Avoiding the worst pests, bites and stings this summer

The UK is experiencing a heatwave that hasn’t compared to any summer we’ve had since 1976, and with hot weather comes a plethora of pests who see our skin as a snack, that will try to ruin your summer. It is important to have a good idea of what pests you could be dealing with and how their bites or stings can affect you and your family. 


Horse flies are the most common pest in the UK during the summer month & you are most likely to experience a horse fly bite over the summer months. They are well known for their painful bites that cause irritation and can lead to infection if not treated properly. The best way to avoid being bitten by a horse fly is to cover up in clothing and have the windows closed – unfortunately in the beating heat of the summer this is virtually impossible. 

Unlike mosquito bites that are needle prick bites, horse fly bites cut the skin and as a result take much longer to heal than most other insect bites. Because of the cutting to the skin it is much easier to contract infection from the horse fly bite, so it is imperative to keep the skin clean & use antiseptic wipes regularly to keep infection at bay. 

If you experience any of the following in the aftermath of a bite, you could be experiencing an allergic reaction, and you must seek medical attention immediately.

  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea 
  • serious swelling or infection
  • face, lips, hands or feet swelling
  • tongue or mouth swelling
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing

Swelling is very likely in the aftermath of a horse fly bite, as well as itchy irritation. If you are finding it difficult to cope with the bite you can get over the counter antihistamines that will help with calming the irritation. Keeping your bite clean is of highest importance when being bitten by a horse fly, so ensure you are cleaning it regularly with antiseptic soap or wipes. 


Although black ants are pretty much harmless to you and your family, they can become an absolute nightmare in your home.  Getting rid of an ant invasion in the summer months can prove challenging but luckily, there are a million and one different things you can attempt to get rid of them. 

Red and flying ants are the only kind that can bite, but will only do so when provoked, and they feel attacked, however these bites are usually extremely tame and should cause you next to no bother at all. 


Ticks have been known to carry life threatening diseases and can be extremely dangerous to your pets should they latch on to them. 

A good way to stay on top of ticks is to make sure you are thoroughly checking your pets skin and fur when they have been outside or on walks. Upon finding a tick, remove immediately. 

For us humans, a bite from a tick is relatively harmless and painless, however you may incur a small pink bump and slight irritation from it. If a tick manages to latch onto your skin it is important to have it removed correctly, as they can occasionally carry Lyme disease. 

If you think you have been bite or have found a tick latched onto your skin, it is important to recognise the potential symptoms that come with Lyme disease. If you contract Lyme disease you could experience a rash similar to a bullseye on a dartboard, a fever and extreme fatigue. 


Wasps are the most commonly feared insect in the UK during the summer months, and with good reason. Wasps can become aggressive easily and a sting from a wasp is one of the most painful you can experience from an insect. 

Should you get stung by a wasp you will experience a sudden sharp pain in the first instance. Over a few hours the area around the sting will become raised, red and itchy. You should only experience irritation for a day or so, if you experience a longer ongoing painful experience from a sting any longer than a few days you could be suffering from an allergic reaction. In which case, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. 

Should you experience dizzy spells, swelling of the face or mouth, difficulty breathing & swallowing following a bee sting, call 999 immediately as you could be suffering from a severe allergic reaction to the sting and require emergency medical attention. 


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