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Stink Bug Bite

Rajib Singha
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stink bugs are not known to bite people or pets. But anecdotal evidences suggest otherwise. This story tells you more about this.


While most people worry about the stink bug bite or the horrid odor that these pests release, people in South Africa and Mexico enjoy snacking these bugs with delight.
The stink bug, also known as the brown marmorated stink bug, is considered a major threat to agricultural crops in the United States. As of 2010, the population of these pests has been increasing rampantly in several parts of the country. Winter is when most people have to put up with severe infestation by these bugs, as they seek shelter inside houses and buildings to escape the cold.

Do Stink Bugs Really Bite?

Despite living in human settlements, stink bugs do not bite people or pets, according to the EPA. The only defense mechanism they have is their ability to emit a foul odor to ward off predators. But many anecdotal evidences suggest that these bugs do bite humans when intimidated or threatened, and cause painful symptoms.
A burning sensation and swelling at the bitten site are the most common symptoms reported by people, who claim to have been bitten by a stink bug. Symptoms like vomiting, headaches, numbness, severe pain, and fever have also been reported.

Just In Case...

Although the EPA is of the opinion that stink bugs do not bite humans, we cannot completely ignore the anecdotes put forward by some people. So, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Having said that, here are some general self-care measures you may take, just in case you get a nasty stink bug bite.

Wrap some ice cubes in a towel, and place it on the bitten area. Icing helps relieve pain, itching, and swelling.
If the bite has caused swelling in your hands or legs, then keep the affected area at a level higher than that of the heart. This helps in reducing the swelling.

Apply lavender oil to the affected area and allow the skin to absorb it.
Make a thick paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the bitten area and wait for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can make the paste using vinegar, instead of water.

Rub the inside portion of a banana skin on the bitten area.
Mix some Epsom salt in warm water and allow the solution to cool down. Soak a cotton swab in the solution and apply it to the bitten spot.

Dab the swollen and itchy area with calamine lotion. The cooling affect of the lotion reduces itching and irritation.
Crush two or three aspirin tablets and make a paste using water. Rub the paste over the affected area. This method is especially helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.

To reduce inflammation, apply some aloe vera gel to the bitten area.
You can also use rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or tea tree oil. These solutions help prevent the bitten site from getting infected. Also, they help relieve itching.

Bug bites that itch can be relieved using Listerine mouthwash. The menthol in the solution cools the skin, which reduces itching.
The self-care measures mentioned above can be used to treat most types of insect or bug bites. However, if the symptoms do not improve or you experience severe symptoms such as breathlessness, confusion, rapid pulse, chronic vomiting, dizziness or hives, then seek immediate medical help.