Texas is home to many bug species that bite or sting. The Lone Star State is known for its crossroads between Central or South American species and North American species.
More bugs live here throughout the year than in other US states.
Some biting bugs in Texas aren’t even difficult to find. They may live around the house and make their way indoors on occasion.
From urban areas to arid areas with almost no vegetation, different habitats across the state are ideal for these bugs.
The following species of stinging bugs are commonly found in Texas. When they cause severe reactions in their bites, these bugs often require urgent medical attention. In some cases, they can even be deadly.
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While present throughout North America, mosquitoes are also present throughout Texas.
Unlike in most other US states, the geographical positioning of Texas means mosquitoes here are likely to spread The Zika virus more.
Closer to Central and South America, this is a place where the Asian tiger mosquito can easily transfer Zika.
While the virus isn’t as serious as others transmitted by mosquitoes, it may still cause symptoms such as fever.
Most people don’t show these symptoms but they can spread the virus further if they show no symptoms.
Some of the best measures against mosquitoes in Texas include taking the right solutions to eliminate these biting bugs from around the house.
Wearing mosquito repellent is also recommended to all those traveling to Texas, particularly in areas where mosquitoes thrive.
When possible, it’s also recommended to wear long sleeve clothes.
Particularly common in coastal areas but also around marshes and moist grounds along Texas, No-see-ums also bite.
These types are so small they often go overlooked, as their name suggests.
No-see-ums are tiny, attracted to lights, often making their way indoors for their next blood meal.
Biting both humans and animals, they are so small they can get through the tiniest gaps indoors.
They can bite exposed areas of the skin both indoors and outdoors.
The problem with their bites is they are painful, even more painful than local mosquito bites.
Associated symptoms also last longer than mosquito bites.
Like all bugs that bite, No-see-ums may also transmit various viruses to humans.
This is a rare occurrence, on the other hand. They’re much more likely to transmit viruses and bacteria to animals they bite.
Reducing humidity and puddling water around the house is among the first management plans against No-see-ums.
Simply relying on window mesh screens isn’t enough as they’re so small they can squeeze through anyway.
3. Horse Flies
Forests, swamps, and gardens are among the common places Horse flies (subfamily Tabanidae) are found in Texas.
These flies have one of the most painful bites among local flies, often more painful than mosquito bites.
There’s a clear difference in the feeding habits of male and female Horse flies as only females bite.
Males are more interested in feeding on plant pollen and they can be seen around wildflowers and cultivated flowers during the day.
Females may also be attracted to males flying around these flowers but they need a blood meal which they have modified mouthparts to get from skin.
Horse flies never truly go away as they’re present either as larvae or as adult flies.
In the cooler months, the larvae of the species overwinter, often feeding on other larvae as soon as the temperatures start to rise.
Adults are seen in the warmest months of the year and are easy to identify based on their brown, black, and iridescent eyes.
The female Horse fly pierces the skin and sucks out the blood from its victims, often humans.
Repellent sprays and wearing long-sleeve clothes are among the recommended measures against these bites.
4. Deer Flies
Deer Flies (subfamily Chrysopsinae) may not be as risky as mosquitoes when it comes to transmitting diseases in Texas, but they have a more painful bite.
These types of flies are known for their scissor-like mouthparts which females use to bite and cut through skin.
Males can sometimes bite as well, but their smaller mouthparts mean their bites aren’t as painful.
A common sight on farms and around animals, in general, Deer Fly bites may be difficult to prevent.
In turn, you can learn how to deal with them. First, you should always seek to move away from the area you’ve been bitten in as there’s always a risk of more flies around.
The wound then needs to be cleaned with soap and water.
Some of the other measures against these flies include wearing long sleeve clothes.
Chiggers are found all around Texas, but their seasons vary by locality.
Chiggers in Northern, Western, and Eastern Texas tend to be active until fall while those in Southern Texas are active throughout the year.
A species with a vivid red color and 8 legs, chigger create mild to serious itchy problems.
Chiggers often bite multiple times, leading to skin bumps, red skin, severe itching, and skin infections in the worst cases.
Even more, cases of severe chigger bites can cause skin conditions commonly known as chigger dermatitis.
Under its official name of trombiculosis, chigger dermatitis is a case of a severe skin infestation and infection typically caused by multiple bites.
Washing away the itchy area is among the first recommended management tips.
Antihistamines may also be recommended for those with adverse reactions. However, they aren’t proven to alleviate some of the most severe cases of chigger dermatitis.
Preventive measures include trimming vegetation around the house and frequently moving the lawn.
Fleas are found all across Texas. There are no specific data to show fleas are more present or less present than in other states here.
However, all types of major fleas are found here, from dog fleas to human fleas.
While other types of fleas can bite, human fleas are more likely to bite and spread around from a person that already carries fleas.
