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Insect bites - infographic

6-minute read

Explore this infographic to learn about the insects that can cause infections and allergic reactions, the symptoms and treatments you should be aware of and tips to prevent bites.

Infographic to learn more about bites of insects in Australia.

Download this guide as a PDF

View text version of infographic

Australian insects: bites guide


Biters use their mouths to suck blood. They can infect you with diseases.


Stingers inject you with venom, which can trigger an allergic reaction.

Dial triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if you suspect that either you or someone else is having a severe allergic reaction.

Common biters


Mosquito before feeding

Mosquito after feeding – abdomen enlarged with blood

Key facts:

  • Diseases can be passed on to people through mosquito bites.
  • You can protect yourself against mosquitoes biting you.

Mosquito-borne diseases acquired in Australia:

  • Ross River virus
  • Murray Valley encephalitis
  • Barmah Forest virus
  • Dengue

Mosquito bite prevention DOs and DON’Ts:

  • Do use repellents outdoors and insecticides indoors
  • Do screen windows, doorways and tents, if camping
  • Do wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts
  • Don't create mosquito breeding opportunities at home (standing water)
  • Don't go to wetlands at dawn or dusk
  • Don't think you don’t attract mosquitoes

Symptoms and treatments

Type of reaction

Local reaction – illustration showing pain and redness to the area.

Key fact: Most people will have a local reaction after being stung or bitten.

Severe allergic reaction – illustration showing pain and redness to the area, body aches, fever and sweating.

Key fact: People at risk are advised to have a personal action plan to manage a severe allergic reaction.


Local reaction:

  • Burning pain
  • Skin swelling
  • Redness
  • Itching

Have you been bitten or stung? healthdirect’s Symptom Checker can help you decide what to do next

Severe allergic reaction:

  • Flushing
  • Collapsing
  • Difficulty breathing, talking or swallowing.
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Itching around the eyes, ears, lips, throat or mouth
  • A rash that may appear anywhere on the body.
  • Swelling of the mouth, throat or tongue
  • Stomach cramps


Local reaction:

  • Clean stung area
  • Apply ice pack
  • Take a painkiller
  • Antihistamine tablets

Severe allergic reaction:

  • Call triple zero (000)
  • Personal action plan
  • Administer adrenaline via an autoinjector or EpiPen

More information

Learn more about insect bites and stings including what they are, symptoms, treatments and prevention.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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