ticks are as problematic for Arizona pets and animals as fleas. They can also bite humans.

Attaching themselves to the skin, ticks need to be removed manually as they rarely drop on their own once they bite.

Spotting ticks attached to the skin is easy in the case of humans and a bit more difficult in the dense fur of animals.

Tweezers are traditionally used to remove ticks from the skin. It’s always recommended to grab the tick body as close to the skin as possible to avoid breaking them and only partly removing them from the skin.

Some of the areas of the state with the highest risks of tick invasions include warm areas with higher humidity.

This is why ticks are often found in areas with dense vegetation, under trees, in piles of leaves, or in another type of debris that maintains shade and a higher humidity level.

Ticks are also among the typical biting bugs of Arizona that can be prevented when out in nature by applying repelling spray on your skin or directly on your pets.

Since pets spend more time outdoors and in vegetation, they need to be routinely monitored for a possible tick problem, preferably soon after they enter the house again.

8. Bedbugs


Small flat-shaped bloodsucking insects found in beds and around the house may be bedbugs. These types of bugs feed on blood from humans and pets.

Coming out at night for their next meals, they even stain bedsheets with small red blood stains.

Bedbugs are among the typical species that bite and can travel with pets, humans, clothes, or luggage.

The rise of the travel industry is the advent of these bugs in Arizona homes.

Once a rare type of biting bug in Arizona, bedbugs are now highly common in homes, motels, hotels, lodges, and on public transport.

A single bedbug can lay up to 500 eggs per year which means there are also very high multiplication rates for the species if left unmanaged.

Vacuuming the entire area of the bed, room, and house is typically sufficient to remove bedbugs.

This method is only recommended when spotting a few bedbugs as the more serious infestations require the help of a pest control professional.

9. Lice


Lice are among the contagious bugs of Arizona named after the body part they live and feed on.

Head lice feed bite the skin of the scalp and lay eggs on hairs.

While they bite, lice cannot transmit disease but they have a high transmission rate between infested and non-infested humans.

Prolonged physical contact with a person that carries lice is a typical transmission method.

Other methods that lead to picking up lice include using personal items other humans with lice use such as sharing beds in hotels.

Lice can live off their host for up to a couple of days which means they can often be picked up in hotels or schools.

Children are in the most exposed group as they can pick up lice in kindergarten or school.

One of the main issues with children picking up head lice is they can show symptoms after lice have already laid eggs in their hair.

This can be a period between days and weeks. Over-the-counter solutions can be used against lice.

10. Wasps


Most species of wasps are present throughout the year in Arizona.

Some of the most common species that sting include Arizona Paper Wasps and Yellow Jacket Wasps.

Paper wasps build paper-like nests around homes and specifically under eaves or on patios.

These types of wasps are known for their capacity to chew materials they then use to shape complex nests.s

Most stings happen when people try to remove these nests from the vicinity of their homes.

Methods such as using plastic bags for nest removal are often used by homeowners who want to remove these wasps.

Larger nests should involve the help of a professional pest controller as multiple wasps can attack and sting to defend their nest.

Wasps typically sting when disturbed and this means they aren’t as likely to sting if their nests aren’t threatened.

At the same time, many local wasps like to nest right in homes or next to homes for extra protection.

11. Bees


Most bees in Arizona don’t sting or don’t sting without provocation.

Some of the most painful stings, on the other hand, are associated with the various Carpenter bees in the state.

These are bees that nest in decaying wood or soft wood and which have a painful sting.

Only the females of the species sting, but their sting is believed to be highly painful. Pain associated with these stings can last for a few hours but they can also last for a few days.

Honey bees here can also sting. As carpenter bees and most wasps, these types of bees may only sting when their nests are disturbed.

Sweat bees of the state also sting. Wrongly believed to follow humans around by the smell of their sweat, these types of bees have a less painful sting compared to carpenter bees.

12. Western Black Widow

Western Black Widow

Western Black Widows (Latrodectus hesperus) have some of the most painful and venomous bites among the species of Arizona.

Some of the instances where a visit to the emergency room is mandatory include having severe reactions to the bite or in the case of bitten children, which are more vulnerable to severe bite reactions.

There are a series of reactions people can have in the case of a Western Black Widow spider bite.

While not everybody has these reactions, there are plenty of people who experience headaches, nausea, or muscle fatigue.

On the other hand, muscles can also get stiff.

Swollen limbs, face, and eyes are other types of more serious symptoms that may require medical attention.

Some of the typical areas these bites can happen are remote areas of the house such as attics or garages, especially areas that aren’t cleaned frequently.

When disturbed or startled, this spider can bite. While nocturnal, these spiders rarely come out at night looking to bite people as Western Black Widows eat insects, lice, or other spiders.

13. Brown Widow

Brown Widow

A lot less popular than The Western Black Widow, Brown Widow spiders (Latrodectus geometricus) show at least similar potency venom.