Flea bites are possible even without pets or animals around. They can be picked up from vegetation and fleas may bite even those with perfect hygiene.
Flea bite areas may look similar to mosquito bite areas. In general, bitten flea areas appear as smaller red areas on the skin compared to bitten mosquito marks.
There’s no type of specific treatment against these bites as they disappear on their own.
On the other hand, preventive measures can help a lot. Staying clear of tall vegetation, checking pets and animals, and avoiding close contact with people carrying fleas helps.
Almost all types of vegetation can be the temporary home of ticks.
Waiting for their nest human or animal host, ticks attach themselves to the skin and bite for blood.
From small trees to large trees and even grass, ticks can live a short period on vegetation and get picked up when camping, hiking, walking dogs, or simply around the farm or backyard.
Ticks also attach themselves strongly to the skin which means tweezers are needed for the right force to pull them out.
The combination of a blood diet and a strong deep bite makes ticks particularly dangerous for different types of transmitted diseases.
Texas is not a high-risk state for tick-transmitted Lyme disease, but this is always possible.
Fever after tick bites can indicate different types of diseases or reactions. Ticks in caves are a known cause of tick-borne relapsing fever.
Some less-than-obvious signs of a possible illness transmitted by this bite include mild or extreme fatigue or a simple headache.
Ticks can bite any part of the body, especially on exposed skin areas such as the scalp, face, neck, hands, knees, and ankles.
8. Kissing Bugs
Kissing Bugs are prevalent in Texas and come with all of the risks associated with their bites.
There are higher risks of getting Chagas disease in Texas than in other states. This is a type of disease spread by Kissing Bugs (plus other types of biting bugs).
Mostly prevalent in rural areas, Kissing Bugs often make their way into Texas from Mexico and Central America.
This means the highest risk of a bite is common in Southern regions of the state.
Kissing Bugs are among the species known for their impact when it comes to transmitting The Silent Disease, or Chagas Disease.
This is a type of disease that may or may not come with different types of reactions.
In parts of Mexico, this disease shows acute reactions in children. From a swollen eye or limb to fever and even to cardiac problems, this is a disease spread by the bug in Texas.
Kissing bugs have brown or black colors and may come with or without orange or bright brown patterns along the edges.
These large bugs are mostly confused with Assassin bugs.
9. Fire Ants
Fire ants are seen in open areas of Texas. The spread of various species of fire ants is connected to a Central American route.
Red Fire Ants are an example of fire ants that bite which may be seen or encountered across the state.
These types of fire ants nest in the ground. They build mounds or mud nests where they live and store food.
Much of their lives don’t disrupt human activity. However, these are types of ants that may as well start to bite, often tens of times, when disturbed.
Clearing Red Fire Ant nests in the garden or on the lawn are among the most common instances when humans may be bitten.
Fire Ant bites lead to skin warts, swollen skin, red skin, or itchy skin.
Many of these symptoms eventually fade on their own. At the same time, people with allergies can sometimes show more severe reactions which require medical attention.
10. Black Widow Spiders
Black Widows are some of the most dangerous spiders in Texas, and North America .
High occurrence is reported around major metropolitan areas but these spiders can be found all around the state.
Found both in the house and outdoors, Black Widows can bite and even kill people, in extreme cases.
Some of the most common symptoms of its necrotizing venom include skin necrosis.
More severe reactions include nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, headaches, and fever.
Black Widow Spiders are attracted to homes with plenty of food, in this case, small and large insects.
Eliminating insects means eliminating the food these spiders are attracted to.
Some of the typical measures of reducing the number of insects around homes include trimming vegetation, reducing lawn watering frequencies, and eliminating nighttime lights which insects are drawn towards.
11. Brown Widow Spider
Highly dangerous through its venom, Brown Widow Spiders (Latrodectus geometricus) are found all around Texas.
In fact, these spiders have a higher venom potency compared to Black Widows, they just inject less of it!
On the flip side, there are no known deaths caused by the bite of Brown Widow Spiders.
These types of spiders are known for their overall brown nuances which even inspire their name, apart from their venom.
Different shades of brown are characteristic of these spiders. From tan to pale and even dark brown, these spiders feature different shades.
Darker brown patches are seen on its skin while red markings (similar to those of Black Widows) are spotted on the lower abdomen.
Keeping these spiders away involves frequently cleaning the house, dusting it, and clearing out vegetation and other possible routes indoors.
12. Wolf Spiders
Often dark, hairy, and striped, Wolf Spiders are a species of jumping spiders that can bite.
Their presence in Texas is numerous and expands through both wilderness and human settlements.
Correctly identifying the bite of the species may be difficult, unless spotted while biting.
This is a species that lives small piercing-like marks on the skin but these marks aren’t too different from those of other spiders.
One way to identify the bite is by the high pain it comes with. Luckily, pain is the only reaction to Wolf Spider bites in most cases.
While more painful than the bite of other spiders, the pain itself typically goes away fully in a few hours,
Wolf Spiders are inclined to climb walls, patios, garages, and vegetation for insects flying around lights.
Removing all insects and puddling water (known to attract insects) from the area of the house can help these spiders away.
13. Brown Recluse
Brown Recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) are more dangerous through their venom and their habits.
They aren’t as likely to move out in the open where they are exposed to predators but prefer the more retreated corners of the house such as the space under the patio or attics.
These brown spiders are also large. Growing up to around 1 inch, they are easily spotted and identified by their bright and dark brown nuances.
Brown Recluse spiders are found all around the state and shouldn’t be handled as they bite.
The bite comes with injected venom which is commonly known to leave visible marks on the skin.,
Necrosis in the area of the bite is common. Skin tissue and the tissue right under the skin are also known to suffer in the immediate area of the bite.
Pain is also common following the bite of these spiders. It can even radiate through the body from the area of the bite and last several days.
Venomous and always hungry, centipedes thrive in different habitats around Texas.
Some species, such as The Texas Redhead Centipe (Scolopendra heros) are more common in the state than in other regions.
Centipedes that bite often come with venomous bites. These bites aren’t fatal to humans but they’re seen as painful, often more painful than expected.
Centipedes typically bite once, when roughly handled.
Since they can grow to 4-6 inches, centipedes produce sharp pain that lasts with each bite.
The pain level associated with these bites is comparable to the sting of a bee or a wasp.
For humans, these bites come with pain that subsides within hours and which is not life-threatening.
Centipedes cause more harm to small wildlife in the state, which they can incapacitate with their venomous bites.
Small animals such as rats are often incapacitated for hours following a centipede bite.
Humans show mild symptoms such as local pain, swollen red skin, or nausea.
Scorpions can be highly dangerous in some states but they aren’t considered life-threatening in Texas.
The venom of local scorpion species doesn’t attack vital functions in humans but this doesn’t mean they should be handled or that they cannot sting.
Striped Bark Scorpions (Centruroides vittatus), Texas Cave Scorpions (Pseudouroctonus reddelli), and Straight Faced Solifugid Scorpions (Family Eremobatidae) are the state’s most common scorpions.
These creatures are venomous and they inflict a painful bite. Reactions vary from no reaction at all to swelling and long-lasting pain.
None of these scorpions can kill people as their venom doesn’t attack the nervous system.
From dry areas to full rocky areas, these types of scorpions are highly present across the state.
Commonly found under rocks, dead wood, or piling vegetation, these types of scorpions may also be found indoors.
Handling them barehandedly isn’t recommended as they still can inflict a highly painful sting.
Bedbugs are among the newest populations of biting bugs in Texas.
They weren’t an issue in the state just a couple of decades back. Today, they are found all around the largest metropolitan areas of the state.
Bedbugs were carried by travelers and those coming into Texas from other states where the bugs were prevalent.
They don’t need an ideal habitat to spread quickly as long as they can get a quick blood meal.
Bedbugs can even infest the cleanest homes and textiles, especially after getting in contact with a person or home with bedbugs.
Some of the early signs include spotting a few blood stains on the sheets or spotting a few small red bite-like marks on the skin.
In some cases, insecticide alone doesn’t kill bed bugs and their young.
Serious home invasions are always up to a pest controller to resolve since these small bugs can always crawl into small spaces to escape insecticide.
Texas is home to some of the most common types of wasps in the Southern parts of The United States.
The Texas Yellow Jacket lives here, together with Cicada Killers, Bald-faced Hornets, and other types of wasps.
With an average size between 0.5 and 2 inches (in the case of Cicada Killers), these wasps may bite, although rarely without provocation.
Handling these wasps or disturbing their nests can make them highly aggressive.
Wasps are commonly found around homes in Texas. Cicada Killer Wasps nest in the ground, in the garden, or on the lawn. They can be hosed out to prevent bites.
Other types of common wasps such as Mud Daubers are also found in the state. They prefer to build their nests rather than to nest in the ground.
These Texas wasps use mud to build their nests up on outer homes or garage walls.
Unlike the other wasps, Mud Daubers aren’t as aggressive but their nests should be removed with caution.
Various species of bees call Texas their home. From the more common Western honeybees to sweat bees, bumblebees, and digger bees, Texas is home to many types of communal and solitary bees.
Sweat bees have been long believed to follow people around and sting but this isn’t the case.
Honey bees can sometimes bite, but they only do so when truly disturbed.
Digger bees that nest in the ground are the most likely to sting when their nests are approached or destroyed.
These types of bees nest in loose soil and often around homes.
However, Texas is home to aggressive bee species that live in colonies and that may attack in colonies.
Among them, The Africanized Honey Bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) is the most aggressive.