Injecting less venom and being less aggressive makes Brown Widows less dangerous than Western Black Widows.

Also found around homes, Brown Widow spiders are the most likely to inhabit areas with vegetation around Arizona’s cities and rural areas.

This type of spider is also known to build spider webs, sometimes in the house. When uncovered, the spider doesn’t become aggressive, pretending to play dead to avoid confrontation.

Bites can still happen when the spider is handled directly.

Some of the more severe reactions to this bite include fever and vomiting.

As with all types of venomous spider bites, its children may be exposed to more severe reactions, together with seniors.

Keeping the house and the immediate vicinity tidy are among the recommended preventive methods against web-weaving spiders such as Brown Widows.

14. Centipedes


Some of the species with a painful bite in Arizona include centipedes. These multi-legged crawlers can even pierce the skin.

In some extreme cases, skin-level sensitivity in the area of the bite persists for weeks.

This painful bite is still atypical, on the other hand. Centipedes only eat smaller prey and don’t usually look to bite humans.

They may be only interested in biting when roughly handled.

Centipedes are venomous. The venom of these crawlers might not require immediate medical attention in the case of most bites.

People with allergies or those sensitive to the bites of insects might need medical attention, on the other hand.

Centipedes love moisture and will do anything to get out of the hot sun of Arizona.

This is why they crawl under plants, grasses, rocks, timber, or patios, closer to the house.

Since they can live next to homes, their bites aren’t uncommon, especially for children tempted to handle them.

It’s always best to wash the area of the bite regardless of the presence of various symptoms.

15. Blister Beetles

Blister Beetle

Blister Beetles can’t bite or sting. They still cause adverse skin reactions in case of direct contact.

These types of bugs have both a positive and negative role when it comes to their secretions which have medical importance.

When touched, this type of bug can lead to skin irritation and even long-lasting dermatitis.

This is caused by cantharidin, a secretion these bugs are known for.

Such secretions can lead to itchy skin, a symptom that can disappear in a timeframe between minutes or even weeks.

Blister Beetles also have a positive role as they can be used to treat skin conditions.

On its own, cantharidin is harmful to the skin. When combined with other extracts, it can even be used to treat various skin conditions.

16. Wheel Bugs

Wheel Bug

Wheel Bugs are among the multiple beneficial insects of Arizona that can bite.

This is a species that feeds on invader bugs on plants and gardens from a young age.

However, it can also sting when handled. Its bite is usually painful and leads to skin-level reactions such as red skin and swollen skin in the area of the bite.

There’s also pain associated with the sting of these bugs. Wheel Bugs are known for their long-lasting pain at the skin level.

A timeframe between a few minutes and a few hours is specific to the bite of this bug.

In some cases, the pain of its sting can last up to several days.

Bites are frequent in the summer and in the fall, their peak activity seasons.

17. No-see-ums


No-see-ums are among the small biting insects of the state.

Females of the species bite and inject saliva to draw in more blood to feed on in the area of the bite.

The good news is that No-see-ums and their bites don’t require medical attention in most cases.

Washing the bitten area with cold water and soap is sufficient for dealing with the short-lasting pain.

It’s also enough to simply apply an ice pack to soothe the skin, release the itching sensation, and numb down pain.

Some topical treatments are also available for the bites of these small insects.

Part of the Ceratopogonidae family, No-see-ums of the state are identified by the small red dot marks they leave on the skin as they bite.

18. Horse Flies

Horse Flies

Horse Fly (subfamily Tabanidae) bites are considerably larger compared to those of No-see-ums. These types of bites are actual cuts to the skin, through their mouth adaptations.

The cuts lead to swollen skin and a large red area around the spot of the cut itself.

While large and also more painful than the bite of many other Arizona bugs, these types of bites aren’t known to transmit disease and may not require special medical attention.

One complication that can arise includes an infection. This is why it’s always recommended to clean the area of the bite with soap and water as soon as possible.

19. Puss Caterpillar

Puss Caterpillar

The Puss Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis) is a young Southern Flannel Moth with a painful defensive mechanism.

Caterpillars of the species are covered in long hairs and look friendly when spotted on their host leaves.

However, these hairs hide something much more problematic for human skin, spines!

These spines can trigger serious allergic skin reactions that may last for days.

While not that thick, these spines can even get stuck in the skin and they need to be removed by tweezers.

20. Mites


Scabies of oak mites are among the biting mites of the state which can be annoying to animals and humans.

Red welts on the skin mark the area of the bite. Multiple mites can fall from trees or be carried away by wind from trees and vegetation which means multiple bites can happen at once.

Applying anti-itching cream or simply soothing the skin with ice packs are among the simplest solutions to reduce itching and swelling.

Mites in the state can also come from animals and their bites can lead to overly-itchy skin that may even hurt.