These bees came to Texas as imports from Brazil. Today, they are known to be highly aggressive when it comes to defending their hives.
Lice are some of the most unlikely types of biting bugs to be found today.
Yet, there’s data to show lice is still a problem in Texas, especially in schools where transmission from one child to another is easy.
Named after the body part they live on, lice such as head lice bite and spread out around the head.
The bites themselves are uncomfortable and itchy.
As with all types of lice bites, there’s always a risk of further complications such as an infection.
With or without an infection, lice infestations require immediate attention and possibly medical attention.
Even the cleanest home and the cleanest person may eventually pick up lice, particularly when in contact with an environment or another person carrying lice.
20. Puss Caterpillar
Various species of trees and plants around the state can host the dangerous Puss Caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis).
This is a stinging species found on trees such as oaks but also on other types of hosts such as roses.
Covered in hair-like spines, these caterpillars are known for their impact on the skin and the reactions they can cause, for some people.
Since they’re covered in spines that detach, these types of caterpillars may eventually leave their spines in the skin, which means they need to be removed.
Venomous spines of the species cause skin rashes and swelling. The sting of these caterpillars has also been linked to radiating pain throughout the arm when handled.
While not fatal or truly dangerous, the sting of the species is still painful. In some cases, those stung by this caterpillar don’t show any reactions at all but it’s still best to avoid them in parks and gardens.
21. Saddleback Caterpillar
As Puss Caterpillars, Saddleback caterpillars (Acharia stimulea) are also a stinging problem in Texas gardens.
Covered in spines, these caterpillars can sting and lead to issues such as urticaria.
The spines can break when piercing the skin which means they end up stuck in the skin. They need to be removed to avoid a second-level infection.
The spines of the species vary in size but they can sting even in their first days when they are short, and when the caterpillar doesn’t have as many toxins.
Apart from urticaria, the sting of the species is also known for other reactions which include nausea, allergic eye reactions, and breathing difficulties.
The caterpillar can be found on different tree and plant hosts.
It lives on oak, roses, pecan, and other types of hosts found all throughout Texas.
22. Io Moth Caterpillar
Io Moth Caterpillars (Automeris io) are among a group of venomous caterpillars found in Texas.
These caterpillars, like all others, aren’t life-threatening to humans. They can inflict pain with their stings.
Io Moth Caterpillars are green and covered in spines when they reach their maximum growth stage.
These caterpillars produce venom which is released through the spines when touched, as a means of defense.
Venom is released immediately which means people should not handle the species with bare hands.
Apart from the pain of the sting itself, some of the most common reactions include a type of skin rash that may be similar to urticaria in the more severe cases.
This species is only venomous in its caterpillar stage as its green eggs aren’t venomous and can be removed by hands from the underside of leaves.
23. Spiny Oak-slug
A common sight on many trees across the state, The Spiny Oak-slug (Euclea delphinii) is confirmed for both mild and more moderate sting reactions.
This spiny species even grows hairs on its dorsum which are also irritating.
Pain associated with the caterpillar’s sting lasts anywhere between a few minutes to 1-2 days, as each person is different.
Spiny Oak-slug caterpillars are further known for their breaking spines. Some of these broken spines may end up stuck in the skin.
Tweezers are sometimes used to remove these from the skin while others suggest simply using tape to draw them out altogether.
Leaving the spines in the skin has the potential of leading to cutaneous infections so they all need to be removed as soon as possible.
24. Blister Beetles
Blister Beetles (family Meloidae) are among the few species that can cause other types of reactions apart from skin-level reactions.
There’s a certain chemical this bug releases that can act as an irritating agent for the eyes. Trouble breathing may also be attributed to this chemical.
Cantharidin, the chemical released by Blister Beetles in Texas is most likely to cause skin-level reactions.
In some cases, the bite of the beetle itself can be painful. However, this is not the most painful bite of all bugs in Texas and its effects usually go away on their own.
The bug is large and mostly either brown or black which means it can easily be spotted or avoided.
There are various types of mites in Texas. These may as well be some of the smallest biting bugs in the state.
Small mites such as oak mites are known for their rather unpainful but frustrating bites.
In most cases, it’s not the pain of the bite itself that worries but its effects. Some of these effects include red skin, itchy skin, or skin bumps.
Unlike with most biting bugs of Texas, mites often bite in large numbers which means skin-level reactions are often more likely than with other species.
26. Wheel Bugs
Wheel bugs are seen across Texas in multiple species. Wheel bugs are the largest type of assassin bugs found here.
Assassin bugs are predators of insects and other bugs. In the case of Wheel Bugs, they are also a species that bites humans.
The large size (just over 1 inch) of the species also means the bite is painful.
Wheel Bug bites are more painful than the sting of most local wasps.
Bites often happen in areas where these bugs have plenty of food, mainly in parks, gardens, or areas with dense vegetation.